The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

« Previous Post | The Big Picture Home | Next Post »

Fox News attacks Barack Obama for giving props to Sitting Bull

Sitting_bull The Indian wars have been over for roughly 130 years, but at Fox News, no war is too distant in memory to go unnoticed, especially when it comes to opening up a new avenue of attack on Barack Obama.

My wife writes about children's books, so she always lets me have a look at titles that deal with my favorite subjects (baseball, the South, Bob Dylan, high school basketball, tropical gardening and, of course, Sioux chiefs). So I'm already familiar with President Obama's new children's book, "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters," which went on sale Tuesday (all royalties from book sales go to a scholarship fund for children of American soldiers who've been killed or disabled).

The book pays tribute to 13 groundbreaking Americans and the ideals they personified, including such familiar icons as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Jackie Robinson, Jane Addams, Neil Armstrong and Billie Holiday. Oh, yes, and Sitting Bull. Obama describes Mr. Bull as a "Sioux medicine man who healed broken hearts and broken promises. ...  Though he was put in prison, his spirit soared free on the plains, and his wisdom touched the generations."

I take a special interest in Sitting Bull because my great-great-uncle, Julius Meyer, was an interpreter and trader who lived in Omaha from the late 1860s into the 20th century. Uncle Julius not only befriended Sitting Bull but took him to Europe as part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in the early 1880s. I have a photo of Uncle Julius with Sitting Bull, Red Cloud and a couple of other somber-looking Sioux chiefs. Sitting Bull was a warrior but by no means a bloodthirsty killer. If you ask almost any historian, they'll tell you that the Sioux took up arms against the U.S. government only after suffering through a series of broken treaties and under the threat of forced imprisonment for opposing the government's efforts to hand over the tribe's lands to gold miners and settlers. 

Only in the nutty world of Fox News is there anything possibly controversial about celebrating a renowned chief. But apparently the Fox News crew hadn't managed to fill the daily quota of anti-Obama screeds, so the Fox's website got hold of a typically bland USA Today story about Obama's new book, zeroed in on the one potentially controversial angle and came up with this headline: "Obama Praises Indian Chief Who Killed U.S. General." Fox even managed to get that wrong, since there is zero evidence that Sitting Bull actually killed George Armstrong Custer at the famous Battle of the Little Big Horn. If you go to the post, you'll see the headline now reads: "Obama Praises Indian Chief Who Defeated U.S. General." 

It seems like such a rinky-dink thing to get worked up about, but this is the way Fox News operates, always willing to stoop as low as possible to demonize its opponents with some potentially damaging accusations, even if they might come from a harmless children's book. Interviewed a year or so after Custer's ignominious defeat, Sitting Bull had his say on the subject of Fox News-like inflammatory media coverage. "They say I murdered Custer," he told a reporter. "But it was a lie. He was a fool who rode to his death." 

Photo: Sitting Bull from the book cover of "Sitting Bull and his World" by Albert Marrin. Credit: Dutton   

Comments () | Archives (48)

The comments to this entry are closed.

What does this have to do with movies? Why are movie reporters commenting on politics? And you leftists wonder why the news paper industry is going the way of bye bye.

Sitting Bull was a cruel and brutal war leader, who first gained fame at age 14 by killing a 16 year old boy from another Indian Tribe. He didn't simply wage war against US soldiers, but killed civilian men, women, and children, both white and Indian. Sitting Bull also treated the women of his tribe as sexual chattel, to be given to bucks as a reward for doing well in battle. He also wasn't an American (as he would himself be the first to admit) but the leader of an independent nation at war with the US. Only in Obama's nutty world would this man be romanticized as a great American hero.

Classic comment from Mick: Sitting Bull "wasn't an American"! Another funny thing: I don't remember there being such outrage during the administration of the first President Bush, when the United States Postal Service issued a 28-cent stamp featuring Sitting Bull. It was part of the Great American Series. Apparently the idea that he was a great American preceded President Obama....

Sitting Bull was a medicine man, and not a warrior. It was generally Crazy Horse, not Sitting Bull, who "waged war" on America.
To your part, yes they were an independent nation, who's land (their own, given to them by the US even) was being seized from them illegally. Is that enough of a reason to fight?
Please educate yourself more on Indians before you comment on them.

Obama is happy to see dead American soldiers be 130 years ago in the Dakotas or yesterday in Afganistan.

Our first Muslim president hates America and anyone that defends her.

Fox news is terrible. I watch fox every morning and after reading this I won't watch anymore. I am a native american from the paiute tribe and find what fox said very wrong. This article is getting passed around and many are very upset with fox new. I think an apoligy is owed.

Anyone instigating on Sitting Bull have no respect, you may have studied in history class, but just 'cause it's written down 'n called history doesn't make it the truth. I laugh at anyone who stoops down onto nonsense 'bout Sitting Bull.

What is more offensive to you, that the president is honoring a hero of the Lakota nation or that the Lakota people did not go down without a fight? I believe that a lot of these ignorant comments have been written by men (of course) who never paid much attention in history class. My apologies, I forgot that it was their ancestors that wrote those history books.

General Custer was a man whose only desire was to gain status and privilege in New York society. He was revered, once, for his so-called heroics, but the truth about the type of man that he was is starting to come to light.

President Obama is not responsible for the deaths of any soldiers. These soldiers chose to fight for their nation and will be given the honor and respect that they deserve, but let’s not forget whose administration involved the U.S. in foreign affairs.

I do not envy the position that Sitting Bull held or that President Obama holds right now. Only great men are chosen to be responsible for a nation.

The ignorant men who write such articles, or make such comments will never know what it means to be great.

I am a 2nd year student at Sitting Bull College and a proud member of the Lakota community. I am also a woman. This may come as a shock to you gentlemen, but we are learning to come together as a nation. We are still the proud people the history books write about.

We will work together as a nation, to take back a nation. Go ahead, keep displaying your ignorance.

Why would praising a humble strong proud Lakota leader be so contraversial? We praise "honest" Abraham Lincoln and he hung 38 starving Dakota warriors for trying to fight for the food which was rightfully theirs. Why is it so contraversial? Because bringing the wrong doings of this country is a big nono. Thats why our history is barely mentioned in the educational genre of historical writings. I am a proud Lakota woman raising my children with pride in our culture. BUT I have to teach them the history of our people @ home so they know the truth. Why is that? Because our people were treated so badly by this goverment which has been forced upon us that they would rather forget who this countrys first terrorists were. My people were terrorized with famine and disease and forced to live on uninhabitable lands for centuries now. But you know what we are still here to teach our children the truth - We have survived and will continue to fight for the rights of our broken treaties.

Since when is defending your homeland against an invasion, waging war?

I keep hoping that one day Americans will stop waging ignorance, but with comments like these being the norm, it ain't likely anytime soon...

1 2 3 4 5 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Stay Connected:

About the Bloggers



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: