Last week, Fox News aired a segment on The O’Reilly Factor that was unabashedly racist. As part of the show’s ‘Watter’s World’ segment, reporter Jesse Watters wandered Chinatown interviewing its various denizens and questioning them about the presidential election.
It was obvious during the segment’s introduction when the stereotypical Asian riff played that the producers were not concerned about treating this story with any respect. The piece was also intercut with scenes from martial arts films as Watters attempted karate in a dojo.
Movie scenes of actors mugging into the camera were also intercut when Asian Americans were clearly uninformed about the election or did not appear to understand English.
The segment was especially inconsiderate to the non-English-speaking elderly, who obviously could not give their consent to be mocked on national television.
This is not news. After the piece, Bill O’Reilly said it was “gentle fun” and “I’m sure we’ll get a lot of letters,” which shows despite his professions of innocence he knew something was wrong.
Broad strokes should not be used when painting a portrait of any human being’s character. The show was careless in its attempt at satire and unfeeling in its attempt at a news story.
Councilman Peter Koo (D- Flushing) said it best this week: “The entire segment smacks of willful ignorance by buying into the perpetual foreigner syndrome. How is it that in New York City in 2016, this is still ok? Short answer: it’s not, and it is unfortunate that Fox News needs to be reminded of that.”
The story reeked of thoughtlessness. It perpetuated the stereotype of the immigrant “other” and did so with little more than a shrug.