Bill O’Reilly waded into Megyn Kelly’s “Santa was white” and “Jesus was white” controversy tonight. He insisted that Santa was, in fact, white and that people of color should just disregard his color and “enjoy the moment.” Even after African American Juan Williams explained why it matters. But the good news? Both Williams and Mary Katharine Ham, each a Fox News contributor, publicly criticized Kelly’s remarks as unkind and hurtful.
It’s more than a tad ironic that O’Reilly should be telling people of color to get over Santa's ethnicity and just enjoy Christmas when it seems to be O’Reilly’s (and Fox’s) favorite holiday tradition to collect every grudge possible over other people’s observances – and then attack them as enemies of Christmas if they don’t comport.
So I found myself wondering if O’Reilly really believed what he was saying or was just looking at another opportunity to use Christmas as a weapon against his political foes, in this case, “those who despise the Fox News Channel.” Or was O’Reilly just jealous of all the attention Kelly was getting and looking for a way to horn in? I report, you decide.
In any event, O’Reilly made the Kelly controversy the top story of The O’Reilly Factor as well as the subject of his Talking Points commentary that began the show.
Ironically, O’Reilly called his Talking Points tonight, “The True Spirit of Santa Claus.” He said:
The historical truth is that St. Nicholas, the prototype of Santa, was white.
So, O’Reilly asked. “Why the bother” over Kelly’s comments? He continued:
Two reasons: one, because any talk of skin color brings out the zealots. And two, because any controversy attached to the Fox News Channel will be seized upon by the media.
Ms. Kelly is correct. Santa was a white person. Does that matter? No. It doesn’t matter. The spirit of Santa transcends all racial boundaries. It’s a spirit based on generosity, kindness to children and magical moments. But for those who despise the Fox News Channel, there’s nothing magical about anything we do here.
…Because they cannot defeat us on the media battlefield, the far left seeks to demonize Fox News as a right-wing propaganda machine and a racist enterprise.
That’s why Ms. Megyn got headlines about a Santa Claus remark that was totally harmless.
Unfortunately for O’Reilly, neither of his guests quite saw it that way. Williams said about Kelly’s comments, “Mistakes were made.” He said that Santa was a “dark-skinned man” and that Jesus was “more likely” Arab or Asian than white. He said Kelly’s insistence otherwise was “not generous in spirit.” Williams even rolled his eyes when O’Reilly claimed that a white Santa is historical fact.
Ham, the conservative guest, also criticized Kelly. She said, “Part of what Megyn said didn’t come off as kind as she wanted it to.”
Williams tried to explain to O’Reilly why it does matter what color Santa is. Williams said, “I wrote a book about black religion in America and I gotta tell you something. The split between blacks and whites over representations – not only of Jesus but all this imagery – it’s very real and it makes black people, living in a white majority society, have questions.”
But O’Reilly wasn’t interested. He interrupted and, in a scornful tone, asked, “Juan, can we talk about you for just a second? …When little Juan was taken to the department store… and you saw this white Santa sitting there, did you fall apart, Juan? Were you an emotional mess? (Williams indicated he was not.) You just joined in with all the other kids of all colors and persuasions and enjoyed the moment, correct?”
Williams explained that he was a poor kid who never had that opportunity. But he added, “I saw the representations, all the ads and all the rest and I just think we’re a changed country. There are more kids of more colors. …We just need something that speaks to the spirit of Santa and the spirit of giving and charity."
O’Reilly was still scornful. He sneered, “I think Santa speaks for the spirit of Santa. The Santa we have now? I think it’s fine.”
Williams went on to criticize Kelly’s allegation that Jesus was white. “That’s like superimposing race and, I think, playing to racial antagonisms in our society. We just don’t need it,” Williams said.
At that, even O’Reilly had to agree. He said, “Well, alright. I mean, I think you’re right about that. I don’t think we need to define Jesus in any color. He was a man of Judea, a man of the time, and he was Jewish and that’s what we know. But I just think this thing – I don’t think Megyn Kelly meant any harm. I think it was seized upon by our enemies to try to make us look like a racist enterprise. I think that’s despicable and I think that is the lead on this story."
So sayeth the guy who still won't admit that this comment (among others) about a restaurant in Harlem revealed a deep-seated bigotry: "I couldn’t get over the fact… there wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea.’”
So, Bill, I hate to tell you this, but nobody needs to try to make you or Fox News look like a racist enterprise; you guys do that all on your own. In fact, Media Matters just put together a little mashup video that illustrates that point very nicely. It's the second video below.
And yes, it is a double or triple down on the nonsense.
Best reaction I’ve seen has been Jon Stewart, noting Kelly’s non-apology and her insistence that her original comments were just a joke. And then he runs her clip again where you can plainly see she’s NOT joking. She was quite serious, and actually sounded defensive and angry. Not as angry as she is now about it, but still angry.
Keep watching to help the ratings.
Same bats in the belfry time.
Same bats in the belfry channel.
Cat Stevens (AKA Yusef Islam) was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Right wing freak out in one, two, three…..
Some conservatives are mocking this broad, and one called her a “bleached blonde bimbo.”
NOTE TO KELLY
You are dumb. Period.
The historical truth is that the modern figure of Santa Claus is derived from the mythical Dutch figure of Sinterklass.
(headdesk) (sigh) Why do rightwingnuts persist in assigning a racial identity to a fictional character? Why, why . . . never mind: I keep forgetting we’re talking about the same people who thought Jack Bauer was a real person — smh . . .
While one could say the “browning” is due merely to age, the image features a pretty “tanned” individual (who’s a few shades darker than I am—and I don’t exactly do much sunbathing, even in the height of summer). Plus, the image is a RUSSIAN icon from the 15th or 16th century but there’s another image of the Saint—also Russian, but this one from the early 18th Century: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Saint_Nicholas.jpg
and this image is slightly browner than the first image.
Again, these were done by RUSSIANS who didn’t have a lot of “black” people running around the country.
But the idea that the historic St Nicholas was a “white” guy—at least in the sense of the images we see of Santa Claus—is preposterous. At BEST, he’s “white” in the same way that modern Greeks and Turks are white (that is to say, somewhat olive-complected).