The latest campaign by Fox to smear another Obama appointee, it seems, is the Washington Times-based attack on Judge Edward Chen, who it seems is too liberal for their tastes. Or, as with Judge Sonia Sotomayor, not white enough.
Either way, they're trying to paint him as a radical for saying things like this:
In a speech on Sept. 22, 2001, he said that among his first responses to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America was a "sickening feeling in my stomach about what might happen to race relations and religious tolerance on our own soil. ... One has to wonder whether the seemingly irresistible forces of racism, nativism and scapegoating which has [sic] recurred so often in our history can be effectively restrained."
Bill O'Reilly, of course, was all over this like stink on smegma. He hosted Monica Crowley and Alan Colmes to chew it over.
Crowley practically shrieked at Chen's concerns, and O'Reilly was appalled. Colmes, as he has become adept at doing, was the sole voice of reason:
O'Reilly: It sounds radical left, does it not? It sounds Phil Donahue.
Crowley: And that speech was delivered 11 days after Sept. 11, when this country was still so raw with the deaths of 3,000 dead Americans in the street, and Chen is worried about nativism -- he was essentially there accusing the United States of being a country of bigots and racists.
O'Reilly: But the thing that bothered me most about it, Colmes, is that didn't happen.
Colmes: Well, I have to disagree. We have seen nativism, we have seen racism. Just the other day, we saw the Broward County Republican Club, having their meeting at a gun club where they put up a likeness of Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, and a stereotypical --
O'Reilly: Wait wait wait wait wait wait. [Crosstalk] Are you going to sit there and tell me that eight years after 9/11, there has been rampant nativism, racism and scapegoating in this country?
Colmes: I didn't say rampant, but there's been several --
O'Reilly: That's what he said.
Colmes: There's been an element of that.
Actually, Bill, Chen never said nativism and racism was "rampant" -- he wondered whether these forces could be constrained in the then-current environment.
And let's be clear: Among the few things that the Bush administration did right in the wake of 9/11 was that, eventually, it did effectively constrain the forces of racism and reaction when it came to treatment of Arab Americans and Muslims.
But to claim that we haven't seen rampant nativism and racism since 9/11 is a joke -- we have, and everyone knows it. However, instead of the obvious targets after 9/11, it has been directed instead largely toward Latino immigrants, who the jingoists have in fact often connected to their post-9/11 fears.
After all, one of the favorite arguments of the Minuteman/GlennBeckistan crowd is that we need to "secure our borders" because that's what will keep us safe from terrorists like those who hit us on 9/11. (Note to nativist nimrods: The 9/11 terrorists came through airports with fake papers, like most skilled terrorists do. There has never been a record of a single Islamic terrorist entering the States
And so, eight years after 9/11, we do in fact have if not rampant at least a significant level of nativism and racism manifesting itself in America. We've provided some examples in the video above: Rabid Joe Arpaio fans who think we ought to shoot any man, woman or child who crosses the border. Neo-Nazi supporters of Arpaio turning out to harass Latino marchers. A violent counter-protest by white nationalists at a pro-immigrant March in Connecticut. And those are just in the past several months alone.
Moreover, if you look at the conditions that immediately followed the events of 9/11 -- including especially the 11 days leading up to Chen's speech -- his commentary was fully justified. Or have all those Fox folks somehow managed to scrub from their memories the horrendous outbreak of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the days immediately after 9/11?
Four days after hijacked planes tore into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, shopkeepers were shot to death in California, Texas and Arizona as an anti-Muslim backlash broke out across the country.
"It's an unbelievable situation," Laila Al-Qatami, a spokeswoman for the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) told the Chicago Tribune.
"The incidents have ranged from hate mail to verbal assaults to crimes that have resulted in deaths. The number of calls we're getting is unprecedented."
By Oct. 11, one month after the terrorist attacks, the ADC had collected more than 700 reports of hate crimes. The Council on American-Islamic Relations had 785 reports.
At hate-crime hotlines set up by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the volume of calls per hour peaked at 70. In Los Angeles alone, the police and sheriff's departments reported 167 hate crimes in the first four weeks of the backlash.
The targets included a large number of Sikhs mistaken for Arabs. Five years later, it was still a big problem. In more recent years, anti-Muslim bias crimes have declined somewhat as anti-Latino crimes have skyrocketed.
And while the Bush administration may have done a good job of responding to the hate-crime outbreak and tamping down anti-Arab xenophobia, they did do without much support from the larger conservative community.
Recall, after all, that there was a chorus of right-wing voices calling for the immediate use of racial profiling as a national-security measure. Many of them were rabid and vicious, and they remain with us today. Michelle Malkin -- long a Fox favorite -- even wrote and published a book justifying the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as a way of defending the very concept of racial profiling.
Finally, the notion that Judge Chen evincing this concern in the days immediately following 9/11 is somehow a "far left" and "America hating" and "radical" thing actually tells us a lot more about the people arguing this -- people like O'Reilly and Crowley -- than anything else.
Because 9/11 immediately rang bells of alarm throughout the Asian American community -- Japanese Americans having been the primary targets of wartime hysteria last time around ... hysteria that eventually led to their incarcerated in miserable concentration camps in the interior U.S. for the war's duration.
I describe this in the Epilogue of my book Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community: