I admit that I was taken aback by the attacks of Fox News host Glenn Beck against President Barack Obama's daughter Malia. I normally pay very little attention to Beck, which is a policy of mine that isn't going to change anytime soon. To see a 46-year-old man, though, go after an 11-year-old girl on national television concerned me a great deal. I wondered if there was no low that Beck and his colleagues would be willing to stoop to in order to attack the president, and whether his Fox News fan base and corporate sponsors would cheer him on as he verbally assaults the intelligence of a child.
During a segment of his show, Beck spent time making fun of the question Malia posed to her father about the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. For several minutes, Beck mocked her with a whiny voice and even accused the Obama family of having uneducated children.
Beck's apology was even weaker than his verbal assault on Malia Obama. On his Web site, he issued this statement:
"In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism, I broke my own rule about leaving kids out of political debates. The children of public figures should be left on the sidelines. It was a stupid mistake and I apologize -- and as a Dad I should have known better."
Translation: "I am not taking very much responsibility for my behavior, which is why the statement is so short. The president is to blame for all this because he used his daughter to protect himself. This is not something I would normally do, because I really am a decent guy. You can tell I'm decent because I have kids of my own. Oh, by the way, I'm sorry."
Beck and Fox News should be ashamed of this behavior. Beck, by attacking a child in this way, is proving to the world that he has nothing intelligent or meaningful to add to public debates and is simply a political comedian with a large platform. A more sincere apology should have come from Fox News itself, while simultaneously applauding the Obama family for raising intelligent and productive children. The idea that Malia, at the tender age of 11, has the compassion to ask her father about oil spills and other meaningful political events, implies that this child is special, considerate and as brilliant as her parents. She is certainly more intelligent, informed and compassionate than Beck himself.
Any corporation that makes money or sells products in the name of Glenn Beck and his television and radio shows should ask themselves if they want to be associated with someone who feels it necessary to attack innocent children. Beck went entirely too far, and I am sure that even his buddy Bill O'Reilly won't back him on this one.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the author of the new book 'Black American Money.' To have Dr. Boyce's commentary delivered to your e-mail, please click here.