Bill O’Reilly continued his attacks on African Americans – and pretending that it’s for their own good – by joining the Fox News war on Oprah Winfrey last night. Oh, he distanced himself from his colleagues by pretending to side with Oprah in saying she had the right to “express her feelings” about that now-infamous incident in Zurich, in which a sales clerk refused to show her a purse, that white Fox pundits have leapt to conclude Oprah misconstrued. Instead, O’Reilly suggested she was being irresponsible and, perhaps racially suspect (although he later denied that) in talking about what happened to her in the first place because the racial “grievance industry” will exploit it.
There’s so much wrong and hypocritical with O’Reilly’s attack that it’s hard to stop my head from spinning. But let’s start with his arrogant assumption, right at the beginning of his Talking Points Memo (the first video below), that Oprah had over-reacted to a situation he purported to know all about because, he announced, “every American” has been insulted in a store or restaurant. Then he lectured about how to deal with it:
…(A)nd when that happens… you walk out. Later, you can call up and complain to the owner. …But Oprah was heavily implying that the disrespect shown her was racist. The clerk involved denies that.
Talking Points believes her critics are misguided. That was Oprah’s experience and she has a perfect right to express her feelings about it.
But after saying Winfrey had a “perfect right” to express her feelings, he moved on to whitesplain as to how she should have handled the situation:
Here’s the most important part of the story: Oprah Winfrey and everybody else should ignore those troglodytes unless the situation is serious. A foolish insult is not. The truth is, you’re not going to change the minds of the ignorant and it’s not worth the effort in any case. …To internalize this stuff is destructive to a human being.
But what he really meant is that it’s destructive to his view of how African Americans should behave:
As we’ve been reporting, there’s a huge grievance industry in America that peddles victimization all day long. What good does that do? Oprah Winfrey is perhaps the best example of a talented person who made it on her own in America. She’s now one of the most powerful human beings on the planet and her color certainly did not hold her back from achieving that. So if some idiot shop clerk insults Ms. Winfrey, that’s wrong, but no big deal. Oprah can get on a private jet and fly anywhere she wants to buy anything she wants. …Summing up, the victimhood card is useless to Oprah and to everybody else.
Well, except to O’Reilly and his colleagues at Fox News. Because, as Jon Stewart has masterfully demonstrated, Fox News is nothing if not a huge victimization industry of its own. And before O’Reilly lectures anyone else about turning another cheek, he really should explain why he had his producer stalk and ambush a blogger after she merely questioned his suitability as a speaker at a fundraiser for rape victims.
Nevertheless, O’Reilly continued:
There is racism in the world, it’s not going away, and if you can change it, try, but most of the time ignore it and don’t let it dampen your life.
Next, O’Reilly brought on cable news laughingstock Lauren Green and Arthel Neville to debate. Green (an African American) immediately told O’Reilly, “I don’t think you’re going wrong.” However, she argued that “people need to know” that what happened to Oprah happens “all the time.” She related an anecdote where something similar happened to her in Saks Fifth Avenue.
“Why do people need to know that?” O’Reilly asked skeptically.
Green said it’s because racism is “not in your face,” like calling someone the n-word. “It’s usually something a little more subtle like that,” she said.
But, Green continued, backing up O’Reilly’s contention, “You have two choices when you go into experiences like that. You can either make the situation worse or you can defuse it.” It was pretty clear which choice she was suggesting Oprah had made.
Neville (also African American) was much more challenging. She argued that Oprah was neither supporting nor promoting “the grievance industry,” but was saying, “The elephant is in the room, we can’t ignore it.” Neville added, “She certainly wasn’t trying to put a bigger wedge in the racial-divide pie, if you will. She just said, ‘Look, if it happens to me, it could happen to everybody.’”
Not good enough for racial arbiter O’Reilly! Because what Winfrey said COULD be used to promote racism.
After arguing that he said “quite clearly” that there was “nothing wrong” with voicing her experience, O’Reilly then pretty much argued that there was.
