Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was full of his usual hypocrisy as he went off last night about the death of Michael Jackson. O’Reilly started off on a respectful note, saying, “The family of Michael Jackson honored his memory today in Los Angeles. And I do not, do not wish to intrude on that. They are entitled to grieve any way they want.” However, he then decided to intrude, saying that he was “just about fed up with all the adulation” because it’s “basically grandstanding and pathetic in the extreme.”
O’Reilly was also offended at the “racial component” to the Jackson coverage. “The message is very clear, if you criticize Michael Jackson, you hate black people,” said O’Reilly. He, however, then injected race into the discussion by telling Fox News analyst Marc Lamont Hill that blacks shouldn’t look up to Jackson:
O’REILLY: Okay, then why is he being held up by the African-American community as a pillar of black America when he blanches his skin? [...]
But answer me this, if he is such a black American icon, why did he have his kids with white men?
HILL: That’s a personal matter. That doesn’t make him less black. There’s no blackness meter here. You don’t become less black when you have a white kid.
O’REILLY: You don’t become an African-American icon when you do something like that.
HILL: No, you become an African-American icon for producing the greatest music and being the greatest entertainer ever for being extraordinary humanitarian and for.
O’REILLY: No. You just become an American icon for that, not a black American icon. [...]
HILL: It’s not — oh, he is an American idol — icon. He is quintessentially American, but he’s also undeniably black. You can’t take black from him just because he has white kids.
That’s right — O’Reilly, who has said he is “terrified” about interacting with African-Americans and is amazed that a restaurant “run by blacks” is like “any other restaurant in New York City,” is now dictating whom people of color should hold up as icons.