About a week ago, the news was abuzz regarding an MSNBC reporter, David Shuster who was suspended for two weeks for wondering whether Chelsea Clinton was “pimped out” by her mother’s presidential campaign in her recent appearances. The Clinton campaign issued a swift response, where Hillary Clinton cited her role as a mother first and blasted MSNBC and the reporter for his “incredibly offensive” remark.
Fast forward about a week, and Bill O’Reilly, the outspoken Fox News host, makes the following statement about Michelle Obama in reference to her recent comments about being proud of America, “I don’t want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there’s evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that’s how she really feels — that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever — then that’s legit. We’ll track it down.” To my knowledge, none of the presidential campaigns have come out and addressed this remark head-on. O’Reilly’s producer has explained that the remarks were made in repudiation of anyone attacking Michelle Obama. Regardless, the use of the term “lynching” in reference to anyone, but especially an African-American, is deplorable.
Why the double standard? David Shuster was suspended for his “pimp” remarks, but Bill O’Reilly doesn’t have to apologize or suffer any consequences. I find both remarks offensive, but why does hurtful and hateful language in reference to a white woman inspire outrage and punishment, while similar language in reference to a black woman doesn’t? ProfBWoman at WOC, PhD, writes, “Not only is the suggestion that someone should be lynched for speaking offensive and wrong but to say it about the potential future first lady without the slightest concern for the consequences speaks volumes about the nation we live in and the mindset of some in it.” She also points out in a following comment that if Hillary Clinton spoke out on the “lynching” comment as she did with the “pimping” comment that she could repair some of the damage that her campaign has caused with black voters. I have been waiting for Hillary Clinton to say something about this comment, especially given her relationship with Rupert Murdoch, the conservative media tycoon who owns Fox News. Remember a few weeks ago Senator Clinton wanted to debate Barack Obama on the Fox network?
Now, I realize that Barack Obama’s campaign is probably not going to make a big deal out of this comment. We minorities walk a fine line when addressing offensive remarks aimed in our direction, especially when it can be suggested that said minorities on the receiving end are playing “the race card.” Therefore, it is much easier for a white person, especially one with a relationship to the network in question’s ownership, to raise the issue regarding such hate speech. If not Hillary Clinton, then why not Bill? Or better yet, why isn’t the mainstream media treating O’Reilly’s comment like the Imus incident? This isn’t the first time Bill O’Reilly has made such remarks.