Crack Babies and Bill O’Reilly

Bill O'ReillyAnd one last thing. On All In, Chris Hayes did a great segment about the same old racist ideas about blacks all being a bunch of drug addicts and that’s why the inner city is so messed up. And he mentioned a study about “crack babies” that he mistakenly claimed shows that being born poor is worse than being born to a crack addicted mother. What the study actually shows is what many of us have known for at least a decade: there is no such thing as a “crack baby.” This study shows that given parents of a particular income level, children do as well regardless of whether or not the mother was on crack during the pregnancy. But his take away is correct: poverty is the killer.

This segment also has some really great, really angry, really racist Bill O’Reilly ranting. In a just world, the man would be a social pariah. But instead, when he’s out in public, his liberal friends like Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart pretend that he’s just one of them. Of course, in terms of being part of the power elite, he is one of them. If your liberal views are so shallow that you’ll pretend that someone like O’Reilly isn’t a bigot, then you should just give up the pretense of being liberal, because you clearly don’t give a shit.

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Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Crack Babies and Bill O’Reilly

  1. Some years back, I was helping look after an ailing man, and he watched Fox News constantly. So I saw (heard from the other room, really) quite a bit of Mr. Bill.

    The number one thing that struck me immediately about him is that, like most bullies, he was an inveterate coward. If he was getting the worst of it in an argument, he’d start screaming, or cut off the other person, or both. Clearly his guests — when they were opponents, not allies — were supposed to be people Bill could intimidate and make look foolish with that intolerably smug "I’m winning" smirk of his. If it went wrong, he acted like a teenage thug.

    No surprise, then, that he gets along fine with Colbert/Stewart. They are equally big celebrities. Bill wouldn’t dare condescend to them, and Stewart wouldn’t dare mock the very point of Bill’s show (the way he famously did "Crossfire," for far less egregious stupidity.) Colbert’s playing a character, so I give him more of a pass, although I haven’t watched his show (or had cable) in years.

    Here’s a thought. If Glenn Beck were still on Fox, would either of those two Comedy Central hosts visit his program or have him on theirs? (Perhaps they did, for all I know.) I doubt it. Beck was/is a true believer; Bill strikes me as quite cannily playing a lucrative role.

    No doubt most people have had the experience of debating something with a right-winger, and listening to them go off in Beck/Bill/Rush mode. Curiously, when this has happened to me, and I tell them they are behaving abysmally, they back down, and feel hurt that I interpreted their volume and unrepentant hate as the sign of a less-than-pleasant personality. They didn’t mean to offend ME by their vitriol against (fill in the blank).

    To a degree, I think these bloviators serve the same emotional purpose as Jerry Springer (or Morton Downey, to enter the way-back machine); they allow viewers to vicariously experience the thrill of behaving quite badly and getting away with it. For specifically right-wing TV/radio bullies, I think there’s another appeal. Audiences get to feel the thrill of bullying and feel righteous in doing so. Their surrogates aren’t just mean for the sake of mean, they’re also on the side of the angels — explaining the popularity of Repub politicians who famously act like raving lunatics, the Bachmanns and Palins and Zell Millers of our happy world.

    One of these days, I should look up recordings of the famous right-wing rabids from decades past — Reagan/Goldwater in the ’60s, Schafly/Bryant in the ’70s, those weird proto-fascists from the ’40s, etc, and see if the antagonistic style was any different. I suspect it was but still satisfied the same audience needs.

  2. Anyhoo, Bill’s argument here (and I’ve seen similar stuff written recently by Black intellectuals from the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute) is classic oppressive self-justification.

    Oppressed communities lose a degree of social coherence (not all), and violent, damaged individuals take advantage of that (and the fact that crimes committed against members of oppressed communities are quite likely to go unpunished.) The oppressors then point to the actions of violent, damaged individuals and say, "well, they act like animals anyway, no wonder we hate them." This is tried-and-true logic.

    (And I’m too tired to come up with a better word than "oppressors," which has a orthodox Marxist sound to it . . . maybe "rich jerks" would work just as well.)

    Worth noting, perhaps, that most crime generated by Prohibition wasn’t in Scott Fitzgerald’s neighborhoods; it was among the ethnic urban poor. (One reason that law enforcement was quite happy to take payoffs from gangsters; since the crimes didn’t affect the rich, the law was in no danger of losing its’ jobs.)

    The urban poor made celebrities of bank robbers and bootleggers because they turned rich snobbery on its ass; "if you won’t let us have opportunity, we’ll create our own, taking advantage of the very laws you morons passed."

    So modern-day small-time crooks, and the "culture" that supposedly worships them (violent hip-hop has always been popular among rich white kids, while today’s Black community is embracing a lot of socially activist music) aren’t doing anything different than the Irish, or Jewish, or Italian gangsters did 90 years ago. Hell, if you’re named "O’Reilly," you are almost certainly related to an old-school Irish-American gangster or crooked cop.

    And that "they act like animals, it’s all the fault of their culture" stuff is exactly the argument British landlords made for the potato famine . . .

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