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Bill O’Reilly Obsesses About Michael Jackson’s White Children And Once Again Compares Him To O.J. Simpson

Reported by Ellen - July 11, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

On Wednesday night’s O’Reilly Factor (7/8/09), O’Reilly devoted a couple of segments to discussing Michael Jackson. Congressman Peter King wanted to talk about how Jackson was a pervert, a pedophile and a lowlife. Rev. Al Sharpton wanted to talk about Congressman Peter King. But Bill O’Reilly, who once again compared Jackson to O.J. Simpson, seemed particularly interested in talking about whether or not Michael Jackson should be considered an African American icon when he had two white kids. Huh? With video.

O’Reilly’s first guest was New York Congressman Peter King, the guy who posthumously called Michael Jackson a “lowlife” and said, “This guy was a pervert, he was a child molester, he was a pedophile . . . .”

O’Reilly noted that black activist Bobby Rush and Hazel Dukes of the NAACP implied King was a racist, which King denied, saying, “It is absolute nonsense, I stand by everything I said, and there’s absolutely nothing racist or racial in any of the words that I used . . . .” Although Michael Jackson’s legacy was replete with significant contributions to society, to the black community and, of course, to the world of music and entertainment, King chose only to focus on one narrow aspect of Jackson’s life, which was never proven and is, to this day, arguable. If not racist, it certainly serves to paint a narrow, negative picture of a legendary superstar. Bobby Rush correctly pointed out that King has yet to rise up and condemn any of his Congressional colleagues for their bad or unethical behavior, and in that context King’s comments certainly beg the question of racism.

O’Reilly, in defense of King, said, “Mr. Rush and Ms. Dukes are cheap for playing that race card against you. But . . . what you said was harsh . . . In hindsight, might you have waited a week?”

King said that he’d spent the 4th of July weekend with veterans and cops and firefighters, and there was “such a resentment building up” about the public’s adoration of Michael Jackson. (Not for nothin’, but it sounds like King might have spent the weekend with a bunch of macho, paramilitary types who got all riled up about non-macho Jackson and all the stuff he’s been accused of, and said, hey, anybody got a video camera? King, guy, over here!)

King went on to say, “I had to cut through this ten-day cacophony of glorification . . . This onslaught where he was being made out to be a saint or a hero or whatever . . . This man was a child molester . . . .”

As Crooks and Liars pointed out, “It's funny how guys like O'Reilly and King are always big on the 'respect for the dead thing' when it involves a white guy. Both of them would have been outraged if anyone had called Frank Sinatra a Mafiosi punk -- what O'Reilly would call a "common assessment" -- in the days immediately following his death and the multiple media homages paid to him afterward. Show some proper respect for the dead, they'd have said. It was the same with Ronald Reagan's death, but on steroids. But they can never show that same kind of respect for black people . . . .”

O’Reilly argued, “Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges. He did settle a civil suit but settling something doesn’t mean you’re admitting anything . . . [This is not necessarily simply a defense of Michael Jackson here, however -- O’Reilly may be a little sensitive on this subject, considering he settled his own sexual harassment suit] . . . The people who know Jackson well say he is a product of an arrested development, that he is a child or was a child in his own mind . . . He was not an adult in an emotional way. He himself says that he slept with children, he admits it, only because he loved them and wanted to be close to them and there was no sexuality involved . . . If he’s not convicted in a court of law, is it fair to say he was a child molester?”

King replied, “. . . An adult male who sleeps with young boys is a child molester. If nothing else, he’s . . . abusing their psyche. How are those children gonna possibly grow up normal after spending nights in bed with Michael Jackson? . . . I think the media and the political class and the elite class failed . . . It can’t be much more down than what Michael Jackson did with young boys, and yet we exalted that . . . terrible failure by the media, by the elite, and I was saying what millions of Americans really felt.” (Maybe true literally but, as reported on none other than Fox Business, 60% of all Americans believe King went too far in his comments. O’Reilly never pointed that out.

O’Reilly also brought on Reverend Al Sharpton to reply, first playing a clip of Sharpton speaking in defense of Michael Jackson: “Michael made us love each other. Michael taught us to stand with each other. I want his three children to know, wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with.”

