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Political USA Political Columnists
Kirsten Andersen

James Antle

Paul Conroy
Jeff Crouere

Joe Giardiello

Mario Giardiello

Scott Gillette

Dr. Marc Goldman

Marc Levin

Rachel Marsden

Tom McClintock
Dorothy Seese
Debbie Schlussel

Hans Zeiger








Spinning O'Reilly
By Scott Gillette

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Last night, I spent an inordinate time thinking about Bill O’Reilly. Watched his show, took out two of his books from the library, scoured the internet for something about him. This project was unexpected, but when any prominent person says something unexpected, one needs to know your subject inside and out.

Mr. O’Reilly’s success is based on his unfailingly straightforward approach, coupled with his formidable communication and debating skills. When so much of what we hear from political animals is obfuscation, he can connect with his audience without pretense or cant.

O’Reilly does have a tendency for grandstanding and belligerence which I always have found distracting. After all, it is a bit much to decry the influence of Hollywood types on political discourse, and then to devote large portions of your show to that very subject. But to each their own. That’s a part of the TV business, as his high ratings demonstrate.

But O’Reilly’s combination of brashness and certitude have led him to make remarks that will not disappear, unless he adopts the same willingness to apologize that he expects from his guests.

Bill O’Reilly was emceeing an event on April 12th sponsored by the Best Friends Foundation, a non-profit that provides a curriculum and resources for children from 5th to 12th grade to make the proper decisions outside of school. During the festivities, a capella group of 6th to 8th grade boys called the Best Men was late making it back onto the stage to perform. Trying to fill the time, O’Reilly quipped, “Does anyone know where the Best Men are? I hope they’re not in the parking lot stealing our hubcaps.”

Now, 6th to 8th graders are usually not associated with the theft that O’Reilly is describing. Most adolescents who engage in criminal activity do so later in adolescence. More importantly, the boys that were the target of O’Reilly’s cheap joke were in a singing group. Anyone with a cursory understanding of the “gangsta” culture that embodies most teenage delinquency today (regardless of race) would agree that 12 year olds in doo-wop bands are not trying to make their mark through criminal activity.

So why did O’Reilly make this off-the-cuff remark? No kidding…the kids in the Best Men are black. O’Reilly stereotyped young black men with criminal activity, even though the majority of black boys under the age of 18 do not engage in criminal activity.

Many members of the crowd, according to Lloyd Grove of the Washington Post, did not hear the remark. However, Bo Derek was in attendance and acknowledged hearing the remark, although provided no additional comment. Washington news anchor Andrea Roane, after hearing the remark, was purported to have muttered, “Unbelievable.” An anonymous source added, “The well-known Republican politicians and their spouses seated at or near my table were appalled.”

It is true that O’Reilly has given tens of thousands of dollars to the Best Friends Foundation. It’s also true that he donated $5,000 that night to Best Friends. Clearly, O’Reilly wishes for these black children, like all children, to succeed in life.

Having said that, O’Reilly’s comments are unacceptable. They perpetuated an unfair stereotype, and they were nasty in tone. O’Reilly should apologize. One does not have to worship at the temple of political correctness to share this opinion.

O’Reilly would expect the same for the guests on his show. Time and time again, O’Reilly takes people to task for their own unacceptable remarks, and demands that they apologize. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

As of this article, O’Reilly does not agree. He told the Washington Post, “This is ridiculous and foolish. No good deed goes unpunished. If you guys want to snipe at me, then snipe at me. This thing raised a lot of money for a good charity. Everybody was happy. I don’t want to comment on anything else.”

Well, Mr. O’Reilly, you should comment, and you should apologize. Your statement, even in the context of a charity event, cannot be explained away. You should know that words have consequences, as your entire career is based on that belief. It’s time to own up to these remarks, so you can put them behind you. But if you don’t, it would demonstrate a failure of character. Remember, Mr. O’Reilly, you’re in a no-spin zone.



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