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.

Sitting Bull was a great man, and worked to help his people. Anyone who has studied history knows what a fool Custer was and how he abused Native Americans throughout his military career.

Fox News confirms again the inferior mental DNA in Anglo people. I am glad that my people fought and killed foreign infections and it is sad that only one in a thousand of them are actually human and able to commune with creation instead of destroy all living things, including themselves.
How one can reason that a people whom have been indigenous to this continent for at least 10 thousand years have no rights while men of foreign ancestry less than 500 years, and some even less than that, can legally and morally have more rights to defend lands and property that is not theirs, is mentally defective, bizarre and inferior.
That our people still have songs, dances and language after near extinction through genocide should tell of some superiority of our race, but again, that concept is more than likely to cause even more brain damage to the infection.

You are correct, Sitting Bull was not am American. He was Lakota. Indians were forced to become Americans. Natives were finally given the (priviledge) of becoming American citizens in the 1920's. To me, an American is something that came and took what they wanted from the Indians. Killing many in the process. These were "illegal aliens" who were never charged with any crime, nor were they deported back to their homelands. Our country would be in much better shape if they would have been treated like illegals are today. I teach my children to respect America and the red white and blue. But to also keep in mind that the flag they are asked to salute killed many, many of their ancestors, forced children from their parents and so many other atrocities that I can't even began to list. Sitting Bull and all the other tribal leaders were doing nothing more than defending their people and land. Much like Americans have done on numerous occassions since then. Defending the land that the TOOK from our people. I am proud to be Diegueno, and even though I respect the American flag, does not mean I have to love it.

I am a descendent of sitting bull and would like to say Pilamiya!!!!! to the times for getting the story straight....DB

"Mr. Bull" LOL that was the best!!!!!

I am sickened by the comments of my fellow "Americans". To spin the irrational notion that the Sioux people were the aggressors not the victims is beyond idiotic. The Native Americans were enslaved, raped, murdered, and eradicated by European nations and American people for hundreds of years prior to The Battle of Little Bighorn. The proud Sioux Nation after repeated attempts to settle the land redistribution peacefully with the U.S. Government , were forced to take up arms in an attempt to salvage any remaining dignity and hope that remained. The U.S. government since its inception has broken treaty after treaty, killing men,women,children, elderly or any other "savage" in the way of manifest destiny. Less than a year ago the IRS seized more lands from the Sioux Nation in South Dakota that an 1868 treaty set aside for the Sioux people. We continue to deceive and dishonor the original inhabitants of our great country, yet they are the evil doers by the far-right wackos. The Native Americans taught the original English settlements here how to survive and thrive upon the land. Once the English were self sufficient they killed or relocated the Natives as was seen throughout our glorious past. As a employee of FOX News I think it's good that people have media outlets that share alternate views, it allows for competitive and constructive debate. This crosses a line though. It's a historically inaccurate comment and shameful towards a people who have suffered enough. I'm proud that Obama even choose to recognize Sitting Bull. Good for him, recognizing a great leader who history routinely overlooks.

As a child some of my first heroes from literature were great leaders one of whom was Sitting Bull. Even as a young boy I was awed by the dignity and wisdom with which he conducted his people's struggle against systematic and deliberate genocide. If Sitting Bull and other great warriors and chiefs like him had fought in the name of the United States Government against some foreign invader their selflessness and commitment would would have been honored with medals and statues in our state capitols. To condemn these warriors as savages and murderers because they dared oppose the U.S Government (in a culture where a great many citizens would die to protect their right to bare arms for the defense of themselves or their personal property) is hypocritical to the point of absurdity. Obfuscating the mistakes of our history does not erase them.

Anti-administration, pro-administration...who cares. Everyone who can still think for themselves realizes the news is slanted to reflect the particular viewpoint of the management. If Fox news was bought out tomorrow by Red Banner, you can bet the news would slant toward how the U.S. is doing everything to try and provoke Russia. If the John Birch society (remember them?) had enough money to buy a news station, you could bet the news would carry whatever slant the J.B.'s wanted.
Well, let me tell you what I want, and many millions of my fellow Americans. Just the facts...who, what, when, where, and throw the editorializing and self-righteous indignation of the anchor in a box, never to be let out, except behind the closed curtains of a polling booth. We are tired of hearing your slant, both left and right, on the news. We want just the facts. We do not need to be treated like idiot children to draw our own conclusions, and if we want outside influence in drawing our conclusions we shall get it where we have gotten it for the past forty the local grill where we have breakfast.

Its funny how foxnews will use anything to go after B.O. and this just proves it. Its not okay praise Sitting Bull but its okay to praise President Andrew Jackson a man who destroyed millions of Native lives.

It is no surprise that not only will Fox attempt to use anything to discredit Obama, nor their daft obtuseness that retains a cobwebbed villification of an Indian chief who, actually, is an honorable representation of American character--yes more so than General Custer who would probably be stupidly deified in in the eyes of Fox's revisionist historical account.

« | 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: