Bill O'Reilly Claims
Irish Suffered as Much Under British Rule as Africans Suffered Under
Colonialism and Slavery
July 31, 2001
host of the top-rated Fox News talk show "The O'Reilly Factor,"
has not been averse to making statements of dubious accuracy. There
is, for example, his assertion that he comes from a "working
class" background, a claim which has been debunked here and elsewhere.
Yesterday, O'Reilly was
interviewing Malik Shabazz, National Chairman of the New Black Panther
Party. (O'Reilly should be given credit for having Mr. Shabazz on his
program and not limiting his guest list to the slightly-left-of-center to
far-right spectrum of other news outlets.) Here is an exchange between
O'Reilly and Shabazz:
right. Now, you're the history guy, OK?
SHABAZZ: That's correct.
O'REILLY: And this is a little bit off the track. But -- or I was looking
at the countries that are ranked by the U.N., and the last 26 countries
are black African countries in the lowest form of all services.
The whites are out of there, they're gone. These are black-controlled
countries now. But these countries in decades have not been able to
SHABAZZ: But the stench and the legacy of racism and colonialism still
reigns in Africa and in the ghettos...
O'REILLY: All right, let me ask you something...
SHABAZZ: ... of America today.
O'REILLY: ... like that. My people come from Ireland, which was colonized
by the British and brutally, brutally controlled by them.
They've been able to throw that off in 200 years, the blacks haven't. How
SHABAZZ: You have not suffered as Irish under the British nowhere near the
O'REILLY: Oh, you're going to get a debate on that, man. You...
SHABAZZ: ... have suffered under the British or under the Americans.
O'REILLY: Listen, that famine killed millions of people... argument on
SHABAZZ: ... suffering cannot compare to the black holocaust, no way, no
how, Mr. O'Reilly.
O'REILLY: All right, OK...
O'REILLY: ... as always, we appreciate your point of view, and we'll have
you back on, and it's nice to see you.
[The video makes clear that
O'Reilly's "All right, OK..." was not agreement, but a
"Let's wrap it up"-type prelude to his "we'll have you back
on" immediately following].
So O'Reilly is claiming that
the Irish under British rule suffered as much as the Africans under
colonialism. While it's not perfectly clear from the rapid-fire nature
of the exchange, O'Reilly also seems to be claiming that the Irish
experience under the British was as bad as what Africans endured in hundreds
of years of slavery in the United States.
Either way, what O'Reilly is
saying is absurd. I was going to start pointing out how, but why
bother? The most rudimentary knowledge of history reveals the
unsupportable nature of O'Reilly's assertion.
Arguments about which
oppressed people suffered more are not useful. I'm writing about this only
because O'Reilly was making the comparison of the Irish and African
experiences in order to make an invidious point.
I don't know whether O'Reilly
is really this stupid, or just trying to be provocative.
O'Reilly has a segment on his
show called "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." Yesterday
he so outdid himself in making a patently false statement that he should
have put himself in that segment.
[more on Bill O'Reilly]
Joe Lieberman Visits
Bill O'Reilly, Part I: The Senator Engages in Some Big Time Ass-Kissing
Joe "The Pious
Prude" Lieberman guaranteed his place in the Ass-Kisser's Hall of Fame
with his performance yesterday on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News talk show
"The O'Reilly Factor." As you read these bits of the
transcript, keep two things in mind:
First, these written transcript
excerpts can't even begin to convey Lieberman's fawning tone. If these
excerpts were dialogue in a screenplay, each of Lieberman's subsequent lines
would have the stage directions "(obsequiously)", "(more
obsequiously)", and "(even more obsequiously)."
Second, this conversation took place
in the face of O'Reilly's usual overbearing, pompous egomania, which
Lieberman was so clearly eager to feed.
Now the excerpts:
A harbinger of things to
O'REILLY: So, Senator Lieberman, welcome
to THE O'REILLY FACTOR. [sarcastically] I'm glad you finally made it here.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Bill, I am too. Thank you
Lieberman works in a
congratulations to O'Reilly for how well his program is doing in the face of
LIEBERMAN: That's the problem... [W]e
say to them, you used to have a code of conduct in movies, television.
You drew the lines on which you would compete so you wouldn't go down into
the gutter. Why don't you do it again?
O'REILLY: No, they can't because there's too much competition now. The
industries are wide open. There's too much competition to get the
LIEBERMAN: You're doing OK.
O'REILLY: Yeah, we're doing fine.
Lieberman's "shocked, shocked"
that he had been invited on the program and didn't know about it:
O'REILLY: And that brings me to my other
question. You guys, Gore and you, you'd be sitting in the White House
right now... if you'd come on THE FACTOR. Now...
O'REILLY: ... no, you would have, and here's why.
