Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fox News 'Rachel Ray Scarf-Gate': Arab-Bashing?

Is TV host and cook Rachel Ray in cahoots with a donut maker to inflame Islamic extremists?

Michelle Malkin and Fox News think so!

This morning reported that flavored-coffee and pastry behemoth Dunkin' Donuts removed an online ad (pictured above) featuring spokeswoman Rachel Ray, in response to claims generated by conservative bloggers and Fox News commentators that the scarf she is wearing in the photo looked like a kefiyeh.

Fox News commentator and frequently-creepy syndicated conservative news columnist Michelle Malkin brazenly suggested in her blog that the grayish-colored scarf was anti -American and could send a potentially dangerous message to Islamic extremists.

The kefiyeh, or keffiyeh is a Arab headdress for men comprised of a diagonally folded cloth secured to the head by an agal band.

It is worn in a variety of styles for, among other reasons, keeping the desert heat off the head and keeping sand away from the eyes and mouth.

Regardless of the fact that the scarf Ms. Ray was wearing was a paisley pattern and in fact, not a kefiyeh, nor was the scarf even made of the same material as a kefiyeh or even being worn in the style of the kefiyeh (or that it is Arab MEN who wear it) Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin suggested that the grayish-colored scarf was anti -American and could send a potentially dangerous message to Islamic extremists.

In response to Ms. Malkin's bizarre right-wing, Neo Con hysteria Dunkin' Donuts pulled the ad rather than face a firestorm of irrational backlash from outraged, misinformed Fox News watchers and conservative paranoid conspiracy theorists terrified at the thought of someone having the nerve to wear a scarf that reminded them of a kefiyeh in a coffee ad.

I read the reader comments to the Ad Age article and blogged a response.

The Boston Globe and LA Times picked up the story too. I steeled myself and read a sampling of the reader comments on Malkin's blog and many of them went easy on her, as it seems quite a few watch or have watched Rachel Ray and seemed rather puzzled at Malkin's out of left field observation.

Frankly, Malkin has been on a tirade about Dunkin' Donuts violating her views on immigration so the scarf thing seems much less about ideology or fact, than Malkin's own need to self-righteously pander to conservatives.

Oil is moving past $130 a barrel, there are food shortages around the world and President Bush and his inner circle are being confronted with former press secretary Scott McClellan's revelations that they lied to the American people about the Iraqi invasion - all Malkin can come up with is an Arab-Bashing link to a scarf?

She's Fox material all right, through and through.

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