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Fox News’ Latest Outrage: NPR Wants to ‘Cancel’ Tom Hanks! (They Don’t)

The Daily Beast logo The Daily Beast 6/14/2021 Justin Baragona
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So what are we outraged about today, folks?

Fox News went into an apoplectic fit on Monday over an NPR TV critic writing a column that called for Hollywood superstar Tom Hanks to be “anti-racist” rather than “non-racist,” claiming that the article on the Oscar-winning actor was just the latest example of so-called cancel culture run amok.

In an opinion piece published on Sunday, NPR’s Eric Deggans commented on Hanks’ recent guest essay for The New York Times in which the Saving Private Ryan star called for more widespread education on the Tulsa Race Massacre. Deggans, who is Black, said that while he was “sincerely heartened” by Hanks’ column and thought it was “wonderful that Hanks stepped forward to advocate for teaching about a race-based massacre,” he still felt that it wasn’t enough.

Noting that Hanks has spent his career playing “righteous white men,” Deggans called on Hanks to use his power in Hollywood to help “make specific commitments to changing the conversation in story subjects, casting and execution,” specifically saying Hanks should take on a more proactive anti-racist stance.

Focusing on the right’s mockery and condemnation of Deggans’ column, Fox News published a digital article that accused the NPR writer of being “the latest media figure to engage in cancel culture.” The network then followed that online piece up with several on-air segments decrying the supposed cancelation of Hanks. (As of mid-Monday morning, Hanks had been mentioned at least 12 times on the channel.)

During the “hard news” morning program America’s Newsroom, for instance, both anchors of the show and a Fox News contributor expressed righteous indignation and performative outrage over Deggans’ piece.


Video: Media top headlines June 14 (FOX News)

After teasing the segment with an on-air graphic that read “Cancel Culture Comes For Tom Hanks,” anchor Bill Hemmer turned to media columnist Joe Concha, who promptly slammed Deggans for “playing the victim on social media” for the amount of vitriol directed at him from the right.

“He deserves all the criticism he gets,” Concha exclaimed. “And here’s the thing, Bill. NPR, Deggans, and perpetual protesters—no matter what Tom Hanks does, it will never be enough!”

After detailing all of Hanks’ charitable actions, Concha and Hemmer then—seemingly unknowingly on their part—revealed that the over-the-top reaction to Deggans’ piece was all for show.

“For one guy from NPR, he isn’t doing enough to make the world a better place—how’s that working out right now?” Concha declared, prompting Hemmer to react: “Well, if we was looking for attention, he’s getting it.” Co-anchor Martha MacCallum, meanwhile, wrapped up the segment by saying she hopes Hanks “comes out swinging” over the NPR piece before outright demanding that he “respond” amid the right-wing furor over the single article.

“That would get a lot of respect,” Hemmer remarked, adding: “Most people do not. They sit back and take it.”

It is interesting to see Fox News rally to Hanks’ defense considering that it wasn’t that long ago they were blasting the Forrest Gump star for saying he was uninterested in visiting the White House while Donald Trump was president, insisting he should be “cast away” over his political opinions.

Following the America’s Newsroom segment, Deggans took to Twitter to note that it was “disingenuous and inaccurate” for the network to associate his column with cancel culture, adding that he now has “a new deluge of Fox fans who haven't read my column objecting to something I haven't said.”

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