Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cotton O'Reilly Comes to Harlem

Proving that some conservatives are open to new, potentially mind-changing, experiences, talk-show host Bill O'Reilly shared his observations about a recent trip to Sylvia's, a black-owned restaurant in Harlem.

Said Bill, "I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship."

Get over it Bill.

Bill went on to add, "There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.' You know, I mean, everybody was -- it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn't any kind of craziness at all."

No craziness excepting Bill.

Finally, about the meal itself, "I like that soul food. I had the meatloaf special. I had coconut shrimp. I had the iced tea. It was great."

As Gomer Pyle would say, "Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!"

If the radio gig ever fizzles out, Bill has a fine future in ethnography.

NEXT EPISODE: Bill quiera Taco Bell!


Sidney C. Gray said...

O'Reilly went to this restaurant with Al Sharpton for dinner. In an interview with Rev Sharpton after some people took O'Reilly's words out of context, Sharpton said that at no time did O'Reilly say anything wrong or offensive to any group of people. Juan Williams stood with O'Reilly on his show last night when O'Reilly explained the context in which others who detest O'Reilly took his words and made this an issue. Go to Bill O' and look at the whole segment and watch his show tonight as Rev Sharpton will be his guest. Sidney

Dave Ribar said...


Please let me know if any of the quotes are incorrect. There are no ellipses; each quote includes several sentences together. The quoted remarks are all his words, including explanations that he gave to Juan Williams. The link in the post provides more complete quotes, but they don't seem to change the meaning.

Also, in what context would any of these quotes be okay?

We're not talking about a slip of the tongue or a misplaced word here. O'Reilly made several comments all in a row that ALL indicate that he was surprised by what he found in the restaurant.

I can only think of two plausible explanations for his statements. First, O'Reilly was genuinely surprised and somehow expected that behavior at a black establishment would be different than at other establishments. Expectations along those lines (e.g., blacks addressing everyone as "M-fer") would be extremely prejudiced. Second, maybe O'Reilly wasn't surprised but thought that his audience would be; so he took this as an opportunity to inform them. Third, they might just be stupid comments that don't reflect his thinking, but if that was the case he wouldn't go to the trouble of defending them. So, we're left with options 1 and 2, which indicate that either he's prejudiced or that he thinks his audience is.

Finally, do the references to Al Sharpton and Juan Williams mean that all of this is okay because some of his best friends are black?

Bubba said...

Sharpton said he had not yet heard the tape and, to his credit, he didn't run his mouth about something which he did not not yet understand completely.

Sidney C. Gray said...

Bubba-- that is correct. He said O'Reilly did not say anything offensive to him personally while they had dinner and that he (Sharpton) would review the tapes. Sidney

Bubba said...

lqThat won't stop certain folks with a certain agenda from trying to slime O'Reilly.

It's similar to what the News and Record, Mitch Johnson, certain local bloggers and most of the current city council has tried to do and is still doing to David Wray.

O'Reilly can legitimately be criticized in several different areas. This is not one of those areas.

Dave Ribar said...


How is quoting Bill O'Reilly word-for-word and providing a link to a more complete transcript "sliming" him?

What happened to "we report, you decide" and "no spin?" These are his comments.

Moreover, didn't you just post a quote from Hillary Clinton last week? If we apply your current criticism, you seem to be arguing that you were "sliming" her. When we discussed this on your blog, I was able to point out the missing context (she was quoting a gospel hymm word-for-word with attribution). If there is a missing context here that makes these comments more reasonable, it would be great to see it.

O'Reilly is now spinning (sorry, there's no better word for it) a story that his comments were made to help people like his grandmother who hold racial stereotypes. The story doesn't explain why he said that he "couldn't get over the fact that the was no difference between" the black restaurant and other establishments. But again, if there is some context that explains his personal surprise, a lot of people would love to read it.

eric said...

The issue isn't what O'Reilly said during his private dinner conversation with Sharpton, but what he said on a public radio broadcast. There is no dispute as to his words, nor any legitimate argument that they were "taken out of context" (the predictable first refuge of a scoundrel). We don't need Al Sharpton (as if Bubba really values his opinion!), nor anyone else, to evaluate O'Reilly's remarks. They are racist on their face.

Bubba said...

The recording of the broadcast in no means backs the ill-founded notion that thety were racist.

And THAT'S the bottom line, regardless of pious pontifications to the contrary.

Bubba said...

Juan Williams says those who are criticizing O'Reilly on this are wrong.


"Preceding those remarks, O'Reilly had said, 'I don't think there's a black American who hasn't had a personal insult that they've had to deal with because of the color of their skin. I don't think there's one in the country. So you've got to accept that as being the truth. People deal with that stuff in a variety of ways. Some get bitter. Some say, [unintelligible] 'You call me that, I'm gonna be more successful.' OK, it depends on the personality."

