Fox News Is Going Into Overdrive To Manufacture Outrage Over An NPR Piece Asking Tom Hanks To Do More To Fight Racism

In The Simpsons Movie, Tom Hanks appears in a government-sponsored PSA about the “new Grand Canyon,” which is actually the old Springfield. “Hello. I’m Tom Hanks. The U.S. Government has lost its credibility, so it’s borrowing some of mine,” he says before tousling a youngster’s hair. It’s a funny joke that (even at the risk of falling into a “The Simpsons predicted it” trap) has become a reality: Hanks hosted the “Celebrating America Primetime Special” special on Inauguration Day this year, because of course he did. He’s America’s Dad. Everyone loves Tom Hanks, whether for his Oscar-winning acting or his appearances in Carly Rae Jepsen music videos, but he’s currently at the center of a made-up “controversy” that’s being juiced by, you guessed it, Fox News.

Over the weekend, NPR published an op-ed from critic Eric Deggans with the headline, “Opinion: Tom Hanks Is A Non-Racist. It’s Time For Him To Be Anti-Racist.” The piece is about Hanks’ recent guest essay for the New York Times on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and how “Hanks and other stars need to talk specifically about how their work has contributed to these problems and how they will change,” Deggans writes. “They need to make specific commitments to changing the conversation in story subjects, casting and execution. That is the truly hard work of building change.” It’s a perfectly reasonable piece, and at no point does Deggans suggest “canceling” Hanks. But all Fox News saw was an opportunity to rile up its (predominantly white) viewers.

I regret to inform you that due to the fact that one (1) NPR TV critic wrote a critical column about Tom Hanks, he has now been CANCELLED. pic.twitter.com/3k9qfjvXrZ

— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) June 14, 2021

Just check out the faux righteous indignation and performative outrage by these Fox News anchors and their media guy over an NPR critic writing a column calling on Tom Hanks to be more anti-racist.

This is going to be the thing they are VERY MAD about today. pic.twitter.com/3EDh2yVRen

— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) June 14, 2021

“Being white in America has its, um…” America’s Newsroom co-host Bill Hemmer said before trailing off earlier today. Instead of finishing that sentence, he started another. It was also spectacularly awkward. “From one white guy to another,” Hemmer said, referring to himself and guest Joe Concha, who reminded the Fox News host, “I’m more Spanish than anything, but I hear you, man.” From there, Hemmer and Dana Perino discuss how they hope Hanks “comes out swinging” against the NPR piece.

Deggans replied to Fox News’ faux outrage coverage on Twitter. “FoxNews.com did a story about my column on Tom Hanks that also mentioned cancel culture. But my column was encouraging Hanks to use his power to make more movies and TV shows reflecting a broader history, so I’m not sure where the cancel part comes from,” he tweeted, adding, “Fox News associating my column with cancel culture is disingenuous and inaccurate. And now I have a new deluge of Fox fans who haven’t read my column objecting to something I haven’t said.” You can read the article in question here.

https://t.co/cBNLtanM0D did a story about my column on Tom Hanks that also mentioned cancel culture. But my column was encouraging Hanks to use his power to make more movies and TV shows reflecting a broader history, so I’m not sure where the cancel part comes from. https://t.co/uSNU9DhO2R

— Eric Deggans at NPR (@Deggans) June 14, 2021

(Via NPR)