Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

O’Reilly to Dr. Marc Lamont Hill: Tearing Up a Rosa Parks Sign at a Town Hall Meeting Is Not About Racism

Reported by Julie - August 19, 2009 -

On last night's O’Reilly Factor (8/18/09), O’Reilly hosted Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, and vehemently denied the fact that there is any racist element to the town hall meetings. Ai, yai, yai. With video.

Okay, let’s start at the beginning. At a Missouri town hall rally last week, a black woman was holding a Rosa Parks sign. A white man ripped the poster from her and tore it to shreds. Enter police, arrest white man, escort black woman from the rally because signs were prohibited. We’re talking Rosa Parks, people!

O’Reilly kicked off the segment by talking about this Missouri rally, and, with scorn virtually dripping from every syllable, said, “Tim Wise, a self-described anti-racism activist, said this.”

Roll the clip of Wise (who’s been called, “One of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation,” has spoken in 48 states, and on over 400 college campuses, including Harvard, Stanford, and the Law Schools at Yale and Columbia), discussing how the white man who ripped up the Rosa Parks poster received a “huge ovation” from the “literally hundreds of white folks in attendance . . . .” Wise went on to say that other posters in the room referred to President Obama by the N-word.

Liar! Liar! A white guy ripping up a Rosa Parks poster held by a black woman has nothing to do with racism, you idiots! (Even though I didn’t hear that anybody else’s posters were ripped up -- it was just coincidence that a black woman holding a Rosa Parks sign was the only one assaulted and hers was the sign that got ripped up.) Don’t let that sea of older white faces make you think that there could be any racist element to it! Don’t let the applause for the white man’s actions convince you that this was anything other than a local do-gooder making sure the no-signs prohibition in the town hall was being strictly enforced! Consider it a sort of signage citizen’s arrest. But racism? Pish, posh.

Yeah, see, that’s just what O’Reilly said! “A black woman did indeed have a sign at the Missouri healthcare meeting. That was against the rules and a white man did indeed rip up the sign . . . nobody has confirmed a sign containing the N-word . . . .” Well, of course, every citizen must take it upon him- or herself to see that sign laws are adhered to.

O’Reilly’s biggest beef seemed to be that the networks “say this stuff, it didn’t happen, there’s no N-word sign, the guy was arrested . . . and the woman rightfully was ejected because she broke the rule . . . why would the guy go on and try to make it a race issue?”

Dr. Hill politely corrected O’Reilly, saying unequivocally, “Well, there is a race issue here . . . ripping down a Rosa Parks sign is an important point here and there’s a racial dimension to that . . . .”

“How do you know he knew who Rosa Parks was . . . ?” O’Reilly asked.

Hill shot back, “He didn’t need to know who Rosa Parks was . . . If Ronald Reagan was on that sign, do you think he would have ripped it down? . . . He wasn’t tearing down the sign because she violated the rules, there are a lot of rules in there . . . this was a racially motivated incident.”

“Why wasn’t it political? Maybe he doesn’t like her political stance,” O’Reilly argued. Oh, that’s probably it – everybody knows that Rosa Parks is the poster child for those who oppose healthcare reform.

“So CNN allows a guy to go on and say things that aren’t true, make it a race issue when he can’t back it up . . . it isn’t true. So I don’t know what CNN’s responsibility is– if it were me I would have corrected it the next day . . . .” O’Reilly said, an outrageous statement considering that even after he demonized abortion doctor George Tiller over and over, called him a “baby-killer,” and even after Dr. George Tiller was murdered, O’Reilly refused to admit that he had contributed in any way to an environment in which Tiller could be murdered by a right-wing fanatic. So, yeah, we all know how O’Reilly comes right out and corrects the record whenever he’s on the hot seat for being wrong.

“I think they should change the report that the N-word [was] unconfirmed . . . I’ve heard reports . . . .” Hill began.

