Bill O’Reilly has never looked more bigoted than in his ugly and now uglier racial attacks on Congresswoman Barbara Lee. His maliciously grim determination to smear Lee as a “race hustler” says more about him than anything about her.
As I explained in a previous post, O’Reilly’s “race hustler” outrage stems from Rep. Lee’s objections to comments from Rep. Paul Ryan about the “real culture problem” in “our inner cities.” Ryan also cited white supremacist Charles Murray in the same remarks. Lee was not the only one objecting to Ryan’s remarks. But O’Reilly singled out her criticism – that Ryan’s comments were a “thinly-veiled racial attack” – as a reason to go on the racial warpath against her. Even though Ryan, himself, took no offense and even spoke warmly of Lee to O’Reilly.
The next day, Lee responded to O’Reilly’s attacks:
Unfortunately we’ve come to expect language like “welfare queens,” “food stamp president,” and now “race hustlers” from the right wing and Mr. O’Reilly. It is disgusting and divisive and should never be accepted in our national discourse.
For us to achieve the American dream for all, we must engage in this conversation that has been sparked about race and poverty, even if it is difficult for some. Racial discrimination, poverty, and income inequality remain issues that must be debated and addressed, and these kinds of ‘code words’ only get in the way of solving the real problems.
I can’t help but feel that O’Reilly’s agenda is to deliberately get in the way of solving those problems. You have to ask, why didn’t O’Reilly just let this drop? Even if Lee was exploiting race for political reasons, why is that such a big deal? Because white, rich people are so in danger of being eclipsed by African Americans who care about poverty and racial justice?
Rather than try for the kind of respectful dialogue he supposedly endorses, O'Reilly doubled down on his racial attacks on Lee. And the viciousness.
I called (Lee) a race hustler recently after she implied that Congressman Paul Ryan was prejudiced against blacks.
Actually, that’s not what she said. But O’Reilly was really getting going on his white-person-victimhood roll. He sneered sarcastically, “We all use phrases that denigrate African Americans. Do I have that right?” Then he went on to “prove” Lee deserves to be called a “race hustler.”
Let’s take a look at Ms. Lee’s history. In 2011, she accused the entire Republican party of trying to deny black Americans the right to vote. The entire party.
Suspiciously, O’Reilly did not provide Lee's quote. So I looked it up. Presumably, he was referring to her December 2011 statement in which she described Republican policies discriminating against African Americans, not calling Republicans racists per se. From the December 7, 2011, The Hill (which seems to have arrived at the same assessment):
On Wednesday, Lee charged that the ID laws would prevent 1 in 4 blacks from voting, and 1 in 5 Hispanics and Asian Americans. She also said the laws are a return to the voter suppression that was seen in the controversial 2000 presidential election.
“I came to this floor years ago, after the stolen presidential elections in Florida and Ohio, to protest the results of those two elections that were filled with voter suppression,” she said. “It worked for Republicans before, and so legislators in 42 states in this map of shame have doubled down on these strategies to make it harder for certain communities to vote.”
O’Reilly continued by citing other references of Lee’s “racial hustling” without providing quotes. He concluded:
And Ms. Lee claims she’s not a race hustler? How about “Pinhead,” Congresswoman. Do you like that better?
Now, this is a woman who is in the United States Congress, alright? Who is flat-out calling people with whom she disagrees “racist.” Whether they’re her colleagues, or me or the entire Bush administration or the entire Republican Party. And this woman has the gall, the nerve to get up there, alright? And then throw out terms like “welfare queen?” When has the Republican party ever used that term? When have I ever used that term? The answer is never. So not only is she a pinhead, a race hustler, she’s a liar. That’s who we have representing a California district. Barbara Lee.
Well, O’Reilly may not use the exact term “welfare queen” but his language clearly suggests it. Remember when he talked about minorities voting for Obama because they wanted free stuff? Or that it’s their own fault if people on food stamps don’t have enough to eat without them? I do.
Also, if you want to find someone who uses race as a hustle, you need look no further than O’Reilly. He’s the one who insisted on turning a national discussion about the George Zimmerman verdict, racial profiling and stand your ground laws into a whitesplaining harangue against African American culture; he’s the one who refused an invitation to go into an African American community to see the exact measures he was calling for being put into action; he’s the one who “discusses” President Obama’s initiative to help young black males succeed by briefly praising it and then quickly moving on to malign other aspects of black culture.
And, O’Reilly’s the one who regularly hosts Bernard McGuirk, fired from MSNBC for making racial jokes about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Last night, even though O’Reilly said he didn’t want either of his guests to comment about Lee, McGuirk, apparently, couldn’t resist. “You speak the harsh truth and some people can’t handle it,” he said.
In short, if you care about race hustling, the use of race as a weapon and a political tool is so common on Fox News, it seems to be an official policy.
By the way, there’s an online petition where you can Tell Bill O’Reilly: Apologize to Barbara Lee.
Btw, where is all the BOR, Ryan and FOX “news” outrage over all the “takers” in white, rural America? This is something that has irritated me to no end because, having grown up in rural America and still having family/friends there, I know they are not above taking the benefits that they are eligible to receive. For example, I know white people on government assistance who won’t take available jobs at meat processing plants because the jobs are “gross”. And I know healthy guys who won’t do landscaping, lawn mowing or house painting (yes, BOR, house painting!) because the Missouri summers are too hot/humid. Yet they don’t hesitate to take their welfare and food stamps (and disability if they can find a doctor willing to sign off on it). Why is it that Ryan, BOR and their ilk always manage to find a way to focus their ire and their “concern” trolling on the African-American folks in the inner cities?
Below is a link that speaks to some of the mistaken beliefs when it comes to poverty and those on government assistance.
This is a link to a 2 page column that takes on Ryan’s comments and the stealth-mode racism which so many right-wingers have ingrained into their politics. Like the column says, “Dog whistling is not rooted in fiery hatred but rather in cool calculation—it’s the strategic, carefully considered decision to win votes by stirring racial fears in society.”
Here’s an interesting ranking of the popularity of all cable news hosts:
Note that Bildo is #15….behind both Rachel Maddow and Tamron Hall.
No wonder he’s been a grouch lately!
It’s the end of the rope for this Irish Volcano at Fox “News.” Time to make his exit. He will be one less headache for the suits.
NOTE CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE
Let us tell you about the “culture” of Fox “News” Channel. Count the number of blonde females hired as on-air talent compared to a woman of color.
In their little bigoted minds the suits believe white, female blondes will draw higher viewership than a person of color. That’s racist.