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O'Reilly guests get different treatment because of viewpoints on Obama

Reported by Chrish - March 19, 2008 -

Bill O'Reilly hosted two guests last night 3/18/08 to discuss Barack Obama's speech today addressing his relationship with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and remarks he's made in sermons at Obama's church. Tanya Acker, an Obama supporter, was argued with and overtalked, while Angela McGlowan, a Republican strategist and O'Reilly suck-up (there's really no other way to put it) was allowed to opine uninterrupted. With video.

O'Reilly's first interruption of Acker contained misinformation and a self-congratulatory fib:

"Wait, wait, wait, wait...he clearly said today...that he sat there and he heard Reverend Wright say anti-American comments.... But I'm willing to give him a pass on that because I'm not a gotcha kind of guy."

O'Reilly "gave him a pass," i.e. didn't make too much of it beyond the passing smear because it wasn't true. What Obama said:

"I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all. "

O'Reilly took the view tonight that Barack and Michelle Obama were irresponsible to take their girls, ages 6 and 9, to a church where there's no guarantee the preacher won't go on a controversial political ("anti-American") rant. When Ackers tried to make the point that there's no evidence that the sermons being played incessantly, or rather the snippets taken from the sermons, were the norm, he overtalked and didn't let her answer the questions he posed in the initial overtalking.

He interrupted her again to allow McGlowan to "jump in" (for a nearly one-minute uninterrupted monologue). After an introductory brown-nosing she said that she wanted to debunk "When Obama made the comment by (sic) denouncing and rejecting Reverend Wright would be rejecting the black community," because all black churches are not like that. More misdirection. Obama said he

"can no more disown him (Wright) than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love."

O'Reilly injected the straw-man "what if" scenario - what if a sitting US Senator went to a church led by "a" David Duke? Ackers dismissed the hypothetical and reminded viewers of Ronald Reagan's and George Bush's public association with and defense of Bob Jones University, where she would not be allowed to date a white man. (Both guests are black women. I have observed more black people on FOX News Channel in the last three months or so than I've seen in over four years of monitoring. That's just an observation.) The difference between hate speech, which she was sure to condemn, from a Duke or a Wright, was the historical context. O'Reilly interrupted to say that - surprise - he would cut her some slack on that opinion because Wright probably did "come up the hard way."

He asked them both to grade Obama's speech. McGowan went first and broke the grades between the black and white communities (9 and 5, respectively) suggesting that black Americans will give him a pass just because, and Ackers gave him an 8 across the board.

As has been noted many times, the guest in agreement was allowed to speak at length while the opposition voice was badgered. In effect, it was a 2:1 segment, not fair and balanced.