I posted last night about Bill O’Reilly’s tirade against African Americans which he cloaked under a very thin veneer of concern about the welfare of the black community. While O’Reilly posited his unsubstantiated, off-the-top-of-his-head “solutions” for poverty, crime, drugs and the other plagues of the ghetto, the underlying message of his Talking Points commentary last night was really, “Why I dislike and distrust African American concerns and why you should, too.” But somehow, Fox News’ African American contributor Juan Williams – a sometimes intelligent guest in opposition to race baiting on Fox – missed the deliberate hostility and ugliness spewing from O’Reilly and embraced it as an overdue voice of reason.
Of course, O’Reilly had a point that teen pregnancies, drugs and single-parent families are big problems in poor communities. I’ll even grant that he may be right that African American leaders don’t stress these things enough. Since I’m so busy watching (lily-white) Fox News, I’m more familiar with antipathetic, O’Reilly-like interpretations of what African American leaders say, rather than the actual words of the leaders, themselves. But does O’Reilly really think that pontificating about what African Americans should be thinking and feeling, while rancorously maligning their integrity, sends any kind of constructive message? Or was he merely pandering to the racial resentments of his audience?
Apparently, to Juan Williams, the answer was the former. He somehow missed, or maybe even appreciated, O’Reilly’s acrimony and vitriol.
He agreed loudly when O’Reilly said, “I believe many of these civil rights activists don’t, don’t want to solve many of these complicated African American problems.” Williams replied, “In fact, when you look at the record, what have they done? They turn away from these issues.”
But the truth is, O’Reilly did, too. Other than wagging an accusing finger at the black community for not thinking and doing as he thinks they should, O’Reilly offered up nothing in the way of evidence that he’s right. He pointed to no programs that have been proven effective in combatting drug use, held up no measures black communities may have already adopted to combat violence (such as The Interruptors, e.g.) for other communities to emulate and no constructive solutions for avoiding teen pregnancy beyond demanding that President Obama and other black leaders produce a public service announcement.
Still, Williams gushed about O’Reilly’s Talking Points, “That’s bold and fresh! That was you with passion. I haven’t seen that kind of passion from you in a long time. I am just impressed! I thought it was terrific.”
Williams did acknowledge that it would be “a problem” if O’Reilly was saying people should not be paying too much attention to the Zimmerman verdict. But not Williams.
But I’m gonna tell you. I wrote a book about this, Bill. …The phony movements, dead-end culture that is hurting black America, leading to dysfunction. And I can’t tell you how much what you said is on target.
…Believe me, black people – from Jesse Jackson down have said that when they see black kids on the street it makes ‘em nervous. Why? It’s not racism, it’s because of just the numbers you talked about, the high incidents of involvement as either convicted or victims of violent crime. But again, the point here is why don’t (black leaders) say to people, these are steps you can take to help yourself, to build your community, to strengthen your family instead of constantly going backwards?
And why isn’t Williams out there saying this to black audiences instead of on Fox where he’s preaching to the O’Reilly Factor choir about what other people should do? And why didn’t he object to O’Reilly further fanning the flames of divisiveness by answering, “Because it’s bad for business, Juan. If they say that, it’s bad for the grievance industry.”
To her credit, it was white, conservative Mary Katharine Ham who injected a note of dissent. But she was quickly shot down by O’Reilly when she pointed out that President Obama has addressed some of the issues O’Reilly raised. “Not in an effective way,” O’Reilly interrupted. “He’s only addressed it in an off-hand way. Where’s his public service announcement? Where is the federal government taking the beaucoup money they have and making these announcements?” Not surprisingly, O’Reilly quickly moved the discussion back to denigrating African Americans: “What about my charge that you can’t have an honest conversation because the race hustlers will brand you a bigot?”
O’Reilly’s “honest conversation” is a very clever spin on what was really nothing short of maliciousness toward African Americans. His message amounted to this: 1. African Americans should be blaming themselves, not George Zimmerman or "stand your ground" laws; 2. African Americans are unwilling and/or unable to face the truth about themselves the way (white, privileged) O’Reilly does; and 3. Therefore, there’s absolutely no reason for O’Reilly or his viewers to feel any sympathy for African American grief over the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the George Zimmerman verdict. Plus, President Obama is also to blame for not telling it like O’Reilly tells it.
By calling that an “honest conversation,” O’Reilly has not just whitewashed his venom but self-righteously pre-positioned himself for any criticism that ensued.
And as if to prove my point, O’Reilly rudely smacked down Juan Williams’ objections when, at about 5:30 in the discussion, O’Reilly said, “The justice system worked” with regard to the Zimmerman acquittal. O’Reilly attacked:
Oh, stop it, Juan. …Don’t give me any of that crap. You know it was a fair verdict. …You don’t like the justice system, then redesign it… Knock it off!
“Honest conversation?” I report, you decide.
O’Reilly’s Talking Points from last night is underneath the video for this segment. You can read my full commentary about the Talking Points here.
Mike, if the same civil rights act were introduced today, what do you think the results would be?
Also do you believe that today’s Klan voted for President Obama? You’re correct with your history, but you’re ignoring the present day reality.
Send Billy’s tyrant against African Americans to Reince. That’s how you deal with these worthless bogs.
NOTE TO BILLY
You should be concerned about a certain talker on radio slamming you daily.
So, wait. I thought that, in the right-wing world, government was ineffective and couldn’t solve problems. But it seems that O’Reilly is here PRESSING for more money to be spent on the very types of programs that his fellow CONservatives have spent decades trying to defund.
Why would anyone want to consistently parade its ignorance?? What a loser!
Its easy to rant about other’s behavior, Bill, but it accomplishes a big load of nothing.