“Nothing strange about Michael Jackson?” O’Reilly asked Sharpton dubiously, going on to note the plastic surgeries, money spent on prescription drugs, in vitro on “white kids, you know, when you’re a black man. Nothing strange about him?” From jump, O’Reilly seemed determined to make a case that Michael Jackson couldn’t be a real African American icon because he had white kids. Oddly, he never mentioned the fact that Jackson also had two ex-wives – both white.

“Well no . . . first of all,” Sharpton replied, “You could probably have a lot of the citizens of America that have plastic surgery . . . Maybe he had more resources, maybe a lot of this is exaggerated. Let’s deal with the issue -- the issue is that it is totally irresponsible for a lawmaker to disregard the law. Charges were made against Michael Jackson, a mostly non-black jury – you talk about 9 out of 10? Let’s try 12 out of 12 – in a jury said, he’s not guilty of child molestation. That’s all. And it’s just reckless and irresponsible to say he’s a child molester – as it would be for me to come on here and say Dick Cheney shoots his friends hunting.”

“I challenged the Congressman on that very point, as you just heard,” O’Reilly said defensively. “But that’s not a racial issue.”

“I didn’t say anything about race,” Sharpton told O’Reilly. Although O’Reilly attempted to get Sharpton to talk about how Bobbie Rush and Hazel Dukes called King a racist, Sharpton stuck to his own agenda, saying, “Well, I’m saying it’s reckless and it is totally irresponsible for a lawmaker to say that a jury means nothing. Let’s not talk about 9 out of 10, 12 jurors that said he’s not a child molester.”

O’Reilly agreed, but went on to ask, “But how do you describe an adult male, single, admittedly bringing young children into his bed to sleep with him (Jackson)? How do you describe it?” O’Reilly cried.

“What I don’t describe it is something that a jury’s already said it was not,” Sharpton informed O’Reilly flatly.

Not to be dissuaded, O’Reilly continued pressing, asking, “But how do you describe it?”

“Whether I say Michael was, had arrested development,” Sharpton clarified, “It’s immaterial. We’re talking about a person that votes on law saying that I don’t care what a jury says, I’m going to impose a criminal accusation anyway. It’s irresponsible.”

“You’re bringing a very narrow standard . . . .” O’Reilly accused.

“I’m addressing . . . .” Sharpton attempted to respond.

“. . . to the definition, to the definition of Michael Jackson,” O’Reilly concluded. Considering that the Michael Jackson definition-of-the-day on the Factor, via King, was “pedophile,” it seemed logical, at least to me, that Sharpton would address that very issue.

“I’m addressing what he said,” Sharpton said. “The Congressman made a criminal allegation that is totally untrue, totally been answered.”

“All right,” O’Reilly said, moving on, “And people can make up their minds . . . but you, but you, Reverend Sharpton, are bringing a very narrow definition to Michael Jackson. You got up there in front of the world yesterday and you portrayed him as another Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘He brought us all together . . .’”

“He did,” Sharpton said unequivocally.

“ . . . . Come on!” cried O’Reilly in disbelief.

“First of all . . . what I said was that Michael Jackson in his career, pop culture, broke down racial barriers, first black to get MTV to run blacks’ videos, his. First black to get people like Rolling Stone to put blacks on the cover. These are facts, this is not my guess,” Sharpton said. “’We Are the World’ was the first time a superstar got other superstars to help African hunger. This is a fact. You may not like it, Mr. King may not like it, but those are facts. And I think that for me to say that there’s, for you and anyone else to raise allegations about his personal life doesn’t answer the facts of what he did. He brought people together. That is as irresponsible as someone saying, ‘We’re gonna honor President X in the history,’ and I say, ‘But President X in his personal life did so-and-so’ – what does that have to do with the fact that he was President? Did Michael Jackson not do the things I just outlined?”

“Yeah, but they’re not important . . . they’re not important. What MTV does isn’t important, what Rolling Stone magazine . . . .” O’Reilly attempted lamely. What’s really unimportant to O’Reilly seems to be any strides the African American community made as a result of Michael Jackson breaking down those barriers.

