Bill O’Reilly’s shocking comments about African Americans being “ill-educated” and having “tattoos on their foreheads” prompted some strong pushback from Tavis Smiley: “This is a quintessential example of the mainstream media – certainly Fox News — coddling one Donald Trump with these kinds of racist remarks.”
Smiley appeared on MSNBC last night to discuss O’Reilly’s “tattoo” remarks which had been made to Donald Trump the night before. O’Reilly had opened the topic about “the minorities” by noting that he had previously defended Trump’s racial record to Smiley in a prior show.
“Any discussion between two, old, white guys that begins with, ‘Now the minorities, let’s talk about the minorities’ is not going to go well,” O’Donnell commented dryly.
“Donald Trump is a racial arsonist,” Smiley said, reiterating his original comments to O’Reilly. “Even more sadly, Bill O’Reilly is a race-baiter. This is a quintessential example of the mainstream media – certainly Fox News — coddling one Donald Trump with these kinds of racist remarks.”
“You almost feel sorry for them when you see that kind of white-supremacist language on display,” Smiley continued. “I just pushed them both higher up on my prayer list, because it’s just sickening and sad to see that they do not have the respect — they don’t revel in the humanity and the dignity of all fellow citizens, and particularly African-Americans.”
“I’ve never seen a party launched that is imploding and self-sabotaging the way they are. It’s Shakespearean, it’s Orwellian and it’s certainly anti-American,” Smiley added.
Smiley also ripped O’Reilly for suggesting that poverty is “somehow color-coded and not an American catastrophe” when it “is now threatening our very democracy. It’s now a matter of national security.”
Smiley also underscored how out of touch those two, old, white guys are with African Americans. “It’s sick when you see this and they don’t understand why you see a movement like Black Lives Matter come to the fore – because the respect and the dignity and the humanity of black life just doesn’t exist,” he said. “And that’s why Donald Trump is not getting traction with people of color and Bernie Sanders’ message is getting through,” Smiley said.
O’Donnell noted that resumés indicating they are from African Americans get less favorable attention than those from whites. The problem, he said, is not how to get jobs for unqualified people but for those who are. “Tattoos on the forehead do not explain one percent of the black unemployment rate. Bill O’Reilly, that’s all the explanation he needs,” O’Donnell said.
“All of us have been hit hard in this job market,” Smiley told O'Donnell. But “If you don’t say to black folk and to brown folk that your votes matter, and here’s an agenda that’s in your best interest, as opposed to an agenda that’s antithetical to your best interest, then how do you ever get those votes?”
Watch it below, from the April 12 Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.