Elisabeth Hasselbeck says TV host's comments “undermines racism”
The team at “Fox & Friends” isn't buying Oprah Winfrey's theory that the fury over President Barack Obama's policies and the bumpy roll-out of his healthcare law is partly rooted in racism.
They argued Thursday that the talk show icon was playing the race card when she said in an interview with the BBC last week, ”I think that there's a level of disrespect for the office that occurs and that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he's African-American.”
Winfrey was responding to a direct question from her interviewer about whether the president's race riled his critics, but the Fox News morning team believe her comments crossed a line. They fretted that fear of seeming racist might be silencing opponents of the Obama administration from speaking up.
“This is someone as powerful as Oprah instilling fear in those who may come to critique policy under a cloak of racism when it may not be there,” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck said. “It undermines racism when it does occur.”
“It's so disappointing,” co-host Brian Kilmeade added. “She’s one of the most accomplished Americans, period. She’s come over unbelievably hard times as a child to become, as even President Obama cited last night, the first African-American female billionaire in the country, has her own network, and she sees racism in the criticism of the president!”
Kilmeade argued that the president has more or less gotten a free pass for much of his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“This to me is a situation where you've gone six years with almost no criticism of the president,” Kilmeade said, noting people denigrated Ronald Reagan's intelligence and Bill Clinton's wandering eye in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Co-host Steve Doocy postulated that it was Obama's policies, not the color of his skin that was antagonizing conservatives.
“I don’t know that Barack Obama could have been elected president if he was living in a racist nation,” co-host Steve Doocy said. “Are there racists out there? Absolutely. Is it a majority of people? No.”