Chris Hayes, the fresh-faced MSNBC host who recently tried to pass the late former segregationist Democrat George Wallace off as a Republican, and who used Memorial Day 2012 as an occasion to reject the idea that U.S. troops are heroes, compared Fox News host Bill O’Reilly to a Neo-Nazi film character on Friday.
Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher, cheering Hayes on (and anticipating conservative ripostes), recalls:
…Hayes played a clip from the film American History X that featured some cringeworthy liberal foils, but a familiar-sounding patter from Edward Norton’s skinhead character. “Look at the statistics, for Christ’s sake,” he says. “It’s one in every three black males is in some phase of correctional system. Is that a coincidence, or do these people have, you know, like a racial commitment to crime?”
“These are old arguments, right?” Hayes asks Rep. Lee. “These are arguments that are trotted out a lot.”
Rep. Lee agreed, and pointed out the inequities of the justice system that so many people, like O’Reilly, are blind to.
The resort to Nazi analogies is often a sign of the weakness of an argument. Don Lemon of CNN–no conservative, by any measure–took an approach that might leave Hayes and Christopher puzzled, saying that O’Reilly “didn’t go far enough” in identifying the cultural malaise affecting the black community.
RealClearPolitics provided the video and transcript of Lemon’s defense of O’Reilly:
O’REILLY: Raised without much structure, young black men often reject education and gravitate towards the street culture, drugs, hustling, gangs. Nobody forces them to do that, again, it is a personal decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He is right about that, too. But in my estimation, he doesn’t go far enough. Because black people, if you really want to fix the problem, here’s just five things that you should think about doing. Here’s number five, and if this doesn’t apply to you, if you’re not doing this, then it doesn’t apply to you, I’m not talking to you.
Here’s number five. Pull up your pants….
Hayes and Christopher might say that Lemon has the right to say that, while O’Reilly does not, since Lemon is black and O’Reilly is white. If so, I’ll leave them the task of defending that kind of racial discrimination.