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O'Reilly wonders why protests are happening in a democracy

Reported by Chrish - October 20, 2006 -

In the "Outrage" segment on The Factor tonight 10/19/06 big daddy Bill O'Reilly interviewed fresh-faced Jennifer Gratz, Executive Director of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, about protests occurring in opposition to anti-affirmative action propositions on the ballot next month. Calling the meeting disruptions and confrontations with those with whom they disagree "shades of the Minuteman action" O'Reilly wondered "why is this stuff happening in a democracy?"

Ostensibly O'Reilly was concerned about the tactics of the protesters, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means (his emphasis) Necessary (full name Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.) But he and his guest seemed to think they should just be quiet and let people vote.

Gratz's organization opposes affirmative action based on race or gender but approves of it based on economic factors. She accuses BAMN of not believing in free speech, democracy, and equal treatment under the law and said they're scared and desperate.

There was no opposing view given, though O'Reilly did say he is considering having as a guest the man who is the leader of the opposition, Luke Massie. O'Reilly will "pre-interview" him but he doesn't want to put "loons" on (although he has had Ann Coulter on). Gratz alleged that Massie carries a knife and she feels the need for security when she is making appearances. O'Reilly claimed that he doesn't care how people in Michigan vote but he doesn't like these tactics and he doesn't want her to be in any danger, and asked if she had enough security - maybe he was going to offer her some of his famous FOX Security staff.

At the start of the segment and again during it videos were shown of protesters shouting and,well, protesting. Most but not all were black and the impression was that the organization consisted mainly of African-Americans. Couple these images with the allegations of a knife-wielding "loon" and you've got a terrific sense of danger, leading Factor viewers to feel defensive about this scrubbed, smiling young white woman. Peruse the BAMN website, however, and you'll see it is a civil rights group of great diversity, and Mr. Massie's appearance may surprise you.

Perhaps because we're so close to a critical election and there's so much anxiety about illegal voter purges, electronic voting machine fraud, and democracy in chaos, but these scenes reminded me of another mob scene that doubtless received less fear-mongering coverage: remember "Miami's Rent-a-riot"?

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