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O'ReillyA couple of years ago, Bill O’Reilly recorded a piece on America’s race problem. With apologies for the fact that I’m too tech challenged to figure out how to provide the piece without the obnoxious advertising that surrounds it, here’s what he had to say: 


I have no doubt that, more or less, he’d say the same thing today. Certainly the subject is the same today, if not worse. So, I consider it still timely to address the matter.

The matter? No, not America’s race problem. That’s beyond me. Well, I don’t really mean it’s beyond me, but more than I want to take on in a blog to which people don’t want to devote (as in the case of most all blogs) much more space than 500 words.

The matter I’m talking about is America’s O’Reilly problem. A political broadcaster, if that’s the right term to use, who says it the way it is. Or the way he thinks it is. With little, if any, filter.

Is O’Reilly a good thing or a bad thing? Personally, I think he’s a good thing. Not to say that he’s always right (well, actually, he’s of course always right, as opposed to left), but he’s bright, articulate, fast, engaging, entertaining, and provocative. With all those characteristics, how could anyone say O’Reilly’s a bad thing?

The reason for this blog is to inquire where those folks are who do think O’Reilly’s a bad thing. Where is Jesse Jackson? Where is Al Sharpton? Where are the leaders of BLM? Where is Barack Obama? Are none of them up to the task of taking him on? Especially when they are so cock sure they’re right and he’s not (right, but not left either).

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  • I agree with everything O’Reilly said on the video. He tells it like it is, which most people are afraid to do.
    The only thing I don’t like about him is when he’s interviewing someone, he can’t seem to let them speak without interrupting. 😛

    • Most narcissists are that way. It’s hard for you to notice here on the page, but I actually replied to your comment somewhere between your first and second sentence. 🙂

      • Lol

        • Sharon, a long time friend of mine, who identifies as “EB” has checked in on my post and your response. I’m posting this further “reply” to your comments because since EB posted as separate comments and not as a reply to your comment, I don’t think you would receive notice from DisQus that EB was actually responding to you. Given that the “B” in “EB,” might be interpreted as “buzz saw,” you might or might not care to respond further, but EB is a nice guy and he doesn’t bite even if you might get a different sense from his posts. When he says “LOL” at the end of his remarks, I can tell you he means it. If you do choose to respond further, you should do it as a reply to the first or second of his posts so that he will get notice of any response on your part to his “brief” remarks. And if he doesn’t do anything else, he takes care of any argument that I can be too wordy!

        • Additional comments today. 🙂

  • EB

    @disqus_8UtzTEQ5Fm:disqus @sharonricklinjones:disqus Ron Barak Sharon Ricklin Jones. Hi Sharon and Ron, Sharon I would actually make a slight adjustment to your comment. O’Reilly generally tells it one of or perhaps a combination of a few ways:

    1. The way that he THINKS it is.

    2. The way that gets ratings.

    3. With a guest on the other side of an issue he tells it the way that will elicit the most sensational response from his guests which again leads to ratings.

    Many people agree with him and that’s the problem. The news relies on talking heads like O’Reilly for “entertainment” rather than objectively informing an audience. All networks engage in this nonsense and it is corroding our democracy because so many people rely on the tv or internet as their primary sources of information. What makes Bill so gosh darned effective is that he knows how people work and he knows how to mix in factual information to spin narratives his way.

    Sharon I can tell you that the issues are far more complex and nuanced and complex but guess what? Complexity doesn’t get ratings. Conflict gets ratings. Is there a “Civil Rights” industry with hacks that exploit the pain and issues that concern black people and by extension the country? Absolutely! That doesn’t mean I can give Bill a pass for being dishonest in his presentation. His show is essentially the opinion page of a paper and does not rise to the level of intellectual discourse or public debate a society should use to inform itself.

    Let’s just say this: If all your worldly possessions depended on it would you debate me using Bill’s points that you believe in or would you go and do thorough research of your own before coming to the table? As someone who is intimately familiar with the complex nature of these issues, I can tell you that unless you don’t like your belongings it would behove you to study.

