Bill O’Reilly asks a good question in a stupid, insulting way. The Chicago Department of Public Health provides a cool answer.

Monday night, Bill O’Reilly delivered “an impassioned talking points memo.” As described by Foxinsider.com, O’Reilly “tackled the race problem facing America and the lack of leadership by the president to solve these issues.”  Last night, O’Reilly continued the theme by haranguing Marc Morial, who leads the National Urban League to “Stop the BS!” on “black crime,” family breakdown, and other matters. Maybe tonight, O’Reilly will shift gears to call out  Janice Weinman, executive director of Hadassah, for not doing enough to support traditional Jewish values.

Among other things, O’Reilly’s talking points memo asked: “When was the last time you saw a public service ad telling young black girls to avoid becoming pregnant?” This is a good question, though his viewing audience may not be the best people to answer it. Apparently, 64% of his viewers are older than age 50 and 40% are age 65 or older. Moreover, according to this (ok-dated) 2005 report, O’Reilly’s Nielson rating hits something like 0.2 among African-American women. That’s about one-fifteenth of the audience among African-American women for Survivor: Vanuatu and similar ventures of that year.

Still, O’Reilly and his viewers might check out what’s actually out there.   I like campaigns such as this terrific effort from the Chicago Department of Public Health. It also picks up on something Mr. O’Reilly’s truculent tpm seems to have missed….


PS: O’Reilly’s folks are apparently ahead of me... (h/t Irin Carmon).



Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

14 thoughts on “Unexpected?”

  1. This is the same Bill O’Reilly who seemed genuinely shocked when he had dinner at Sylvia’s, a Harlem landmark, and found that the patrons behaved like, well, normal, civilized human beings. He is just clueless enough to think that the black community is not, as it in fact is, full of people doing exactly what he thinks they need him to tell them to do. And I’ve seen exactly the kinds of public service ads he thinks doen’t exist, though Bill would have to ride the subways, like the ads’ intended audience, to see them.

  2. At least he’s acknowledging that organized social action (aka government) might be able to do something to help. And this rests on the assumption that acknowledges that these kids are people who should be helped. Now, I’m skeptical that this isn’t ultimately motivated by O’Reilly’s tribe merely wanting to not have their own lives impacted by these kids by way of violence, taxes or cultural corruption. But I could be wrong, they might actually care a little bit for unselfish reasons.

    The most important thing here though is the recognition that agency might lie outside these kids. This is in opposition to the crypto-racist right-wing notion of the scum of the earth thugs, gangbangers and welfare queens who deserve their lot in life because agency lies *within themselves*.

    Beyond the question of agency, the discussion rarely gets further than blaming secular humanist values, with nary a mention of economic or historic factors involved in transmission of poverty and social dysfunction. But baby steps are to be encouraged.

      1. I think Bill O’Reilly is an oxymoron (at least in terminology): He’s something of an idiot who’s actually a very bright guy.

        If he were “one of us” I think we’d be glad to have him on our side.

        1. Speaking for myself only, no I wouldn’t and I don’t think he’s all that bright, either. He’s a sly opportunist; nothing more.

    1. I don’t think he’s acknowledging anything about government’s ability to solve problems. I think he’s just pushing the Fox News party line that “blacks and liberals are the real racists because African-Americans have themselves (collectively) killed many of their own kind whereas Gorge Zimmerman has only killed one black boy (so far) and should therefore get their own houses in order before casting the first stone.

      If the party line changes, you may be certain that Bill will follow it without question and with the same ostentatious display of empathy and sincerity. He is nothing but a cheap whore dressed up in an expensive costume. As I said earlier, even other crocodiles aren’t impressed by crocodile tears and you shouldn’t be, either.

  3. The fastest growing rate of out of wedlock births is to white women between the ages of 18 and 30. I don’t suppose O’Reilly acknowledged that, although the second poster is of a white/Hispanic teen boy so obviously the city of Chicago gets at least that much.

    I take it that O’Reilly comes from the same cultural milieu as Pat Buchanan, a milieu that allowed Buchanan to think that even as a teenager he had the right to lecture his family’s black housekeeper, an adult woman old enough to be his mother, about her undue allegiance to the minister of her church. It’s an attitude that goes something like “Whatever I know about race is all anyone needs to know.” The rest of us are just inferior or dependent or maybe just invisible.

    1. So O’Reilly has to pay for the sins of Buchanan now? What kind of anti-Irish monster are you?


      But SRSLY, Bill O’ says plenty of dumb stuff on his own so there’s no need to resort to the logically dodgy move of bringing in Pat Buchanan as a straw piñata…

    1. When I was young and single (50 years ago) I enjoyed casual sex and I never got preggers.

  4. I am obviously getting old. O’Reilly’s remarks are basically a recycling of the trope used by Spiro Agnew, then Governor of Maryland, when in 1968 he addressed African American leaders following the riots in response to the assassination of MLK. He excoriated the leaders saying “I call on you to publicly repudiate all black racists. This, so far, you have been unwilling to do.”

    The basic premise is that racism is the fault of the victims not acting forcefully enough to “police” their own communities. Same as it ever was.

    1. Criticizing Agnew? What are you, a nattering nabob of negativism, or, part of the an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals?

  5. O’Reilly, and others for that matter, *should* call out Hadassah if Jewish male youth were proportionately involved in crime/mayhem, in creating the 73% of their race’s babies born out-of-wedlock, in failing/dropping out of their free public education, and in other maladaptive & sociopathic behavior as are black male youth.

    But they aren’t, so he didn’t.

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