O'Reilly expresses concern that "there might be trouble" at Beck/Palin rally
Fox News personality Glenn Beck's intention to hold a rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream Speech" has aroused widespread criticism and has sparked plans for counter-rallies by Al Sharpton and others.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly appears to be seriously concerned about potential racial conflict arising out of the protests, and he aired a segment with Beck on Thursday that seemed intended to diffuse the tension.
"Later this month, our pal Glenn Beck will hold a rally in Washington, DC on the same day that Al Sharpton is also holding a rally," O'Reilly began. "Now, that's causing some controversy."
"I want to read you our pal Ben Jealous," O'Reilly said to Beck, referring sarcastically to the president of the NAACP as Beck laughed. "You know our pal Ben? Big fans of both you and me? Oh, he loves us."
O'Reilly was apparently referring to Jealous's charge last month that he and the NAACP "were snookered by Fox News" into believing that Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod "had harmed white farmers because of racial bias."
The NAACP, which has recently been taking increasingly political stances, also passed a resolution last month condemning "explicitly racist behavior" in the Tea Party movement and calling on responsible members of the movement to "repudiate" these racist elements.
One Tea Party group quickly charged the NAACP with becoming overly politicized and suggested that the IRS should reconsider its tax-exempt status. Sarah Palin even described the resolution on her Facebook page as "traumatizing" -- though she also echoed its language in her recent Twitter call for "peaceful Muslims" to "refudiate" the "Ground Zero Mosque."
O'Reilly then quoted from remarks Jealous made in June, when he announced a "march for jobs" to be held in Washington on October 2 that will also serve as a follow-up to the August 28 protests against Beck.
"We will be fighting Glenn Beck on Aug. 28th and we will be using that to leverage the second march,Ã¢â‚¬Â Jealous stated.
"They think that you're trying to denigrate Dr. King in some way," O'Reilly said of Jealous and Sharpton.
"May I ask a question?" Beck replied. "I mean this in all sincerity. Do white people own the legacy of Abraham Lincoln? Because I don't think they do. And I don't think black people own the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King."
Beck had used almost identical words on his own program back in June, saying, "Whites don't own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don't own Martin Luther King,"
"I'm worried about that there might be trouble down there," O'Reilly suggested, but Beck shrugged it off, saying, "There's not going to be trouble."
O'Reilly initially appeared to accept the reassurance, commenting, "Beck is sincere when he says he doesn't want any trouble -- because you're actually banning any signs at your rally."
A minute later, however, O'Reilly returned to the topic, saying, "It is important for everyone to understand, including Ben Jealous, all right, that Beck, you've gone out of your way to say, 'Look, we don't want any incendiary signs. We don't want to make this political.'"
And he repeated again near the end of the segment, "They're going to make this -- 'they're' being Ben Jealous and this guy, the president of the National Urban League, Marc Morial -- they're going to make it racial."
Beck, however, insisted, "I want you to see that it is not a white-black thing. It's not. It's an American thing."
This video is from Fox News' O'Reilly Factor, broadcast Aug. 19, 2010.