I’m on record as being a Bill O’Reilly fan. Not saying that I agree with him regularly, or even think he’s particularly intelligent. But I do find his TV show entertaining. He’s a natural-born broadcaster.
Okay, so now O’Reilly’s in a dither because of the left-wing website Media Matters, which uploaded a couple of audio bites from O’Reilly’s radio show last week – in which O’Reilly referred to a recent dining experience with Al Sharpton in Harlem – and made him seem like a racially insensitive boob. (Hat-tip: justjudith.)
Basically, O’Reilly said he was shocked to discover that the soul food restaurant Sylvia’s was just like any other restaurant in New York... “even though it’s run by blacks,” with “primarily black patronship.”
A number of mainstream media outlets – including CNN – reported these comments.
On his cable show tonight, rather than acknowledge that he expressed himself poorly, O’Reilly made it all about the “smear” tactics of the liberal media. He even asked Sharpton to speak up in his defense. (Sharpton said he’d have to listen to O’Reilly’s remarks “in context” before passing judgement. Sharpton did say this wasn’t the first time he and O’Reilly had broken bread in Harlem.)
To hear O’Reilly’s radio remarks for yourself, click here. This clip (via Media Matters) also includes O’Reilly’s subsequent remarks in a conversation with Juan Williams concerning the remarkably normal behavior of diners at Sylvia’s (as well as the “well-dressed” black people he saw while attending an Anita Baker concert).
To Mr. O’Reilly, I say: Keep your head up. You will weather this storm. And if you’re ever in Southern California, and have a hankering for home-style meatloaf, I suggest you hit Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch, where I can attest that black customers do NOT toss chicken bones on the floor.
Also, Bill, the next time you’re in D.C., check out Georgia Brown’s. Believe it or not, I have not personally witnessed any African-American patrons cussing, belching or farting at the table there. Go see for yourself if you don’t believe me.
(Now... I have to say, I’m glad Sharpton didn’t take O’Reilly to a movie theater in Harlem. Y’all know what I’m talking about...)
UPDATE (09/26/07): And fuck Keith Olbermann for trying to pump this thing up into an Imus-like shitstorm. (As if Olbermann’s heart bleeds for the hurt feelings of black people.) What O’Reilly said was comical. He deserves to be mocked, not compared with Al Campanis.