There’s nothing new about a public figure questioning US president Barack Obama’s citizenship—his political rivals and voters alike have done that since he first entered national politics. But Rupert Murdoch, the founder and executive chairman of Fox News parent company News Corp, took things a step further today, essentially questioning the president’s blackness.
Murdoch, who has been frank about his support for presidential candidate Ben Carson, later apologized over Twitter, saying he meant no offense and that he finds both men “charming.” His spokesperson told CNN that Murdoch’s tweets are just that—Murdoch’s own, and not diplomatic messages crafted by a PR team.
It’s unclear whether Murdoch’s misstep was meant to suggest that Obama does not follow along with society’s idea of a ”real” black person, or if it perhaps was a reference to Obama’s being half-black, implying somehow that having only one black parent (in Obama’s case, his father) makes someone not black enough. Either way, the message shows that the US is far from the “post-racial” society many Americans thought had been begun when Obama first took office in 2008.