    The problem with the O’Reilly’s and their left leaning equivalents is that they are entertainers that use what should be serious policy conversations to entertain and get people to react emotionally. They fail to inform and to a public that is not as discerning as they should be they come across as reliable sources instead of the illusionists they are. Applying the O’Reilly brand of thinking to medicine for example would surely result in malpractice suits.

    In this particular piece he is in no way fair or balanced but that doesn’t matter because he hits the right notes for his target audience. In the place of serious and thorough policy research he serves up half cooked opinions that oversimplify complex interactions, degrade, demean and obfuscate the truth in favor of sensationalism and frankly the financial bottom line. Conflict and reassurance that what you believe is right may be great for ratings but is bad for the country no matter if the garbage is coming from the left or the right.

    Is the decay of the black family a problem? Absolutely. However does that decay happen in a vacuum? Absolutely not. Do individuals need to be held responsible and accountable for their own behavior? Absolutely. Does the United States need to be held responsible for state sponsored actions or inaction (deliberate or unintentional) that disproportionately impact communities of color? Absolutely.

  • EB

    @disqus_8UtzTEQ5Fm:disqus @sharonricklinjones:disqus Continued

    Want some data? the DOJ report just found the following: “African-Americans were disproportionately pulled over for traffic stops and searched for illegal drugs, even though officers found contraband twice as often when searching white residents.”

    More data? High tech surveillance proved that well over 80% of drug buyers came from white suburbs surrounding Camden, NJ.

    More data? In a multi-year research study in Chicago, it was found that approximately 6% of the population was responsible for 70% of the murders.

    Bill’s narrative suggests that it’s all these black kids without dads and totally discounts the impact of socioeconomics on the outcomes of marginalized people.

    “Black on black ?” Most crime happens within communities. Whites are 6 times as likely to be murdered by another white person as by a black person; and overall, the percentage of white Americans who will be murdered by a black offender in a given year is only 2/10,000ths of 1 percent (0.0002). This means that only 1 in every 500,000 white people will be murdered by a black person in a given year. Although the numbers of black-on-white homicides are higher than the reverse (447 to 218 in 2010), the 218 black victims of white murderers is actually a higher percentage of the black population interracially killed than the 447 white victims of black murderers as a percentage of the white population. In fact, any given black person is 2.75 times as likely to be murdered by a white person as any given white person is to be murdered by an African American.

    Children out of Wedlock rates? Poverty drives the out of wedlock pregnancies for a number of complex reasons across race just as birth rates drop with educational attainment across race. Having a father in the home is critical but suggesting the decay of the black family is the exclusive fault of African Americans themselves is dishonest. I have literally had to defend myself in court after police charged me with entirely bogus charges after harassing me for being black in the wrong neighborhood. Before the advent of rap music and cable television black people were still targeted unfairly by the criminal justice system. If you really want to blow your mind research the “black codes” and “convict leasing programs” or the terrible impacts of the drug war on communities of color. Right after slavery was supposed to have been abolished, the United States codified racism into law by criminalizing the most fundamental aspects of black life so that they could recover much of the newly freed slave labor force and lease newly minted convicts out to businesses. The country has always had an appetite for cheap labor at virtually any cost. Do popular music and videos that glorify violence and thuggish behavior contribute to the problems? Absolutely. Are they causal? Hardly.

    O’Reilly’s premise is tantamount to a doctor taking a case history of someone who has been abused, cheated, worked in a nuclear facility with asbestos in the walls without protection and happens to drink beer, smoke a pack a day. Does the smoking and drinking help? Of course not but might that cancer and other health issues have something to do with their exposure to other things as well? Absolutely.

    The truth is that Mr. O’Reilly is doing his job by entertaining. It is our job as citizens to do our homework and be “fair and balanced” in our analysis. It is only with serious and robust study, dialogue, debate and an earnest desire to do better as a country will we be able to realize our nations great potential. Oh and trust me I’ve had to have similar conversations about personalities with dubious facts and information as well. LOL.