Dave Ribar said...


It's great that another Fox News regular is willing to back O'Reilly. William's comment also supports O'Reilly's insight "I think black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves."

Hmmm, Bill, what were they doing before?

BTW, the quote of O'Reilly that you provided is included verbatim in the original Media Matters post. So, it appears that he was quoted accurately, with the proper context supplied, and not "slimed" by them.

Doug Johson said...

You prove ever day what I say. Not one cent of taxpayers dollars should be spent on colleges. Just another friggin left wing nut. Watch CNN and read the Greensboro NR, it suits your left wing BS.

Bubba said...

"It's great that another Fox News regular is willing to back O'Reilly."

Nice marginalization of a respected liberal writer/pundit and a first person eyewitness opinion who has more credibility than you and the rest of those who slime O'Reilly on this issue.

On the other hand, if your intent is to simply prop up some bogus agenda item talking point, then it becomes understandable why you would say something of the nature you did.

Dave Ribar said...


You still haven't written how O'Reilly was "slimed" by either me or by the MediaMatters post. I'll fess up to the snide comments in italics (I better), but that's a far cry from sliming.

For what it's worth, Williams has marginalized himself in this. His actions--especially his failure to question some of O'Reilly's remarks when they first occurred have left a lot of people, including me, scratching their heads. In any case, stating that O'Reilly has the support of another Fox employee is a pretty tepid endorsement.

You clearly take this issue very seriously. So much so that you will now promise not to post quotes without context, right?

Bubba said...

Take off the blinders, Dave.

Dave Ribar said...


Please elaborate on your comment, and please, please, please provide the context that explains O'Reilly's remarks. I promise to stop asking if you'll help poor ol' Bill out.

Isn't quoting stuff like this your and O'Reilly's stock in trade? All the post does is let O'Reilly be O'Reilly. Indeed, by posting his words, the page helps him to get his "no spin" message across, no?

Bubba said...

My last post speaks for itself on this subject Dave.

God Almighty could descend from the heavens with a mighty roar, accompanied by Jesus Christ and all the Saints to declare you're wrong on this issue, and you STILL wouldn't acknowledge that which doesn't fit in to your preconceived notions on this subject.

Dave Ribar said...


We'll leave it in the Lord's hands then. I'm sure that one day, He and Bill will have a very brief conversation.

Bubba said...

No, let's leave it to William's first person account.


"This is so far from the truth of the conversation on the radio that it is beyond a matter of words being taken out of context. This is a pathetic cowardly, personal attack against me intended to damage my credibility and invalidate any support I offer to O'Reilly against the charges that he is a racist."

Feel free to marginalize Williams again, Dave.

eric said...

"Juan Williams said it. Bubba believes it. That settles it."

Some of us prefer to make up our own minds, based on the actual words spoken.

Bubba said...

"Some of us prefer to make up our own minds, based on the actual words spoken."

Like many others of a similar inclination, including the keeper of this blog, it sounds like your mind has a preset filter to allow only what you want to hear to support your particular worldview.

And, as always, the filter is highly selective in its actual performance.

No big surprise.

Dave Ribar said...


The blogger who went on CNN and called Williams a "happy negro" was out of line; the comment was inexcusable.

I do, however, believe that Williams has marginalized himself in his unequivocal defense of the indefensible. My guess--and this is only a guess--is that he has boxed himself into a corner by participating in the early interview with O'Reilly and not catching the comment at the time. This has led to a too-vigorous defense of O'Reilly's comments. Sadly, he is also following O'Reilly's favorite tactic of vilifying anyone who criticizes O'Reilly or him.

So even though Williams is a respected and usually even-handed journalist, it's hard to treat him as an objective source in this particular case.

Consider O'Reilly's comments on Sen. Biden's stupid and insenstive statement that Barack Obama was the "first sort of mainstream African-American, who is articulate and bright and clean."

Said O'Reilly, "Now the word, 'clean' cleaned Biden's clock. And it should have. Even though the senator meant no harm, you can't use the word 'clean' to describe a person and not expect questions to be raised."

Similarly, you can't say that you just "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between" a black restaurant and a white restaurant and not expect questions to be raised. You also can't say that "black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves" and not expect questions.

If O'Reilly can make criticisms along these lines, why can't others when he does the same stupid thing? To the extent that O'Reilly, Williams, you, and others continue to defend these cringe-making comments, you all marginalize yourselves and show who is really wearing the blinders.

Bubba said...

"I do, however, believe that Williams has marginalized himself in his unequivocal defense of the indefensible."


You're wrong again.

And inconsistent to boot.