To anyone with a functioning brain and heart and the ability to spend five minutes undergoing even a cursory examination of the facts, it was quickly made clear that the recent murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, S.C., were motivated entirely by racial hatred and white nationalist ideology. The earliest public images of Dylann Roof, the 21-year old alleged killer, showed him wearing a jacket emblazoned with the Rhodesian flag, which represented what is now the nation of Zimbabwe before it was liberated from European colonialism, and the flag of apartheid-era South Africa. More images of Roof showed him proudly brandishing the Confederate flag, a potent symbol to an American racist who would welcome the return of that slavery empire and start a war to do it. All three of these symbols represent nations where the defining principles were white supremacy and the subjugation of black human beings, countries that white nationalists like Roof aspire to model the world after.

Survivors of the attack immediately came forward and reported that Roof told victims that they “were raping our women” and “taking over our country,” two sentiments that have been commonly expressed by white supremacists and used to justify racist violence throughout our history. Finally, Roof’s online manifesto, which authorities have authenticated, clearly lays out Roof’s virulently racist worldview and seeks to justify his premeditated attack on the Charleston church by casting himself as the reluctant champion of the white race. This information and more should make it abundantly and unambiguously clear that this was a racially motivated hate crime — or even a terrorist attack, since the perpetrator had a clear political ideology he was attempting to impose through violence against civilians. But some propagandists journalists just aren’t convinced….

Enter Steve Doocy, Elisabeth Hasselback and Brian Kilmeade, the intrepid reporters of Fox & Friends, who, along with the network as a whole, have systematically attempted to spin this tragedy to advance their own narrative and agenda, facts be damned. The video above reveals a conversation that would almost be comical in its incredible ignorance and stupidity if this wasn’t so deadly serious. The immediate reaction of Doocy, his cohorts and Fox News producers was to turn a racist attack on black people into an attack on Christian faith, which neatly fits in with Fox’s long history of reporting on anti-Christian activities such as the “War on Christmas,” a paranoid delusion that deserves its own classification in the next DSM. Fox must have found itself in quite a bind with this story — they couldn’t outright smear the black victims as they did with Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, because these were people who were just trying to worship in their church. There’s no way they could just brand them all as “thugs” and pat themselves on the back for a job well done in obfuscating the continuing existence and reality of racism in America.

Time for a new play: first, make use of the convenient fact that the murders took place at a church, framing it as an attack on Christianity, ignoring all evidence to the contrary. Next, claim that it’s “extraordinary” to label this as a racially motivated hate crime in order to make your enemies look like the unreasonable ones. Then, put a right wing black preacher on camera who will agree with everything you say so that your overwhelmingly white audience will be able to deceive themselves into thinking that this chronic denial of racism isn’t actually racist in itself. Finally, throw a bone to the NRA and weapons manufacturers by claiming that the solution to all of this is for clergy to carry Guns for Christ — because that doesn’t contradict the message of the Prince of Peace at all.

This isn’t lazy reporting wherein journalists jump in and sensationalize before all the facts are known, which would be bad enough – this is the kind of pernicious, purposeful propaganda and yellow journalism that has become Fox News’ bread-and-butter. Will there be an acknowledgment by Doocy and company that Roof’s manifesto clearly stated, and I quote, “I chose Charleston because it is [sic] most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to whites in the country,” specifically choosing the Emanuel church because it is an historic symbol of the African-American struggle for equality and freedom that Dr. Martin Luther King himself visited, not because Roof was an anti-Christian militant? Don’t hold your breath.

Do you think Fox News will ever run a story on the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist organization cited by Roof as a vital source of inspiration for his warped understanding of the world? Doubtful, especially since the organization has been financially cozy with conservative Republican politicians, whom Fox News represents in virtually every second of its 24/7 coverage, for years – from The Atlantic, “[CCC President]Holt’s contribution records read as a who’s who of conservative candidates in recent years — including Mark Sanford, who represents Charleston in the House.” That story wouldn’t help Republicans in 2016, so there’s no reason to give it air time and every reason to bury it completely with more spin — quick, put another conservative black guest on camera, one who will say that it was liberals who created Roof! And in case you forgot and think you can dismiss everything Fox News does as some fringe lunacy that holds no water in polite society, this is all from the network that has been the number one-rated cable “news” channel for 13 years.