Standing up against Fox’s hate

November 1, 2010

Sarita Flores reports from New York City on the "March Against Hate" at Fox News.

APPROXIMATELY 200 people turned out for the "March Against Hate"--a much-needed demonstration in downtown New York City on October 23.

Those who attended were fed up with the fear and bigotry being whipped by right-wing politicians and the media--particularly during a time when an alarming spike in hate crimes has swept over the city and nation, targeting the very communities that have been demonized.

The demonstration began with a speak-out at 11 a.m. at Central Park's Columbus Circle. Participants then marched down Broadway by Times Square, before ending at 48th Street and 6th Avenue--the New York headquarters of Fox News. There, protesters held another speak-out, slamming the racist, anti-gay and Islamophobic rhetoric of politicians as well as media outlets like Fox.

The march was initiated by the International Socialist Organization--an emergency ad-hoc committee, called March Against Hate, quickly grew to 38 endorsing individuals and organizations by the time of the protest. The rally was organized in just a week and a half with the powerful underlying message that "An injury to one is an injury to all!"

Protesters take a stand against Fox News outside the cable network's studios in New York City
Protesters take a stand against Fox News outside the cable network's studios in New York City

Organizers agreed that it was crucial to counter the climate of fear being created by the shameless hate speech spewed by the likes of Tea Party contender for governor Carl Paladino and Fox News hosts and anchors, including Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and Megan Kelly. Blatant attacks by these figures on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, immigrants, Muslims and Arabs persist, despite a tragic and disturbing escalation of hate crimes.

The demonstration was put together particularly as a response to disgraceful politicians like Paladino, who recently told the media that "children should not be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option." This, despite the fact that recent weeks saw a series of anti-gay hate crimes and suicides in the New York City area, including the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, the gay bashing of a patron at the iconic Stonewall Inn in the West Village and a brutal anti-gay attack by members of a group calling itself the "Latin King Goonies."

Similarly, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly blasted Muslims during a recent appearance on The View, insisting that plans to build an Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan should be opposed "because it was Muslims who killed us on 9/11." This occurred just days before several teens were charged with aggravated assault and harassment of a Staten Island high school student who was bullied for appearing "Arab-looking."

"[They] punched me in my groin, and I fell to the floor," the victim, Kristian, told the New York Daily News. "They started kicking me, and calling me 'You fuckin' terrorist. You fuckin' Muslim.'"

THE PROTEST was brimming with energy, with chants like "As-Salaam Alaikum, welcome to New York!" "We say no to racist fear--Muslims are welcome here!" and "'Fair and balanced,' that's a lie. You don't care if people die!"

Carl, a protester from Queens, said, "There are a lot of frightened and frustrated people because of this economic crisis, and the right, with networks like Fox News, helps put the blame on minorities for everyone's hard times. The Democrats aren't doing any better, though; they're too busy trying to outdo the Republicans by trying to pander to both the left and right voters, but they're actually losing more than they expected to gain."

Other rally participants talked about the importance of people uniting to fight the right. "Although it's really frightening that this rise of the right and fear-mongering is occurring under Obama...grassroots organizing seems the only way to go about countering this hate," stated Melinda, a member of Wait No More.

Chavisa, a member of the ad-hoc emergency response group Queers Bash Back, agreed: "It's necessary that we band together all the different oppressions and fight for the liberation from these oppressions across the board. We simply need to join all forces ourselves--liberal, hard left, soft left, liberation groups--because the right wing has appropriated the idea of oppression and turned on its head."

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