The executive director of Tea Party FWD and the Exxon funded Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), tells Fox's viewers that there can't be any voter suppression if people aren't literally being threatened with shotguns and nooses.
November 17, 2018

After Stacey Abrams refused to concede the Georgia governor's race this yesterday, and promised to fight on to protect the right of voters, State-TV, a.k.a. Fox "news" immediately proceeded with the business of attacking Abrams and anyone else who rightfully pointed out that the election in Georgia was stolen by Kemp through voter suppression.

This Saturday, the crew on Fox & Friends brought on the executive director of Tea Party FWD and national spokesman for the Exxon funded Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Niger Innis, to attack Abrams, and to pretend that voter suppression doesn't exist unless people are literally being threatened with shotguns and nooses.

HENRY: The candidate who got fewer votes says democracy failed. Here to react the national spokesperson of Congress of Racial Equality, Niger Innis. Good morning, sir.

INNIS: Good morning.

HENRY: Niger, I remember back to the end of 2016 campaign where Donald Trump said “We'll see what happens” about the results and Hillary Clinton decided to tweet out “Donald Trump refused to say he would respect the results of this election. That is,” she said, “a direct threat to our democracy.” What's changed?

INNIS: What has changed is that Democrats lost and are not conceding and somehow that is parlayed as a badge of courage and honor when what is really going on here is Democrats are setting the stage, not so much for 2018, where clearly Abrams in Georgia, Gillum in Florida, Beto in Texas lost, but they are trying to intimidate Republican lawmakers to change voting restrictions or lack thereof in these states, in these critical battleground states, not for 2018 but for 2020.

BILA: Now I'm not seeing evidence that there were any voters that Kemp actually went out and disenfranchised. I'm just not seeing that. Is now the precedent be set for Democrats that when they lose elections, they get to say the other side cheated, you know, they stole it.

You now have leaders in the movement. You have Sen. Sherrod brown, you have Hillary Clinton coming out and saying in this particular race in Georgia, well, you know what? If she loses it's because they stole the election. It's unfair. Is that a precedent that's being set forever now? And are voters, how are voters going to take that, if that's the new message from the Democratic party.

INNIS: Well, I hope voters are not fooled. I mean, look, I represent an organization, Congress of Racial Equality, that has fought for voting rights for decades, and has to come across real voter suppression. And voter suppression is not asking for a picture identification. That promotes voter integrity.

Voter suppression that we dealt with is murder. It is a shotgun. It is a noose, a threat that's really over 100 years old, that type of voter suppression. That no longer takes place in our country.

And for Abrams and Gillum and Hillary Clinton and Sherrod Brown and these types to talk about voter suppression that, you know, somehow you can't clean the voter roles, somehow you can't ask for voter identification. I mean, my God, if I want to go get a bottle of wine and use my credit card, I have to show ID.

Why should not the franchisement, which is the most important exercise of power in our republic, using a democratic process, why should we not do the same? But, again, democrats are trying to intimidate Republican legislators into caving. And they need to pull up their big boy pants and big girl pants and stand up for voter integrity.

Fox loves bringing on black conservatives to attack liberals and to pretend that racism no longer exists. Innis has been happy to play this role for Fox for years now.

Here's more in Innis from Mother Jones back in 2014, when he was running for Congress in Nevada: How Oil Drilling Is Like the “Civil Rights Revolution,” and Other Gems From the Tea Party’s Rising Star:

Niger Innis, a tea party activist who filed papers to run for Congress in Nevada last week, is best-known for filling up the conservative airwaves with race-inflected denouncements of the Obama administration. Last February, as the president mounted new gun control efforts, Innis said, “For black Americans, we know that gun control…sprouts from racist soil—be it after the, or during the infamous Dred Scott case where black man’s humanity was not recognized.” In October, Innis appeared on Neil Cavuto’s Fox News show to decry food stamp assistance in the farm bill. “The slaves had food stamps, too,” he said. “It was called ‘scraps from Massa’s table.'”


But if the average Nevadan would not have known who Innis was one year ago, the average environmental activist certainly would have. Before he was a Fox News go-to, Innis spent a decade-plus as the face of various anti-environmentalist campaigns paid for by the country’s largest energy corporations. These campaigns deployed an unusual line of attack against environmental activists: rather than simply arguing that climate change fears were overblown or insupportable, Innis’ campaigns accused green groups of pushing policies that devastated the poor—particularly poor blacks.

Innis made those accusations mainly through his work with CORE, which his father, Roy Innis, has controlled since 1968. CORE swung hard to the right under the leadership of the elder Innis (who is on the National Rifle Association’s board of directors). Its many pro-business campaigns have moved prominent civil rights figures to accuse CORE of renting out its reputation to any corporation that will pay. One frequent CORE patron was ExxonMobil. Using data from Exxon’s annual giving disclosures, Greenpeace calculated that CORE received more than $300,000 from Exxon—some of which was earmarked for “climate change outreach efforts”—from 2003 to 2008.

During that time period, Innis teamed up with or founded several groups to push for greater domestic energy production. He frequently characterized environmentalists as elitist or the remnants of “the anarchists, socialists, communist types of the 1960s.”

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