Juan Williams defends Bill O’Reilly against charges of racism in Time Magazine, and angrily calls out O’Reilly’s critics for calling him an Uncle Tom. He charges those critics with intellectual dishonesty for pulling one quote out of context to reverse what O’Reilly really said — and he also accuses CNN for deliberately misreporting the incident in order to eat into O’Reilly’s substantial ratings lead over CNN.
It’s a media meltdown!
It started with Bill O’Reilly’s grandmother. And it blew up into charges of O’Reilly being called a racist and me being attacked as a “Happy Negro” (read that as a lackey or Uncle Tom). …
So, O’Reilly says to me that the reality to black life is very different from the lowlife behavior glorified by the rappers. He told me he was at a restaurant in Harlem recently and there was no one shouting profanity, no one threatening people. Then he mentioned going to an Anita Baker concert with an audience that was half black, and in sharp contrast to the corrosive images on TV, well dressed and well behaved.
I joked with O’Reilly that for him, a guy from Long Island, a visit to Harlem was like a “foreign trip.” That’s when he brought up his grandma. He said she was prejudiced against black people because she knew no flesh-and-blood black folks but only the one-dimensional TV coverage of black criminals shooting each other and the rappers and comedians glorifying “gangsta” life and thug cool. He criticized his grandmother as irrational for being afraid of people she really did not know.
Just like Bush’s analogy about Nelson Mandela and the Rush Limbaugh controversy, this is another effort to discredit someone by cherry-picking the transcript and stripping something of all context. I don’t even care for O’Reilly’s show. I never watch it unless Michelle Malkin appears on it. I don’t like shoutfests on TV and haven’t gone out of my way to watch them in quite some time. That, however, doesn’t mean that O’Reilly should be pilloried for supposedly saying something almost completely opposite of what he actually said.
Juan Williams goes into far more detail than I will, but essentially, O’Reilly was arguing against the rappers’ defense that they just represent reality in the ‘hood. O’Reilly countered that by relating his experience at a Harlem restaurant and an Anita Baker concert. His supposed “surprise” that black people behave normally was a sarcastic commentary on the “reality” that rappers supposedly relate to their audiences.
Media Matters, which has apparently created an entire division of cherry-pickers, dishonestly claimed that O’Reilly was surprised that black people act normally, and the rest of O’Reilly’s critics followed. Normally, that would only matter in the blogosphere, but CNN decided to play the same intellectually dishonest game, and they’re still playing it.
Last night in the 8 pm ET hour, I watched a segment on CNN where they continued to exploit this story, claiming that O’Reilly wouldn’t come on their show and wouldn’t apologize for what he said. Well, first off, O’Reilly’s show airs live against that time slot, a point which the CNN hosts never mentioned, so he couldn’t possibly join them to discuss it. Second, why should he apologize? He didn’t say anything wrong, as Williams notes in his column.
Even the other people in the airport were scoffing at this. One younger man sitting next to me said, “Wow, CNN must be getting desperate.” Another said, “Isn’t there anything else to talk about?” Not on CNN. They and the Left have to play their intellectually dishonest games, and as Williams points out, make it impossible for anyone to have a constructive conversation about race.