O'Reilly Comes Out Strongly Against Racism . . . When, That Is, It's a Black Man Accusing Whites of Being Racist
Reported by Julie - March 2, 2010 -
Well, it's about time that Fox News takes an interest in racism, castigates racism, criticizes those who would spew racial invective. Maybe, given Bill O'Reilly's disgust on last night's Factor/Personal Story Segment (3/2/10) with racism, this means the end of coveted racist guests like John Gibson, Michelle Malkin, Tammy Bruce, and Andy Martin on Fox. Rejoice! O'Reilly has seen the light . . . . wait a minute. The only one he's condemning as a racist is . . . a black guy. With video.
On last night's O'Reilly Factor (3/2/10) with civil rights attorney Leo Terrell, O'Reilly didn't much like what Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan had to say at a recent speech in Chicago, specifically that "the white right is trying to set up Barack to be assassinated . . . there are Christians praying for God to kill Barack Obama." Saying that "racism comes in all colors but it's usually not fair . . . often a cheap accusation leveled by guttersnipes," O'Reilly nonetheless made an exception in the case of Farrakhan, saying the "r-word and the description anti-semite do apply." (What I'm amazed at is that O'Reilly only quoted the "racist" comments Farrakhan made. He could have really made some hay over Farrakhan's claim that "he was abducted by a wheel-shaped UFO in 1985 and was given the ability to see into the future.") But I digress. Roll the clip, go.
Shaking his head in disgust, O'Reilly introduced Terrell and asked him for his insight into Farrakhan's followers.
Terrell did a strong push-back, saying, ". . . The key here is that those African Americans can separate the message from the messenger. I can assure you that any African Americans in this country over the age of 40 can personally attest to some form of discrimination or racism in their past . . . they can relate to the possibility of what Farrakhan is saying about this hatred toward Obama simply because of his race . . . it resonates well with anyone over the age of 40 that happens to be black in this country."
Asking Terrell whether there was hatred directed at George W. Bush -- in an attempt to dilute the racial enmity against the President -- O'Reilly claimed, ". . . It seems to go with the territory . . . if you're the president and you make very hard decisions, like the deficit, you're gonna get it and you're gonna be treated unfairly by a segment of our population . . . what is the difference between the criticism of a Bush or a Clinton and the criticism of Obama from Louis Farrakhan's point of view?"
Although O'Reilly was hard at work to push the notion that any assassination attempt on President Obama would have nothing to do with race, Terrell accurately pointed out that President Obama is "unique" as the first black President, and vehemently told O'Reilly that "we cannot ignore the history of racism against African Americans . . . ."
O'Reilly acknowledged that there's been racism in this country, but nevertheless didn't let that pesky fact interfere with his mission: "Farrakhan is trying to stir up racial hatred, would you agree?" Offering to do a poll on Fox News to prove his point (what a guy -- may as well ask the Aryan Nation to do a poll), O'Reilly claimed that most African Americans think Farrakhan is "despicable."
"When you hear a guy like Farrakhan say to 20,000 people, whites want Obama dead . . . you, Leo Terrell . . . I don't want a history lesson, I want to know how you react to that sentence," O'Reilly challenged Terrell.
Again, Terrell pushed back against O'Reilly, saying, "I get scared for the President, I get scared that what Farrakhan said is not outside the realm of possibility."
Determined to paint Farrakhan with a racist brush without acknowledging the possible truth of what he said and the rampant racist attacks leveled against President Obama (one needs only to visit Fox Nation for a demonstration), O'Reilly attempted to dilute the strength of Farrakhan's statement by pointing out that "two white guys," John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, were also assassinated (seems like a good time to point out that neither of those two were assassinated because they were white guys).
"Bill, you want me to look at Obama as a color-blind president . . . Jackie Robinson, there was a far of him being assassinated . . . ," Terrell protested.
"I have to have bodyguards; there's a fear of me being assassinated," O'Reilly said dismissively. ". . . I'm trying to tell you that a guy like Farrakhan is whipping up racial hatred and I don't understand why one person goes in to hear that."
"The motivation why somebody might want to hurt Bill O'Reilly versus the motivation why somebody might want to hurt Barack Obama would be different, Bill," Terrell persisted.
"Why would 20,000 African Americans show up to hear this hatred . . . .?" O'Reilly asked petulantly.
"Because those African Americans who sat there and listened to Farrakhan have personal experience, knowledge of, hatred . . . you cannot ignore it," Terrell concluded.
"Ahhh . . . everybody's got to make up their mind to be responsible citizens . . . but to listen to a hater like this, that's how Hitler got it, you know, the Jews did this, the Jews did that . . . it's wrong then, it's wrong now," O'Reilly said, getting the last word.
And while I'm not all in on the U-shaped UFO, I definitely agree with Farrakhan's assessment of the white right's attempts to gin up racial hatred toward the President . . . starting, of course, with the teabaggers.
Although in a February 2010 Talking Points Memo O'Reilly did refer to a small faction (10%) of the teabaggers as "nuts" and "crazy," and while he did make idle mention of people who might "traffic in racism," the gist of O'Reilly's February TPM was not to strongly decry the racist aspect of the teabagging movement -- in the way in which he derided Farrakhan -- but to lament that "a movement with the potential power of the Tea Party would be attacked by the left-wing media . . . ., " to say that he "always admired sincere Americans who get involved in trying to improve their country, and that is what most Tea Party people do . . . They are regular folks who are fed up," and to warn the teabaggers not to indulge their natural racist and extremist tendencies.
As News Hounds' Priscilla reported yesterday, Fox has gone above and beyond the role of reporting in order to promote the tea parties. (Incidentally, has anyone seen any coverage on the new, grassroots Coffee Party Movement? Didn't think so.) As reported by True Slant, the recent Tea Party Convention in Nashville kicked off with a ragingly racist speech by Tom Tancredo, who "announced that the president had won his office because 'we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country.'" He ramped it up further, saying, "People who could not spell the word vote or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House — name is Barack Hussein Obama." In fact, as I previously reported, on the February 18, 2010, O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly interviewed teabagger elite and the Nasvhille TPM convention's keynote speaker, Sarah Palin. In that interview, O'Reilly stated, "Okay, but I heard Tom Tancredo, former Congressman from Colorado, you know, leveled some pretty tough charges on illegal immigration . . . I didn't think it was racist, but I thought it went right up to the line." Illegal immigration, Bill, really? O'Reilly, in the interview with Palin, talked about Nazi stuff and militia stuff and "extremist" stuff -- but not once did he say that anyone at the Tea Party Convention, including uber-racist Tancredo (who's been on The Factor, as well as Fox & Friends and Hannity & Colmes) was, what were his words about Farrakhan, "trying to stir up racial hatred." And with all of O'Reilly's love of rolling clips, not once during that segment did he run one of Tancredo spewing his racial invectives.
There's plenty of racism to go around on Fox, and of course within the Tea Party Movement that Fox SO loves to promote. Isn't it interesting that the few times we see any tolerance at all on Fox, it's to tolerate racism and extreme right-wing prejudices; and just about the only time we see Fox in any form strongly decrying racism, it coincidentally chooses as its target an African American?
Correction: To our knowledge, Hal Turner, originally named as one of the racists who has been a guest on Fox News, has never been a guest there. Turner was a frequent caller to Sean Hannity's radio show several years ago.