Fox News, the Rupert Murdoch-owned American news outlet, has attacked comedian John Oliver for being British. On Tuesday, hosts of 'The Five' rounded on the HBO star following a segment on his Sunday Night show ‘Last Week Tonight’ in which he criticised Republican and Democratic politicians for stoking anti-refugee sentiment in the wake of the Paris attacks.
Oliver said: “Every generation has had its own ugly reaction to refugees, whether they are the Irish, the Vietnamese, the Cubans, or the Haitians. And those fears have been broadly unfounded. In fact, there was only one time in American history where the fear of refugees wiping everyone out did actually come true, and we’ll all be sitting around a table celebrating it on Thursday.”
Thursday is Thanksgiving, which has dark roots in the massacre of indigenous Americans by European colonists in the seventeenth century.
Fox host Jesse Watters responded by suggesting Oliver should thank the Pilgrims, because “without the Pilgrims bringing religious freedom here, we wouldn't be bringing in all of these Muslims, right?” Dana Perino chirped in: “It is always interesting to listen to a condescending British person tell you about colonialism, because the British were so much better at colonialism than the Pilgrims.”
Since the massacre in the French capital earlier this month, the American political right (as well as pockets of the left) has been racked with a paranoia and bigotry over the phantom infiltration of Isis fighters cloaked within Syrian refugees fleeing oppression. Donald Trump has been at the forefront of the hysteria, deliberately whipping up an “us versus them” anxiety, and even lying about witnessing "thousands" of immigrants in New Jersey celebrating on the day the World Trade Centre was attacked in 2001.
However, as Raw Story points out, Fox News ignored Migration Policy Institute data cited by Oliver that showed only three of the 784,000 refugees admitted to the US since 9/11 had been subsequently arrested in connection with terrorism. Or the fact that the US has one of the most rigorous vetting processes for refugees in the world.
Still, why dwell on research when you can dismiss someone based in their nationality…
(Watch Oliver's full segment below)
(H/T Media Matters)