Bill O'Reilly took a break from trying to pretend to his viewers that he has any clue whatsoever what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for or believed in, but it didn't stop him from using the 50 year anniversary of the March on Washington to attack the event's organizers.
Bill-O used his Talking Points Memo segment this Wednesday to complain that the event had not invited any black Republicans and conservatives to speak, and of course some of his usual fearmongering about "big government" being responsible for all of our woes as well. Here's more on that from the Fox blog: 'Where Were the Black Republicans?' O'Reilly Reacts to 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington:
During tonight’s Talking Points Memo, Bill O’Reilly host reacted to today’s events marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s landmark “I Have A Dream” speech.
“Today’s event excluded black Republicans and conservatives,” O’Reilly observed. “All the speakers were Democrats. That was a glaring error and does not indicate a desire for inclusion.”
Many of the speeches were uplifting and respecting to America, but not all, according to the Factor host. Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, said this: “Somewhere along the way, white sheets were traded for buttoned down white shirts. Attack dogs and water hoses were traded for Tasers and widespread implementation of stop and frisk policies. Nooses were traded for handcuffs.”
O’Reilly called it “grievance mongering” and said it doesn’t help civil rights.
Turning to the president’s speech, O’Reilly criticized his comments on the illusiveness of achieving the American dream. “Whose fault is that? The reason working Americans are having such a hard time is twofold. First, Mr. Obama’s attempt to manage the economy from Washington – that has largely failed. The private sector must drive economic expansion, not the Feds.”
Secondly, he said that the skill level of many Americans has declined. “Even if jobs become more plentiful, you have to be able to do them, you have to speak proper English, be able to do basic math and conduct yourself responsibly. Millions of Americans have not mastered the basics of the marketplace.” [...]
O’Reilly called it an important and accurate statement, but also charged that the president and civil rights leaders want the government to provide for those who fail, even if it’s their own fault. “The left wants paternalism, cradle-to-grave protections. And if you oppose that philosophy, there’s something wrong with you, and in some cases, they’ll accuse you of bigotry.”
Sorry Bill-O, but we accuse you of bigotry if you act like a bigot. We'll call you an Ayn Rand worshiping selfish a-hole who doesn't want to pay any taxes when it comes to being unwilling to provide a safety net for the most vulnerable among us.
The other problem with O'Reilly's statement here is that it's not true that there weren't any Republicans or conservatives invited. Republican leaders were asked to speak at the march and declined. And the Bushes were invited and could not make it due to health issues. That didn't stop him from doubling down on the lie when he had guest James Carville on there in the following segment.
I'm pretty sure if O'Reilly ends up acknowledging that Boehner and Cantor and the Bushes were invited, but declined to show up, he'll still be bitching that they didn't invite the likes of say, Ben Carson, or Allen West, or Tim Scott to speak. I think Hunter at KOS summed up very nicely why Julian Bond's anger at the Republicans who were invited and refused to come is misplaced, and the same could be said for those the pundits on Fox have been harping about not being invited.
Hmm. You know, when someone asks you to participate in the anniversary celebration of one of the most important inflection points of modern American history, you should generally say yes. You certainly shouldn't blow them off to tour North Dakota fracking sites, or whatever the hell he's claiming was more important.
That said, I disagree with Bond. I think declining a speaking spot was a perfectly appropriate choice on the part of conservative leaders, or at least the more intellectually honest one. Efforts to portray conservative reaction to the civil rights movement as anything less than hostile at the time (and hostile now) are insultingly dishonest, and having the community organizers, activists, spiritual leaders and labor leaders of that time putatively honored on the same spot by people like John Boehner or Eric Cantor, people who have open contempt for many of the goals expressed by those same leaders even now, might have been a bigger sin than any pretense at modern fluffy nonpartisanship could justify. Hooray that they were politely asked; hooray that they politely said no. If Eric Cantor believes that it is more important to wander rural North Dakota in self-imposed exile than to show up to honor the 50th anniversary of one of the great moments and movements in American history, I am not about to argue with him. If only the rest of the conservative movement had even half as much self-restraint.
I think the only way they'd make these carnival barkers over at Fox happy is if they turned the whole thing into one big TeaBircher rally.