During Monday night’s broadcast of The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly interviewed former KKK leader David Duke regarding the recent controversy surrounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) speaking at a white supremacist conference in 2002. The revelation over Scalise’s attendance at the convention has brought Duke, a former Senate and gubernatorial candidate, back into the limelight. Making the most of his mainstream media exposure, Duke used his time on O’Reilly’s show to push the agenda that the “mass media” has let black leaders like President Obama and Nelson Mandela off the hook while suppressing the voice of European whites.
On the surface, it would appear that O’Reilly took Duke to task several times during the short interview. Using his typical blustering tone, the former Inside Edition host cutoff Duke numerous times, pointing out that while Duke may wish to pretend he’s not a white supremacist, that is exactly who he is. Scalise was barely discussed as Duke said he was in a different country during the conference and had to phone in his speech. Therefore, he could not be sure if Scalise was present. However, he does know Scalise was scheduled to appear.
O’Reilly fans will point to the host’s constant prodding of Duke to force him to admit that he’s a white supremacist as further proof that O’Reilly is ‘fair and balanced.’ However, while O’Reilly did indeed play the moral authority and act as if he was disgusted with Duke’s ideology, in the end, O’Reilly threw Duke a bone or two and validated some of Duke’s arguments that white Christians are victims of the media.
During their back and forth, after Duke had made statements that the media had not heavily reported Nelson Mandela’s involvement with the Communist Party, O’Reilly pointed out that he had actually reported it and he agrees with Duke that mainstream media is “sympathetic for the left.” At the end of the interview, O’Reilly, in an apparent attempt to denounce Duke’s view, made the following comment:
“Mr. Duke, don’t sit here and tell me you’re not trying to promote the cause of white people, ’cause you are! The problem with this garbage — on both sides — is that we’re all in it together and skin color doesn’t matter.”
Ahh, there it is. The good ol’ Both Sides Do It argument, a favorite at Fox News and one of O’Reilly’s stand-by phrases. Whenever that is used, it effectively lets the offending party off the hook since, you know, both sides do it. Therefore, with O’Reilly saying this, he is essentially telling Duke that black racism against whites is just as bad as white supremacy. So, while BillO might be puffing his chest and shouting out that Duke is a bad person who spouts racist propaganda, underneath it all he is still allowing Duke to portray himself a victim of mainstream media who isn’t getting “a fair shake.”
Below is video of the interview, courtesy of Fox News:
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).