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Is Bill O’Reilly A Racist?

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Bill O'Reilly, everybody's favorite blowhard at the state-run FOX News network, has gotten himself in hot water again. It all stems from a pleasant night out on the town with his new best friend, Al Sharpton. The two of them recently ventured deep into the heart of black America to enjoy some soul food at Sylvia's restaurant. Here's his take on his wild night in Harlem…

"We had a great time, and all the people up there are tremendously respectful," adding, "I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship." Later in the conversation, he was discussing the effect of rap on the culture and said "There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.' You know, I mean, everybody was — it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn't any kind of craziness at all."

So apparently Billo was expecting a pretty wild scene at Sylvia's. He must have thought that the diners would be screaming insults and curse words at each other while perhaps engaging in a fun-filled food fight. He just "couldn't get over" the fact that black folks can sit down and eat a civilized dinner in a restaurant just like the rest of us. Who knew? Who would have guessed that blacks are capable of such refinement? Billo has really stumbled upon a highly significant sociological discovery. Thank you, sir. You are a great American.

Of course, the ironic part of O'Reilly's observation is that he thinks he's complimenting blacks. He just can't understand why so many people feel offended by his remarks. And, as usual, he chalks the whole brouhaha up to a "smear job" by that "far-left smear site, Media Matters." The sad truth is that B.O. is genetically incapable of self-reflection and self-criticism. Nothing is ever his fault. It's always somebody else out to get him. They're obviously jealous and want to bring down his empire.

So is Bill O'Reilly a racist or just really ignorant? I'm guessing both. I think it's fair to say that anyone who bases his expectations of a person's behavior on their skin color can be called a racist. It's not the kind of in-your-face racism that we saw from Michael Richards, for example, but it's still racism.

Ignorant? A cursory examination of his many writings and ravings will confirm that analysis.

Let's see, there was the time he invited al Qaeda to destroy San Francisco…

We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.

Then there was his humanistic wish about Hurricane Katrina…

I just wish Katrina had only hit the United Nations building, nothing else, just had flooded them out, and I wouldn't have rescued them.

But in perhaps his most compassionate moment, he implied that an 11-year-old kidnap victim had enjoyed his captivity…

The situation here for this kid looks to me to be a lot more fun than what he had under his old parents. He didn't have to go to school. He could run around and do whatever he wanted.

O'Reilly is the kind of guy who will say anything, whether it's true or not, to make a point. But if someone is bold enough to point out that the emperor has no clothes, Billo will lash out at the accuser with a white-hot fervor, labeling him a far-left liberal, a secular humanist, or his ultimate put-down, a pinhead. The fact that he has such a huge audience says something very sad and very scary about the American viewing public.

O'Reilly has proven the truth of the old adage that you'll never go broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

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About Doug DeLong

  • FlowersInMidgar

    After some thought on the phrase “couldn’t get over” I take it back, he’s racist.
    If he isn’t, he’s doing a damn good impression of someone who is.
    Even if he isn’t racist, the list of reasons to hate the guy is a mile long.

  • Joel Shark, you don’t appear too chipper and entirely missed the point. Twice. You only gave further examples where the same question could be asked, “Why is this so?”

    – Temple

  • cls

    He’s both ignorant and racist – ignorance is an often ignored aspect of racism. Many people only consider purposeful acts of meanness and hate as racism. As a result many whites are proud to declare that they are not racist. However, choosing to be afraid of or ignorant about certain groups of people is also a form of racism that is acted out daily by many white Americans.

  • FlowersInMidgar

    I don’t know if he’s racist, so much as condescending and presumptuous to assume that enough of his viewers are ignorant and racist enough to find civility in an African-run restaurant- as to make a news story to announce it to them.

    In assuming this about others he may in fact be deflecting his own views on these “mystery viewers” who need to be “informed”.

    Much like Carlos Mencia needs to make up imaginary audience members who “don’t get it”.

    Of course he could very well be racist.
    Either way, it certainly is an interesting look at how he considers his own viewers.

  • “Is Bill O’Reilly A Racist?”

    No. He’s just an idiot.

  • Joel

    because they lack primary sources of information (i.e., eating at Sylvia’s)

    “But why is this so …?
    Getting it yet?” – Temple Shark

    Similar to “whites choosing not to associate to blacks” and “blacks choosing not to associate with whites,” I doubt Bill would’ve been in Harlem without Al. Even in a small Delta town where I live, it’s well-known that there are certain areas of town a white person doesn’t go unless he’s with a black male, and there are certain areas he doesn’t EVER go (even a white cop). So in a town where whites are the minority, locals rule the police, and it’s generally understood that unauthorized whites will “show up dead in the next county” if they wander into the wrong neighborhood, the whites prefer to not seek information. While this is just one Delta town that kills unwelcomed whites, you can also consider factors such as blacks’ general desire for separation or whites’ disinterest.

  • Joel

    Any number of reasons – whites living in a geographic area where not many blacks live, whites choosing not to associate with blacks, blacks choosing not to associate with whites, etc. In this case, Bill’s radio show is easily accessible.

    And to add to my previous post, not only do some whites “lack” information, but some whites simply “choose” to rely on inaccurate information (i.e., rap music). In Bill’s situation, a “few cases” choose to rely on others’ opinions as to how his words should be interpreted, rather than the topic and context in which they were used.

    From the opposite direction, blacks don’t provide enough positive publicity (i.e., burying the N-word was positive publicity) – rather, they should push for media attention that provides statistics showing how crime, education, and employment are improving among the black community.

  • because they lack primary sources of information (i.e., eating at Sylvia’s)

    But why is this so …?

    Getting it yet?

  • Joel

    First, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and recommend that you rely on primary sources of information. Second, to help you out, Bill was pointing out that whites too often stereotype African Americans based on secondary sources of information (i.e., music) because they lack primary sources of information (i.e., eating at Sylvia’s). Third, I offer you similar advice in writing and life in general: before you attack someone based on “what someone else said the person said,” I suggest you hear with your own ears what the person said (in its entirety), understand the context in which it was said, and begin an analysis from an objective viewpoint. Otherwise, you’ll continue to be the punchline of comics.

  • Dan

    Why this debate now? It is a public knowledge since long!

  • daryl d


    I wrote an article on the same topic. I completely agree with you. I think Bildo’s situation is worse than that of Imus because Imus was purposely trying to be shocking while Bildo was actually serious.