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O'Reilly Targets Louis Farrakhan Again, Calling Him "Nuclear" -- And Throws in Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Priest Michael Pfleger for Sport

Reported by Julie - March 4, 2010 -

It looks like there's another "Dr. George Tiller" crusade in O'Reilly's sights -- this time in the form of the one and only Fox nemesis Reverend Jeremiah Wright (who is, incidentally, highly educated and accomplished -- better educated, in fact, than O'Reilly himself and probably everyone else at Fox, something Fox rarely discusses while castigating Reverend Wright), Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan (another of Fox' frequent targets, as recently as Tuesday night on The Factor), and Chicago's well-known Catholic priest, Michael Pfleger. Their collective sin? Well, aside from the sin of being activists in poor communities for people of color, they're also the recipients of the "Living Legends Educating 365" award which will be presented this Friday night in Chicago, a ceremony which includes a reception and concert. Do the proceeds go for personal gain, like, for example, Sarah Palin's $100,000 to talk to a bunch of teabaggers? Nope -- the proceeds benefit the Trinity Child Care Centers, St. Sabina Academy and Kwame Nkrumah Academy. Are these guys blowing their own horns to get higher ratings or fame, like, say, O'Reilly routinely does? Nope -- the award is about showcasing three men who have literally taken to the streets to raise money, educate, and support institutions that have the ability to transform lives. On Tuesday night, O'Reilly struck out at Louis Farrakhan, and last night (3/3/10) in his Talking Points Memo, he did it again, this time in tandem with smears against Wright and Pfleger. Before we dismiss O'Reilly's crusades as harmless blathering . . . I assume these three men know what happened to Dr. George Tiller? With video.

O'Reilly and Fox sure love to hate black activists, or, for that matter, white activists who reach out to the black communities. O'Reilly kicked off his smear-fest by announcing incredulously that $100 will get you a VIP ticket to this event (but, as the screen grab below notes because O'Reilly didn't, you can also get a ticket for $40). Does anybody remember O'Reilly mocking the teabaggers for paying between $349 and $549 a ticket to hear Sarah Palin speak -- with the money going toward a for-profit entity, or O'Reilly criticizing Palin for being paid the exorbitant sum of $100,000 to speak? No -- in fact, on The O'Reilly Factor on February 16, 2010, O'Reilly told Palin, " . . . You have a family to support. Take the money."


"The spectacle is being driven by Reverend Wright," O'Reilly sneered, "And Wright is actually giving himself the Living Legends award, as well as the other two guys, there's no third party involved here . . . all the money people pay to see the dog and pony show will go to Wright's charities . . . Pfleger will get a bit of it and so will Haitian singer Wyclef Jean. Don't you just love this? Reverend Wright's honoring himself, Farrakhan and Pfleger and charging money for the exposition . . . ." Despite O'Reilly's efforts to make us envision these three devils in a back room after the event feverishly counting crumpled dollar bills into three piles and stuffing them in their pockets, the money they raise, as I previously noted, will benefit the Trinity Child Care Centers, St. Sabina Academy and Kwame Nkrumah Academy.

But O'Reilly left the best for last -- the "serious part of the story."

"Father Pfleger, the radical left Catholic priest," O'Reilly blazed, ". . . What in God's name is Pfleger doing on the same stage with Farrakhan, a race-baiting anti-semite? Why is the archdiocese of Chicago permitting that? . . . Archbishop Frances George . . . has no comment . . . This is a scandal - you can't have a Catholic priest, whose message should be peace on earth, good will to men, standing there with a hateful guy like Farrakhan. I mean, Wright is bad but Farrakhan is nuclear . . . ."

O'Reilly, for the second night in a row, rolled out the clip of Farrakhan. You can read my post from last night's Factor here.

O'Reilly again incredulously announced that the Archbishop of Chicago, Frances George, will not comment about "his own priest being honored with Farrakhan and Wright." Could it be that, at least in Chicago, the Catholic church actually approves of charitable giving and education, which is what this event is really about?

But you know, some things get lost in O'Reilly's anti-abortion or anti-progressive or anti-civil-rights-activist crusades -- like the truth. I'll take the risk of being accused of defending Reverend Wright because, say what you may about his rhetoric, Wright's church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, gives over $100,000 a year in scholarships to young people, many of whom have gone on to graduate from college and graduate programs. Wright supports mission work around the world, and Trinity gives more than $200,000 a year to the cause. Wright's church gave $100,000 in aid following Hurricane Katrina. Refresh me, O'Reilly: How much did you donate to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, out of your millions? Did a Google -- nothing turned up.

I'll also take the risk of being accused of defending Farrakhan because although he may also have fiery rhetoric and stands for things we all can't agree on, he has "spent decades teaching and transforming the lives of young African American men and women who were seeking direction." And "radical" priest Father Pfleger is two things Fox loves to deride: A liberal, and a civil rights advocate. As noted by Chicago Sun Times columnist Roger Ebert, this "radical" priest built senior housing "on land once occupied by bars, porno stores and hookers. Pfleger led campaigns against such stores, singling out merchants who sold alcohol or tobacco to minors, leading campaigns against billboards targeting teenagers, selling malt liquor and cigarettes. He was behind 20 Chicago billboards advising 'Stop Listening to Trash,' and attacking several rappers for their songs, often violent, that were disrespectful to women. He and the Rev. Jesse Jackson led demonstrations against gun-shop owners selling to inner-city youths.has worked tirelessly with gang members, teaching against gun violence and often taking to the streets with parishioners to protect the community’s youth."

All three of these men have literally taken to the streets to try to lead people out of them. They've both built and financially and emotionally supported institutions that help people -- including, of course, people of color. No wonder Fox hates them.

Although O'Reilly claimed that there is "no third party involved" in this awards ceremony, except Jeremiah Wright himself honoring Jeremiah Wright, I'm not so sure that's true. It appears that the event has at least a peripheral sponsorship of The Grace of God, NFP, which is in good standing with the State of Illinois, incorporated as a not-for-profit since 2003, with a real registered agent and everything. Although Jeri L. Wright is the President and CEO (and she appears to be the daughter of Reverend Wright), it doesn't seem much different to me than, say, Liz Cheney going on every talk show that will have her (Fox, Fox and more Fox) to promote her father and defend his legacy (of death and destruction, as it were).

O'Reilly wrapped it up by saying, "Talking Points has no problem with these three men speaking . . . they have First Amendment rights. . . but the whole deal is so bizarre we thought you should know about it. Living Legends indeed." A mournful shake of the head, and O'Reilly concluded his "fair and balanced" TPM on these men -- one of whom he referred to as "nuclear."

This event in Chicago is not big news, even in Chicago; the only possible reason O'Reilly could have to mention it is to gin up hatred and fear of three men he deems radical and dangerous -- the same way he viewed Dr. George Tiller. I guess we can look for Jessie Watters to show up in Chicago in the very near future to confront somebody, but Dorothy, we're not in Kansas any more. I'll sell tickets to that event -- they don't call it "the Chicago way" for nothin'.