So far, Bill O'Reilly is in the lead for the Controversial Election Day Rant Award with his bold statements on Fox News about how "the white establishment is now the minority." O'Reilly was trying to make a point about our country's changing demographics and what that means. But it's hard not to make that kind of thing sound terrible racist. In fact, O'Reilly's statements sound even worse when you put them in context. "Obama wins because it's not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority," he said. "People want things."
This is a shocking thing to hear during primetime television, but it is not entirely out of character for O'Reilly. Bill O'Reilly says racist things all the time. We made a list of the Fox News host's latest racist sound bytes:
- Just a few days ago, O'Reilly got started on the race issue by tying Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama to race. O'Reilly suggested that the reason the general endorsed the president was their shared belief in affirmative action. "Do you think that there is any racial business here?" O'Reilly asked.
- A day before his Powell remarks, O'Reilly said on his show that Obama shares "a grievance" with other African Americans "against whites who aren't sympathetic to their cause." This is from the same guy who said just a few months ago got to talking about racial profiling and ended up concluding that "it's really criminal profiling."
- O'Reilly went to Sylvia's Restaurant, a famous Harlem establishment, and said some questionable things about his experience back in 2007. "I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City," he said. "I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, primarily black patronship."
- O'Reilly started his whole "two Americas" rant a couple of years ago, though, when he tried to explain the disparity of support for Barack Obama between blacks and whites. We'll quote that one at length:
It's simple. White Americans fear government control. They don't want the feds telling them what to do and they don't want a bankrupt nation. …
Black America has a totally different view. For decades, African Americans have supported a bigger federal government... so it can impose social justice. The vast majority of blacks want money spent to level the playing field, to redistribute income from the white establishment to their precincts and to provide better education and healthcare at government (read: white) expense. So the African American voter generally loves what President Obama is doing.
So if O'Reilly was concerned about the differences in "White Americans" and "Black America" two years ago, he's now decided that the tables have turned. In his Election Day rant, O'Reilly said that an establishment candidate like Romney would've easily beat Obama 20 years ago. That was roughly the time period of the Rodney King beatings. Are we really ready to turn back the clock on race relations that far?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.