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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

Unless you were dropped on this planet yesterday (naw, make that five minutes ago), it's no secret Bill O'Reilly's Independent train left the station sometime during the Johnson administration -- the Andrew Johnson administration. In the John McCain-Barack Obama race he has alleged the usual fair and balanced approach. In fact, Bill contends that FoxNews as a whole is right down the middle, as he told a caller on his Radio Factor this past Thursday

"Fox News has just as many liberals as conservatives, from sign on to sign off."

Bill explained that if it seems to be that he is only covering adverse news on Obama, it's because there's really nothing negative on the McCain side. At least that's the fair and balanced word he passed on to the caller.

But that was the least of Bill's objectivity capitulation. His "Big Story" of the day was the Ludacris lyrics from the song, "Politics as Usual," that purports an Obama victory along with smears on Hillary Clinton, McCain and George W. Bush.

O'Reilly's fair and balanced website teased the show: "Soon-to-be Democratic nominee Barack Obama is in hot water again, this time because of an ugly song boosting his candidacy by rapper Ludacris. If you are judged by the friends you keep, Obama would seem to have some explaining to do! Plus, guess who is playing the race card now? One clue: It isn't McCain."

What could be more fair and balanced than that?

By the way, the "It isn't McCain playing the race card," is the spin put out by the McCain campaign. Guess Bill isn't reading McCain talking points either.

On radio, Bill brought on Temple professor and Fox contributor, Marc Lamont Hill, an African-American, who was asked by Bill to "put yourself in the shoes of white folk. Don't analyze it from your point of view." One of the few black contributors at Fox -- one of the few real liberals -- and Bill wants him to answer as a white. And I'm guessing Bill didn't mean a liberal white. Bill took the Independent viewpoint. "This is going to hurt Obama." It didn't matter that Obama immediately criticized both the lyrics and Ludacris, saying they were "shameful." "It's about who are your friends," declared Bill, even though Bill was only able to list the ONE time they had met and that was to discuss AIDS. Hill, the least intimidated liberal of all the Fox Contributors, refused to set aside his own "shoes" and disagreed that this invented controversy would have any affect on undecided voters.

(By the way, not that Fox would ever listen to me, but if they really had any balls, they'd give Hill his own show)

On the FoxNews TV Factor that evening, the Obama race-baiting assault attempting to connect Obama accountability to Ludacris became even more...ludicrous. In his Talking Point Memo you needed a GPS to follow Bill's logic.

First Bill, who made this his major radio and TV story of the day, said that "No one cares what a person like Ludacris does -- his audience is small, his mind smaller." He then established "a slight association between the candidate and the rapper," owing to the fact that they had met ONCE. "In 2006 the two met privately in Chicago, apparently to discuss AIDS awareness." Within seconds Bill had kneaded that into "the lesson for Barack Obama is be careful who your friends are." Spin much, Bill?

Bill then brought on noted rap and race experts, Laura Ingraham, Bernie Goldberg and Jane Hall to analyze the big jam Obama had gotten in with whites because Ludacris had sung a song...that Obama had immediately condemned.

To be sure, Bill O'Reilly has been dealing the "black in the White House is pretty scary" card, doing not so covertly.

In one recent column he wrote: "Obama seems to be in. Now comes the hard part -- convincing Americans that he is the best choice for president without all hell breaking loose on the race front...Obama's second dilemma is convincing skeptical white voters that he and his wife are sympathetic to their concerns. Let's be honest -- few white Americans would tolerate a Reverend Wright for five minutes, much less 20 years."

But why has he ramped up the attacks, even when he had to basically contort the space-time continuum to put the Ludacris lyrics on the back of Obama?

One look no further than Bill's pet peeve: people refusing to come on his show. They don't and he goes on the attack. In the least they're branded "a coward" by Bill. Or he may just play a wee bit with the truth. On Thursday, it was the latter.

"(Obama) lied to my face."

What he meant was that when Bill showed up at an Obama rally and had his infamous "Don't block the shot" moment, Obama said he would come on with Bill "after the primaries." While the time-frame of "after the primaries" isn't exactly specific to date, Bill has decided that Obama's has not met his own time-frame. I.e. Obama's a liar.

Perhaps Obama doesn't see talking to the Factor Folks as doing him any good. Perhaps he sees Bill as a calculating ideologue who would do all he could to twist the Obama interview into something it wasn't. Or, with Bill showcasing his Hillary Clinton interview prior to the Texas and primary as rationale for Obama to show up on the Factor, Obama knew that Hillary lost the all important delegate vote that she had been favored to win. Sean Hannity pushed Hillary in the PA primary and she won big. Any wonder why it was Hannity who got the $100 million contract (which an insider at Fox has told me, that with profit sharing, is closer to $200 mil), and not Bill? I couldn't be sure, but I live in the Philadelphia area where Hannity's radio show airs from 3-6 PM in the big drive time slot while Bill's show airs in the prime 12PM to 2AM shift, hours after even two of his Factor fill-ins, Michael Smerconish (6-9AM) and Dom Giordano (9-12PM) show up.

But no matter what the motive was for his latest contortion into the race-baiting biz, it is clear that just as much as Michael Savage, no matter his protestations to the contrary, was demeaning Autistic kids, O'Reilly is gung-ho into scaring the Folks into believe that, electing Obama will cause, as Bill puts it, "all hell breaking loose on the race front."

Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" ( and blogs at

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Albion Monitor   July 31, 2008   (

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