    • EB, thanks for checking in. I hope you will do so often. But a few FRIENDLY suggestions and then a few responses as well.
      When you post a comment that is in response to another person’s comment, it is best to do it as a reply to that other person so that he or she will receive notice of your comment. It’s fine to do it as a separate “chain,” but when you do, the person to whom you are responding will not likely be aware that you responded. My objective is to encourage colloquy and that requires notice. Because I am replying to your “continued comment, you will receive notice of my reply. If I started a separate chain, you would not necessarily know I “replied.”
      I am sometimes told that I can be too wordy. Moi? Hard for me to believe that, I know, but, hey, you’ve just taken the heat off of me! As Mark Twain once said at the beginning of a lengthy letter, “Sorry for the length of this letter; if I’d had more time, it would have been shorter. I would encourage shorter because your readership will be much greater when you can say it in 500 words or less, often not so easy. As long as remarks are in good taste (as I know yours always to be), I don’t ever censor (as the moderator of this process), but I always try to maximize participation.
      When you are going to cite data in a scholarly way as you have done, it’s always helpful and informative if you provide a link to your source(s) so that those who wish can easily do so. For example, take me: I tend to discount data that I cannot easily verify. And intellectually curious as I am, I don’t have the time to look for the needle in the haystack. Just saying. 🙂
      Okay now that I’ve disposed of the small stuff, two final thoughts from yours truly:
      I really love to see friends engage in a constructive way as you did here. We don’t have enough of that. More of that would help things, a lot. I wrote this blog hoping to encourage this kind of exchange and I hope you will bring more of your input in the future. One of the problems we have is that there are just too many of us who turn the other cheek and leave the heavy lifting to others. Take BLM, for example. They are addressing important social issues that are assuredly in need of addressing, but, for my money, and while I don’t want to overly generalize, they don’t do it in a very constructive way. They are just as “bad” as O’Reilly. They just preach to their respective choirs, instead of figuring out how to communicate EFFECTIVELY to “the other guys.” We need better quality leaders on both sides so that the gap can be eliminated, or at least reduced. In my opinion, O’Reilly isn’t perfect, not even close, but he can entertain and he can stimulate conversation. That’s a good thing, even if he could do a better and more honest job of it. Is the same true of those who are leading BLM? You bet it is, as I’m sure you know, or as you might say: “Absolutely.”
      And, if I’d had more time to devote to this response, I probably could haver kept it shorter. 🙂
      Come back and visit again. And often.

      • EB

        LOL. I realized the length was waaaay over the top but figured I’d make a splash on my first post 😛 Thought about including reference links as well and usually do that. There was another comment I read somewhere that cited a Harvard study. I’m familiar with the study and have actually been following the researcher since he popped up a few years ago on a 60 Minutes episode. Will definitely check the blogs more. As a nation we all just need to tighten up and not be so afraid of the truth no matter the source. Preaching to the choir only gets us so far.

        • My brother, Gregg, who has a PhD in Criminology read the same DOJ report released earlier this week, says the data is accurate in his opinion and that your remarks are supported by the report. I look forward to your take on future blogs too.

  • Jose Sigal

    Hola Ronaldo and all. I am not going to cite statistics like EB, but I believe this problem is affecting not only the black community but it is huge in the Hispanic community (I am Hispanic EB) as well, both in the USA and probably even more so in the Latin Countries. You have a tremendous number of single mothers with kids who don’t know who the fathers are. These moms have to make ends meet, the kids grow unsupervised, and it leads to great chaos. Some join gangs, many have no moral values, and no hope, etc. I don’t have the arrogance to know what the solution is. More education? Better jobs? Improved culture. It is a major problem and it is breaking the fabric of our societies. Neither O’Reilly, the right, or the left have the answers, but5 they all exploit it for their own benefit. How sad. Love to Barbie. Pepe

    • Very true and very sad. The various parties preach only to their own choirs and mostly for their own purposes rather than really opening channels.