“Heard is nothing!” O’Reilly cried. Uh, Bill, hate to interrupt – yeah, I know, I do that a lot – but this thing just now, that Dr. Hill “heard” that the “N-word” was used at the Missouri town hall rally -- and your response, “Heard is nothing.” I really hate to bring up unpleasant stuff, right in the middle of your white-male diatribe, but I am 100% positive, sure, without a shadow of a doubt, that I heard you say, was it last week – you remember, when you practically accused GE of selling components of roadside bombs to Iraq – that, “The Factor has been told, but cannot confirm, that the General Electric Corporation is under suspicion in the case.” Just so we’re on the same page – unconfirmed rumors on Fox are “news,” and unconfirmed reports elsewhere are “nothing?”

But I digress.

“Tim Wise,” Hill argued, “Was making a claim that this was, there’s a racial undertone to these events, and he’s right . . . I can give you a ton of examples, I was at one.”

“You believe it’s racial because most of the people opposing President Obama’s healthcare are white,” O’Reilly proposed.

“It would be naive and disingenuous to say that just because you disagree with a black person you’re racist,” Hill responded calmly. “ . . . The question is, what happens when they go there? . . . The tone, the type of language they use to describe Obama . . . when they talk about the 46 million uninsured, they say, ‘I don’t want those people taking my money.’”

O’Reilly made an apples and orange comparison between the far left demonizing and attacking George Bush and these town hall right-wingers tearing up Rosa Parks signs, a similarity Hill flatly denied.

“It’s the same . . . We don’t like Bush because Bush does this, we don’t like Obama because Obama does that,” O’Reilly posited. Yes, they don’t like Obama because he spends so much federal money and to prove that they hold up signs with swastikas and the President as the Joker, and bring guns to the town hall rallies, and to show our disapproval of Bush spending all his trillions and signing the Medicare prescription bill (socialism, anyone?) we, you know, wrote a letter to the editor.

Hill pointed out that, “. . . It wasn’t just Obama does this, it’s Obama is this . . . not one of us. Many of these people . . . . were also echoing the birther claims . . . .”

“The birther claim is just stupid, I don’t see it as racist . . . why would it be racist? They’re trying to say he’s not an American citizen, not qualified to hold the presidency . . . .” O’Reilly said dismissively. Hold on, gotta clean up the coffee I just spit onto the computer screen. Wait, it’s not . . . did he just say claiming our first black President isn’t American, and was born in some slum in Kenya or something isn’t racist?

Hill, clearly dumbfounded as well, rebutted, “. . . We’ve only had one black president in the history of America, he’s the only one whose authenticity as a natural citizen is being questioned?”

“Well, the authenticity of President Bush’s National Guard duty was questioned, is there a racial component there?” Oh, snap.

“But not his American-ness!” Hill said incredulously.

“I don’t see the race thing here . . . .” O’Reilly repeated. Well, Bill, maybe to you hundreds of white people at rallies with Obama Joker signs and swastikas have nothing to do with race – sure, they’re all just mad about what might happen to their prescription coverage.

“When I go to those events and they talk about ‘that guy,’ there’s no deference, there’s no reverence,” Hill claimed.

“They were saying, ‘that liar,’” O’Reilly argued, referring to Bush.

“Well, that was after he lied,” Hill said, “. . . If you say Obama’s a liar, I’d disagree with you but I’m okay with that . . . but when you start saying this guy’s not American, he’s not one of us . . . use the term socialist to try to smuggle in all this sort of white supremacist racist idealogy . . . .”

“You can call Bush a fascist, there’s no race there, but you call Obama a socialist, there’s a race there . . . I’m not buying it,” O’Reilly repeated, pushing his best don’t-confuse-me-with-facts-my-mind’s-made-up and I’ve-got-a-whole-network-full-of-white-folks-to-protect agendas.

“You’re trying to examine the text without a context,” Hill accused.

“. . . The debate has nothing to do with race. Now, are there racial cranks?” O’Reilly was willing to concede this small point.

“They tend to go to town hall meetings,” Hill shot back.

“I believe that 90% of the people at the Lebanon, PA meeting . . . are good folks with no racial animus. They had a political animus,” O’Reilly stubbornly insisted.

Hill pointed out that many of the older people, such as some of those at the Lebanon, Pennsylvania, town hall meeting he attended, were of a tradition that opposed civil rights.

“I’m not buying it at all,” O’Reilly concluded, as the music came up and washed away the blasphemous words of the black guy yelling about “racism.”