O'REILLY: We had so -- we have a very large audience in Florida. And many
of those people are independents or libertarians, a lot of people.
And you guys flat out would not come on this program. We were stunned.
LIEBERMAN: Seriously? Seriously?
O'REILLY: We were stunned.
LIEBERMAN: I've got to tell you the truth. I never knew that I was
He likes Bill, he really, really likes
him, and he'll certainly keep coming back:
O'REILLY: Oh, come on. Then fire your whole staff
because we kept calling and calling and calling, and the Gore guys not
only would they say no, he's not going to come on, they'd say, "We
hate you, we hate you," because they thought were rooting for Bush,
LIEBERMAN: Yeah. Well, I like your show and I like you. And, you know,
I'll keep coming on, because (INAUDIBLE)...
Again, he's glad he came on the show,
in fact so glad, he jokes maybe he should use O'Reilly as a consultant:
O'REILLY: Listen, Hillary Clinton is going to run
for president. Did you know that?
LIEBERMAN: No, I hadn't heard that.
O'REILLY: Oh, yeah. She's been sneaking over to Iowa... and she didn't
think that we knew. But we do know.
And she's been having her caucus groups like this. And she says she's not
going to run, but she's running. Now...
LIEBERMAN: All right, I'm glad I came on the show.
O'REILLY: Would you run against her? Could you see that, can you envision
LIEBERMAN: Oh, look, it's early, a lot closer to 2000 than 2004... I'm
keeping the doors open.
O'REILLY: Yeah, but she's raising all kinds of money with Hill PAC and
she's going out to Iowa, I know it's early, but if you don't get on the
stick, she's going to have a big advantage.
LIEBERMAN: All right, maybe we should consult. You can give me some advice
And a parting kiss-up to O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: Hey, good to see you. You're welcome
anytime. You tell that Al Gore I'm looking for him too.
LIEBERMAN: All right. We've been trying to figure out why we didn't do
better in Florida. And now I know why.
O'REILLY: Now you know. OK, nice to see you,
O'Reilly is by now grinning ear to
ear, even more pleased with himself than usual.
It's understandable that Lieberman
would like access to the eyes and ears of O'Reilly's one million viewers,
but have you no shame, Joe? It was embarrassing to watch.
Please, Joe, do your most obsequious
ass-kissing in private.
Fox-related articles about: O'Reilly;
Never Risked Anything for Anybody
August 18, 2001
What could be more
infuriating than hearing bigmouths who never risked anything for anybody
continually criticizing the peccadillos of people who risked everything for
The bigmouths I refer to are
those like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and others of their
ilk who continually criticize Jesse Jackson for alleged financial
irregularities and/or for having an affair. Sure Jackson can be
criticized if he acted improperly. But perspective and a sense of
proportionality are key.
Hannity, O'Reilly et al
elevate the wrongdoing to the sum total of the man, and then ask questions
about whether Jackson is through as a leader, blah blah blah.
People with half a brain and
an ounce of decency take into account that Jackson has for decades devoted
himself to speaking out for the voiceless. Do the conservative pundits
not realize that Jackson risked his life over and over again doing
civil rights work in the Deep South with Martin Luther King, Jr.? It
could have been Jackson who was shot on that balcony, not Dr. King. It
could have been Jackson, not Medgar Evers, who was shot to death.
Such courage and long-term
dedication mean a whole lot to unbiased, not-blinded-by-ideology people.
And what have Sean Hannity or
Bill O'Reilly ever done for anybody? I don't know every detail of
their lives, but I'd wager they've never risked their lives fighting for
social justice. I'd wager they've never risked even getting beaten by
a hostile police force, or bitten by dogs, or water hosed, fighting on
behalf of others.
Oh sure, they may claim
they're speaking for "the average American," for "the little
guy," for "working Americans." Well, even if they were,
talk is cheap, and speaking from the comfort of an air-conditioned TV set
for a huge salary doesn't go very far in granting criticism rights against
others who do far more.
But of course, they don't
really speak on behalf of those they claim to. Quite the contrary, the
policies they espouse and the guests they have (and exclude) show that in
reality Hannity, O'Reilly et al are just shills for big bucks corporate
America, befitting the status these hosts enjoy as part of the top 1% of
income earners in the country.
I wish they'd shut up and
realize their criticisms merely emphasize how small they really are.
Jackson has more courage and integrity in his pinky than Hannity, O'Reilly
et al have in their entire being.
Hannity, go risk your
life on behalf of others.
O'Reilly, go put it all
on the line.
Until then, you and the other
bloviating fraud conservatives should SHUT UP about Jesse Jackson!
[Phony African-American "Leader"
Should Also Shut Up About Jesse Jackson]