However, this stuff does feed the victimization industry, the grievance industry. It feeds it.
You mean like your ambush producer (also the Fox Nation editor) feeds the racism industry?
And it gives people a reason to fail. …It absolutely does. …I disagree with both of you if you don’t think that this is going to be used by the grievance industry and the racial hustlers to say, ‘See, even Oprah Winfrey. See, they’re all against us. See.’ …And then …you turn it around and you say ‘Oprah Winfrey is the most successful woman in the United States and she’s black.’ So it doesn’t add up.
…The grievance industry peddles a victimization theme that allows people to say, ‘Oh, I can’t succeed because I’m black.’ (a photo of Al Sharpton came on the screen in case you didn’t get the message). They do it all the time and you know it.
So if Oprah did nothing wrong, what was O’Reilly’s point? That because she’s black she needs to make a pre-emptive strike against how other black people might interpret her remarks? O’Reilly might think he’s looking out for the folks with such nonsense but to the rest of us, it looks a lot like racial profiling and citing Oprah for talking while black.
Yeah, in typical BOR fashion, he attempted to be the bigger man by so, ahem, graciously noting that Oprah has the right to state her feelings about what she has experienced. Gee, BOR, thanks for that bit of patronizing pablum. But his real message came through loud and clear – that he’d really rather Oprah and others take his so-called advice and just shut their yaps about racism. Ignore racism unless it becomes a more serious situation? Wow, that’s rather easy advice for someone to pass out when they don’t have to deal with racism directed at them. Clearly BOR does not get it nor does he understand the damage that even subtle and/or dog-whistle racism does to our country and its people (whether it’s through the political discourse, while shopping at a department store or trying to get a bank loan, etc.).
Of course, his attitude doesn’t surprise me as he and many in the conservative media often go into the stealth racism mode in order to make their political/cultural points about certain other (typically darker skinned) Americans who they deem as the lesser among us – the lazy, the whiners, the violent, the takers, etc. BOR can talk about the honor of pulling one’s self up through hard work and downplay the subtle racism stuff all he wants. But the fact of the matter is that having that kind of racism discussed by influencing figures like Oprah and the so-called “liberal” media makes him very uncomfortable. He knows damn well that subtle racism is an effective means to reinforce the right’s political/cultural agenda and that he himself has used it as a part of his own rhetoric.
At least Arthel gave some push back against his victimization rant and Lauren pointed out the BOR was one of the privileged pale penis people at the top of the food chain who isn’t subjected to racism. BOR clumsily tried to deflect away from her point with the general claim that he’s been insulted before (obviosly not wanting to admit that her point had validity). Clearly BOR can’t be bothered to discuss actual racist attitudes (whether subtle or overt) because he’s far too busy redirecting the folks’ attention (look over here!) by deliberately choosing to focus on the “victimization industry”.
That was awesome!
Now he launches a jihad against Oprah. We suspect Billy is jealous of Oprah’s success. She earns far more money than this tired old bog. Oprah works for herself while Billy works for Nixon trainee Ailes and Ruthless Rupy.
The Fox “News” frauds pick and choose their victims. They will not go after certain people who have knowledge of their inside “activities.” They will stay clear of those people.
If we were in Oprah’s shoes, we would bring up Billy’s little battle with his ex-wife and Andrea. You need to embarrass him in front of his audience.
The same goes for Hannocchio the RINO. Bring up his dirty little secrets and watch how fast he clams up.
Wretchen Gretchen’s past affair with a married man at another television station would zip her lips.
That’s how you deal with these foolish bogs. Bring up their secrets and watch them squirm in their chairs.
Isn’t that mostly and entirely the province of Fox News??
I think that this ‘strategy’ by Fox just may be a mistake. Oprah’s popularity goes way beyond being popular with brown people. I know several fervent ‘Baggers who revere Oprah, and watch her network religiously.
In any case, Fox’s desperation is starting to be a bit irritating. Why can’t these scumbags just crawl quietly back under the rocks that GWB enabled them to ooze from under? What fucking scum these creatures are!