Bill O’Reilly needs to spend more time in Harlem. That way, he’d likely discover that Ziggy Marley – eldest son of Bob Marley – is an actual person who exists. And he’s an international music star.
Judging by his TV show last night, Mr. O’Reilly does not know this.
Here’s what happened: Bill is still bent outta shape about the worthless controversy ginned up by MediaMatters.org, the self-deputized language police of America’s airwaves... the leftist hall monitors from hell.
You know, the whole business about O’Reilly sharing a soul-food meal with Al Sharpton in Harlem, and O’Rcilly’s awkward, condescending radio remarks about how Sylvia’s is just like any other restaurant in New York City... remarks which inexplicably became national news... Yeah, Media Matters started that fire.
As if anyone should give a shit what Bill O’Reilly says during every minute of his radio show. Black people have got bigger problems than Bill’s expectations of how folks might dress for an Anita Baker concert.
Okay, so last night on Fox News, O’Reilly does a segment on “the Smearing of America... Can we legally fight back?” There are two “legal analysts” – Megyn Kelly and Lis Wiehl – and Bill susses them out on libel law.
To Bill’s dismay, Ms. Kelly and Ms. Wiehl agree that he, Bill O’Reilly, being a public figure, would have to prove “actual malice” – a huge burden of proof – in order to win a libel suit. In effect, people can say or write pretty much anything they want to about O’Reilly... because he’s famous.
So O’Reilly started to ask: “Say my name is Ziggy Marley and I’m not famous...”
O’Reilly clearly thought he was pulling nonsense syllables out of the air. But Megyn Kelly got a puzzled look on her face and said, “He is famous, isn’t he?”
The conversation proceeded on its merry way, while I giggled and shook my head. After a week of getting pounded over an insensitive racial remark, for Bill O’Reilly to display his ignorance about black pop culture just seemed so... poetic. Out of all the names he could’ve thrown out there to make a point – “Joe Blow” being the safest choice – O’Reilly had to say “Ziggy Marley.”
Now, if I were to do a Media-Matters-style spin job with this little nugget, I might write something like this:
“O’Reilly Pisses On Grave of Bob Marley. Acts As If ‘Ziggy Marley’ Is a Made-Up Name.”
This is what Media Matters does, as a matter of ideology and tactics. Media Matters apparently monitors every word uttered in public by O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, etc., hoping they’ll say something that can be spun into a career-damaging shitstorm.
I hope O’Reilly will be cool enough to acknowledge tonight – after no doubt receiving some emails – that Ziggy Marley is a real guy. (But I don’t expect it.) He just better not say that he has never heard of Ziggy Marley.
Because here was Bill O’Reilly’s “Most Ridiculous Item of the Day” for July 11, 2002:
“... Janet Reno is holding a dance party at the Level Nightclub on Miami Beach, to raise money for her gubernatorial run against Jeb Bush. Expected to attend are Damon and Marlon Wayans and Ziggy Marley. Wow. No word on whether Ms. Reno will do the lambada, the forbidden dance of love. ...”