Bill O’Reilly is a big fat fake, to use terms Senator Al Franken (D, The-Formerly-Serious-State-That-Gave-Us-Governor-Jesse-Ventura-,Too) might like.
First, O’Reilly prominently joins the chorus of assassins in l’affaire Sherrod. Now, caught with his journalistic pants down, he goes back to the scene of the crime to say “right street, wrong address; she’s actually insensitive and polarizing, not racist.”
Here’s where O’Reilly now finds fault, his former lie that Sherrod was unrepentant about a recent discriminatory act having fallen apart:
Shirley Sherrod is a longtime liberal activist who peppered her NAACP speech with racial references, such as this: “So I figured if I’d take (the farmer) to (a white lawyer), that his own kind would take care of him.”
Now, we all make mistakes, and that just might be a harmless comment. But if a white federal official referred to an African-American by using the term “own kind,” you know what would happen.
Guilty of verisimilitude in the first degree! Off with her head! And off with the heads of Mark Twain and Harper Lee (and probably Flannery O’Connor), too (for using “the N-word”)!
Sometimes, telling a story well requires using some blunt but truthful language. Nobody in their right mind should take offense at Sherrod’s narrative acknowledgement that her thought process 22 years ago included things like “his own kind.”
What O’Reilly is attempting here is what we call a “heckler’s veto” in free speech cases. The heckler’s veto works like this:
- Speaker A exercises free speech.
- Heckler B calculatedly goes postal, yelling “hate speech” or “fighting words” or some such.
- Police arrest A for disorderly conduct (for provoking B).
That’s what O’Reilly is doing when he imputes “polarizing”effect to Sherrod’s remarks.
Then O’Reilly disingenuously invokes the Hatch Act:
Then Sherrod went on to tell the NAACP audience this: “I haven’t seen such a mean-spirited people as I’ve seen lately over this issue of health care. Some of the racism we thought was buried. Didn’t it surface? Now, we endured eight years of the Bushes, and we didn’t do the stuff these Republicans are doing because you have a black president.”
The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from endorsing political parties while on the job. Sherrod was invited to speak at the NAACP meeting because she was in the administration. So you make the call.
“So you make the call.” Nice touch, creep. Gives you deniability.