“It is important to the millions of people that bought his records. He is the top record seller in the world . . . ,” Sharpton corrected him.

“Answer me this,” said O’Reilly. “I heard a lot of people yesterday, and I think you were one of them, but correct me if I’m wrong, saying that Michael Jackson was some kind of African American icon.”

“Yes, he was,” Sharpton again stated firmly.

“Well, then why did he have white children?”

Sharpton, clearly stunned, almost stammered, saying, “What does that have to do . . . .”

“What does that have to do?” raged O’Reilly, “He chose to have in vitro by a white woman and a white man, what does that have to do?” Guess if Jackson had a couple of black kids he could have been, in O’Reilly’s view anyway, an African American icon. I mean, we can’t have blacks and whites mixing it up like that -- obviously, if a black man with white kids can’t be considered an icon for the black community, then a white guy who, say, adopts a couple of black kids should, similarly, be cast out of the white community. But hey, O’Reilly’s no racist!

“So okay, in order for him to be an African American icon – because he is . . . .” Sharpton was unable to finish a sentence without being cut off by O’Reilly.

“Icon? An icon? Why would he make that choice? Why?” O’Reilly snapped.

“Well, I’m trying to answer you. Would you like an answer, from an African American?” Sharpton said, almost kindly. “Because he broke all records . . . He brought people together . . .”

“No, no, the kids, the kids,” O’Reilly persisted.

“We didn’t say he was an African American father of African American children,” Sharpton reminded him, “He’s an icon.”

O’Reilly tried again, asking, “But why would he have white kids then?”

“What he did in his personal life with his personal choices has nothing to do with his iconic status,” Sharpton correctly noted. “If I say that Bill O’Reilly has a hot television show, does that mean I have the right to go to your house and say, ‘But how come his kids chew bubble gum?’ What does one have to do with the other?”

“Let me say something,” O’Reilly negotiated, “I’ll give you the last word. If you were just to say that Michael Jackson was an extraordinary entertainer that broke down entertainment barriers, I’d agree with you 100%. But you went farther than that, you put him up as some kind of civil rights hero . . . .” Being a rich white male, O’Reilly seemed completely oblivious to the impact that a legend the likes of Michael Jackson had on the black community. And as to MTV and Rolling Stone Magazine not being important – well, those front seats on the bus probably weren’t real important to the whites who already got to sit there, either. Sitting in the front of the bus was important as a symbol – the same type of symbol Michael Jackson’s appearance on MTV and Rolling Stone was to the black community.

“And I maintain . . . the millions upon millions of people . . . ,” Sharpton began.

“The facts,” O’Reilly interrupted.

Sharpton reminded him, “You said you were gonna give me the last word . . . The fact is, he sold more records than anyone in history, the fact is he broke every record, and you and Mr. King with these imaginary millions that are against him can’t document it. I can document the millions that were with Mr. Jackson. I can only see you and Mr. King and some undocumented people that are upset that he holds the record.”

“I’m not upset about anything – I want to put the man in proper context.” And what was that “proper context?” O’Reilly compared Jackson to O.J. Simpson - for at least the second time. “O.J. Simpson won the Heisman Trophy. He’s not a black icon,” O’Reilly stated pompously, as if he, as a traditional white male fat cat without any plight at all, would have any authority to decide what makes a black icon.

Sharpton refused to budge. “We’re not talking about . . . a fact that he broke those barriers, and the barriers were very important to other people because he broke those barriers, are able to use those means now to enhance their careers.”

Who knows, maybe O’Reilly’s still smarting because his wife allegedly dated Flava Flav, or maybe he just can’t wrap his mind around the fact that a black man can parent white kids and a white man can parent black kids, that many people are truly colorblind with regard to race. Isn’t that the point Sharpton was making about Michael Jackson, that he broke down racial barriers, opened doors of opportunity for African Americans, was, by his very existence, a frontrunner in civil rights – but still embraced people of all colors?

Michael Jackson’s life and legacy with regard to his roots rests on a simple fact: The black community claimed him. No jabber on the part of rich white male fat cats like O’Reilly and King can change that. And it's really none of their business.

If you can't view the videos below you can watch King here and Sharpton here.