I still have very fond memories of the time when, at the height of theRepublican National Convention four years ago, I participated in a “Shut-Up-A-Thon” outside of Fox News Channel’s midtown Manhattan HQ. (Also there chanting right next to me: JoshuaJackson from Dawson’s Creek. I swear!) So when I heard that Nas was following up his recent chart victory by leading an anti-Fox protest on that very same street corner yesterday, you know I had to drop by — as a strictly impartial journalistic observer, of course.
Nas was there to deliver a petition from grassroots groups ColorOfChange.org and MoveOn.org, signed by 620,127 people who’ve noticed a pattern of racist coverage on Fox. You know, like when Bill O’Reilly speculated aloud about the appropriate time to “go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama.” (I overheard two youngish people who appeared to be Fox employees chatting about that gem: “Did that really happen? He didn’t say that.” “Yeah, I saw it on YouTube.” For the record, he really did say that.) 75 or so protesters were on hand, penned by police barricades into a narrow area — ah, free speech! — where they could hoist signs that read “Fox News Channel: Your Source for Racist Smears” and “FOX KEEPS FEEDING US TOXINS.” Around 3 P.M., after an hour or so of waiting, Nas hopped out of an SUV and made a short but impassioned speech to the adoring crowd. Fox’s “racist propaganda,” he declared as a gaggle of TV cameras trained on him, “[is] offensive to all Americans.” By that time, word had already gotten out that the Fox building was refusing to accept the petition-filled boxes stacked on the curb. “It goes to show what they feel about us,” Nas said to that. “They don’t want to hear our voices.” Someone asked whether Nas would consider arguing his case on The O’Reilly Factor. “Never,” he laughed. “He’d have to come on my show, in front of all of you!” (Fair enough, considering the intemperate outbursts O’Reilly has spat out at him.)
In fact, Nas was headed off after the protest to see Papa Bear O’Reilly’s most devoted disciple, Stephen Colbert. His Report appearance aired last night — if you missed it, check out Colbert’s hilarious introduction below, and click over to Comedy Central for Nas’ interview and performance of “Sly Fox,” his bitingly intelligent takedown of Fox and the corporate media at large.
So what did you think of Nas’ big day of anti-Fox press? Anyone else catch him on Colbert, or see him outside of Fox’s offices? Bill O’Reilly and I can’t wait to hear!