Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fox New Commentator Bill O'Reilly Spews Bigotry and Should be Fired

Don Imus was fired after his remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team. His comments were bigoted and ignorant; he hurt feelings, but didn't propose violence against another, unlike Bill O'Reilly’s comments about Michelle Obama.

On February 19, 2008 in response to a caller identified as Maryanne, Woodbury, Connecticut, O’Reilly mentioned lynching. Although Maryanne obviously had issues with Obama's statement, it was O'Reilly who brought up the concept of violence.

O'REILLY: Maryanne, Woodbury, Connecticut: What say you, Maryanne? Maryanne --

CALLER: I'm here.

O'REILLY: -- you're on the air.

CALLER: Here I am.


CALLER: I just wanted to say that I think Michelle Obama is an angry woman -- is speaking, I think, with her real voice for the first time. And --

O'REILLY: But how do you -- what do you base that on? You're basing that on what?

CALLER: Well, your representative asked me not to talk about this, but I have a friend who had knowledge of her and said to me months ago, "This is a very angry," her word was "militant woman."

O'REILLY: All right. What I want you do then, Maryanne, if -- I want you to stay on the line.


O'REILLY: Because it's not fair to Michelle Obama for you --

CALLER: Oh no, all I'm saying is --

O'REILLY: -- because we don't know who you are, and we don't know who your friend is, but we want to know. We want to know, OK. But it's not fair at this point for you to say, "My friend said X and Y," because we just don't know. But if you would give us your information, we would like to talk to your friend. And then whatever your friend tells us, we'll track it down. We'll do it in a fair and balanced and methodical way. That's how we're going to cover this campaign -- all of them, all of them. So stay on the line, give us your information. If indeed Michelle Obama is angry about something, if she has a history, we would like to know that, and then we can put it into some kind of context so that we can be fair to everybody.

You know, I have a lot of sympathy for Michelle Obama, for Bill Clinton, for all of these people. Bill Clinton, I have sympathy for him, because they're thrown into a hopper where everybody is waiting for them to make a mistake, so that they can just go and bludgeon them. And, you know, Bill Clinton and I don't agree on a lot of things, and I think I've made that clear over the years, but he's trying to stick up for his wife, and every time the guy turns around, there's another demagogue or another ideologue in his face trying to humiliate him because they're rooting for Obama.

That's wrong. And I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit. We'll track it down.
1-877-9-NO-SPIN. Right back.

For those who not only understand history, but who have faced bigotry, Obama’s statement is easy to comprehend. Those who that came into adulthood after the 1960's understand the political and social the disillusionment. The early to mid 1960’s were filled with optimism, hope and change. The Civil Rights movement not only helped minorities start to gain equality, but also the younger generation were actively involved in political and social reform. They were out to change the world by ending the war, protecting the environment and creating equality. People marched the streets for peace and equality. Violence was isolated and was only used in response to the harassment by law enforcement.

All that started to end on April 4, 1968 with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. which was followed by Robert Kennedy’s execution on May 4 of the same year. These two heroes were slain for the positive changes they were attempting to create; they represented the civil rights, peace and equality on all levels. They were more than just symbols of hope, but they also were representative of the younger generations. Their deaths along with the continued bigotry and persecution turned that hope into the disillusionment and violence. The more the “establishment” attempted force the old standards and to stifle civil liberties, the more unrest and violence spread. From the Weatherman and the Chicago 8 to middle Americans being assaulted in the streets by police officers, the faster the country became a pressure cooker ready to explode. The leaders of the civil rights movement were murdered, jailed or harassed into submission. It is this history that Michelle Obama and many others can’t be proud of. With the reawakening of political activism and participation, hope has been reborn as one or both glass ceilings will soon be shattered.

O’Reilly continually promotes his own narrow political, social and religious beliefs; nor is he a stranger to down playing the horror associated with nooses and bigotry. When the Jena 6 were overly prosecuted, O’Reilly ignored the social implications and focused on the teenage indiscretions of the accused, while discounting the same offenses of the so called victim. When the other nooses where hung around the country, he casually glossed over the stories if he mentioned them at all. October 2007 he mocked the protest of a Wiccan when she protested the witch being hung in effigy on her neighbor’s lawn. O’Reilly attacks what he doesn’t want to hear. While campaigning John Edwards exposed not only the poverty in this country, but the lack of support of the returning veterans. In spite, of the information released by the Veteran’s Administration and his own expert guests, he denied that 200,000 vets were homeless. He kept repeating that it wasn’t the fault of the economy that vets were without homes but the fact that they were addicted to drugs and mentally ill. No one said the economy as the source of the problem. The lack of proper physical and emotional care after their tours is the issue. PTS, closed head injuries, and loss of body parts are the reason vets are homeless. O’Reilly also turns a blind eye to civil rights violations. In nearly every case of police abuse of power that he bothers to mention, he has always come down on the side of law enforcement in spite of the evidence against them. According to O'Reilly, unless you have led a pristine life, law enforcement has the right to harass and abuse you.

In days following his remarks about Obama, O’Reilly issued a non-apology. It was clear that he feels his remarks were justified and accurate--fair and balanced. Obviously, he has different definition of those concepts than those with IQ’s over 85.

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