Bill O’Reilly seems bent on bludgeoning his viewers with the story of an unprovoked assault by black teens on two white reporters in Norfolk, Virginia. He used the story on Wednesday to hammer the liberal media, and then on Thursday he brandished it at the Justice Department and Attorney General Holder as well. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t get a lot of support from his guest – in fact, he got the discussion pulled right out from under him.
O’Reilly started out by using his Talking Points Memo to blast Denis Finley, editor of the Virginia Pilot where the victims work, because the paper didn’t report the crime for two weeks. Finley says that’s because the paper doesn’t generally cover simple assaults. “The Factor” does not believe Mr. Finley…. We believe Finley avoided covering the story because of its racial component. The paper simply tried to cover it up.
“Now consider what would have happened if a mob of white men descended on a car and beat up a black man and a black woman. I don't have to say anymore. You know what would happen. So why is this case any different? Why isn't it getting national coverage? Why isn't the Justice Department on the scene with a federal presence?...“The Justice Department has so far ignored our request for comments but Attorney General Holder has a responsibility to look into the situation and we will hold Holder to that.”
Then, O’Reilly brought in anti-poverty activist Tavis Smiley, co-author (with Cornel West) of The Rich and the Rest of Us: a Poverty Manifesto. On previous occasions O’Reilly has held out slimy, squirming bait to Smiley and partner West but they refused to snap at it. Smiley didn’t snap at O’Reilly’s bait this time either (Sorry, gentle reader, but the hyperlink doesn't appear to be working. Try http://video.foxnews.com/v/1620263928001/tavis-smiley-battles-oreilly-on-media-and-race.) He acknowledged that there were a number of similiarities to the Trayvon Martin case including that the police acted incompetently and the mainstream media took a long time to get onto the story. But there were differences, too, though. For one, Trayvon Martin was a child; and for another, he was not just beaten but killed.
A “spirited discussion,” as the euphemists call it, ensued thereupon. ”Is there a difference between a white mob setting upon minorities … and a minority setting on white people? Or is it the same?” asked O’Reilly. It would be a case by case situation, Smiley replied.
O’Reilly: If two black citizens stopped at a light on their way back from a play, and thirty white guys surrounded them and dragged them out, you know the Virginia Pilot’s gonna cover it.”
Smiley: I can’t speak for the paper.
O’Reilly: Oh but you know they would.
Smiley: I don’t know that.
O’Reilly pressed and pressed but Smiley wouldn’t budge.
Then, abruptly, O’Reillly took a different tack. “This crime happened in front of a housing project where poor people live. So, are poor people angry? Do they feel entitled to lash out in a violent way?” After that, Smiley was off and running, eloquently. "There has always been a link between poverty and crime … our very democracy is threatened by poverty. We argue in this book that poverty is a matter of national security… That’s [not a racial issue but] a societal crime, Bill, we’re getting dangerously close to cementing a permanent American catastrophe. And when people feel put-upon because they don’t have opportunities to express their dignity by doing work – that’s not a black or brown thing, that’s an American problem."
After this, O’Reilly gave up on the race-crime angle, and merely asked Smiley what he thought caused this situation. A lack of opportunity, Smiley replied, and corporate greed, and political indifference “politicians – on the left and the right – not making poverty a priority.”
O’Reilly closed the discussion after that. The story came up again last night, with Laura Ingraham in the chair, but the bite was gone; Friday’s section focused less on the race angle and more on the dangerous neighborhood where the crime took place, and on the police’s refusal to cooperate with Fox News. (Maybe this story will die a natural death, gentle reader, and we won’t see them trying to hold Holder to account after all. At least not on this one.)
People get jumped and beat up by other people everywhere every day. Not news.
Now in this interview I’m gonna tellya what I wanna hear from you, essentially echoing my Hate Points, so play along … OR ELSE!!!