Thursday, May 31, 2007

McCain Fails To Challenge Racist Remark by Bill O'Reilly

Technorati Tags: , ,

I agree with Justin Gardner on the O'Reilly-McCain exchange about illegal immigration:

On immigration, Bill O’Reilly asks John McCain…”But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you’re a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say you’ve got to cap with a number.”
Now, I obviously think Bill O’Reilly is a partisan hack and his point is ridiculous, but I found this clip on the Democratic Party’s website and the way they present this exchange is to suggest that McCain agrees with O’Reilly. In fact, the headline of the blog post is, “O’Reilly Defends “White, Christian, Male Power Structure;” McCain Smiles and Nods.” In my eyes, he didn’t agree, except that he agrees there needs to be a cap on the amount of illegal immigrants we give “amnesty” to.

As Steve Benen points out, McCain "didn’t raise objections to O’Reilly’s xenophobia, either":
But more to the point, O’Reilly’s concern for maintaining the “white, Christian, male power structure” struck me as about as offensive as what got Don Imus fired.

Think about it — if a KKK official appeared on Fox News, wouldn’t you expect him to make similar comments? And isn’t it more than a little disconcerting when O’Reilly’s rhetoric and racist rhetoric is one and the same?

And at the risk of getting too deep into the weeds here, O’Reilly’s argument seems to miss a few pertinent details, not the least of which is the fact that most Mexican immigrants are Christian.

Indeed, O’Reilly’s point isn’t an economic or security one; it’s based entirely on race and ethnicity. He seems to suggest that immigration would be perfectly acceptable to him, if immigrants helped him maintain the “white, Christian, male power structure.”

I’d be surprised if O’Reilly actually faced consequences for these comments — if he wasn’t punished for encouraging al Qaeda to strike an American city, he won’t be punished for this — but his comments nevertheless struck me as over the top, even by O’Reilly’s very low standards.


Joan said...

Hey kathy!

I am not really sure where Gardner is going with this. I too, think McCain should have told O'Reilly his point was too stupid to answer. I don't know why he didn't do that, he may not have wanted to alienate racist voters. Apparently he is courting the racist vote now.

There is a difference between this situation and the Imus remarks, although a similar outcome be brought about if people wanted that. Imus called 14 specfic women "nappy headed hos". He was not making a political comment. Imus is dumb. He ought to know a "shock jock" is a dangerous job. He has to say shocking things to push the boundaries, yet he cannot push them so far that make people get disgusted. I have no sympathy for the man. He has made his fortune (and quite a considerable one) being an asshole, and he can't whine now that he did not know what the public level of disgust was. It was his job to know. Perhaps he lost his edge.

O'Reilly was making a politcal comment. He was saying what he thinks society OUGHT to be. Hopefully no one agrees with him. This is very different from pointing out specific people and slandering them. However, I wouldn't cry if he was fired either. The right to freedom of speech does not mean the right to have your own TV show. If the viewers think his views are repulsive, they SHOULD contact the advertisers and have him pulled. Maybe the problem is the Imus might be more mainstream than O'Reilly. I get the idea that O'Reilly has a very select audience.

Take Care

Kathy said...

The right to freedom of speech does not mean the right to have your own TV show.

Well said. :)