Pandering to Bigots: Fox News Smears Black Woman Judge

Fox News described Judge Robinson, one of two federal judges appointed in the Trump-Russia collusion case, as someone who "has experienced the criminal justice system firsthand."

Former Trump 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign official Rick Gates appear in front of U.S. Magistrate Deborah A. Robinson in U.S. Federal Court during a hearing in the first charges stemming from a special counsel investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in Washington, U.S., October 30, 2017. / REUTERS

Fox News wasted no time attacking one of the judges involved in the Paul Manafort case: a Black woman who "has experienced the criminal justice system firsthand."

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson was named the preliminary judge in the case against Manafort, former manager of the Trump campaign, who faces charges including money laundering and conspiracy against the United States. Rather than focus on Robinson's credentials, though, a Fox News article titled "Paul Manafort judges: Who are Deborah A. Robinson and Amy Berman Jackson?" zeroed in on her race.

In the very first sentence the article, whose author is not named, calls Robinson someone who "has presided over a list of big-name defendants and has experienced the criminal justice system firsthand — when her son was convicted of dealing heroin."

The story goes on to name two of those defendants: former NBA player Allen Iverson and Marion Barry, a former mayor of Washington, D.C. Both men are Black.

Fox News goes on to once again bring up Robinson's son:

"In 2014, she watched her son, Philip Robinson Winkfield, get led away in handcuffs after he was sentenced to five years in federal prison for possession of heroin and intent to distribute, Tickle the Wire reported."

The article also notes more than once that U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who will take over from Robinson after the preliminary phase, was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

Only one sentence highlights Robinson's credentials: "She was sworn in as a Magistrate Judge in 1988 and is a graduate of Morgan State University and the Emory University School of Law."

In addition, though, Robinson also for eight years served as an Assistant United States Attorney. She worked in a variety of environments during this time, including the Superior Court and U.S. District Court, the D.C. Court of Appeals and the D.C. Circuit. Robison is an adjunct faculty member at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. Of D.C.'s three Magistrate Judges, Robinson has served the longest — by nearly two decades.

Fox News did cover the news regarding Manafort, but not without its continued smear campaign against some usual suspects (Democrats). Headlines included, "Gregg Jarrett: Still no evidence of Trump-Russia 'collusion' - but Hillary is a different matter," "FOX NEWS FIRST: No Russia collusion, but are more Mueller charges coming? Plus, why Hillary should worry," "Democratic women in the Senate were all for these tax reform principles until Trump proposed them," "Halloween: Progressive pitchforks are out to destroy what ought to be a fun holiday," and "Trump tweets on reports that Obama campaign paid law firm that hired Fusion GPS."

And if attention couldn't be taken away from Manafort, the conservative media outlet would at the very least take any blame or focus away from President Donald Trump.

"These transactions predate Paul Manafort's involvement with the campaign," Laura Ingraham said on her Fox News show. "The idea that this is a bad day for Trump because it in any way alludes to a collusion with Russia — you've got to be living on another planet if you think that."

She described the situation as "a nothing burger."

Speaking of, social media erupted over the exaggerated claim that Fox neglected to cover Manafort at all and only focused on the debate over the placement of a slice of cheese on the cheeseburger emoji.

Snopes identified this claim as false. However, The Daily Beast did report:

"And when the news of Manafort's and Gates' charges dropped shortly thereafter, Fox & Friends took the longest of the cable-news morning shows to get to it—at first, devoting more time to a blurb about the 'controversial' new cheeseburger emoji."

The article then highlights who appeared on the show and what they discussed regarding Manafort. But, the publication notes, "Shortly thereafter, they were back to discussing cheeseburger emojis."

Fox News' readers have taken it upon themselves in the past to attack certain people even when the network itself didn't take the lead. Fox News disabled the comments section of an article by the Associated Press about Obama's 17-year-old daughter, Malia Obama, after readers flooded the post with racist comments, calling her a racial slur, an "ape," a "monkey" and accusing her of not deserving her entry to the university but getting it thanks to "Black privilege."

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