Jewish World Review March 3, 2003 / 29 Adar I, 5763

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reiley
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Hey, it's personal | In this very turbulent time, Americans are still distrustful of the media that they are dependent upon for vital information. A brand-new Gallup Poll says that 60 percent of Americans believe the media is biased; 45 percent think the media too liberal; 15 percent say it is too conservative.

But take it from someone who has been a "media type" for almost 30 years, ideology is not the main problem, although it is a significant one. The primary problem with the press is a lack of courage.

While some newspapers and TV networks do impose an ideological filter on story selection and placement, most editors are far too busy to consistently push a candidate or even a consistent philosophy outside of the editorial page. But there is constant pressure on editors NOT to cover certain situations and stories, and this is an enormous disservice to the American people.

All over the country pressure groups, armed with political Web sites, have sprung up to challenge and in some cases intimidate the media. If you get on the wrong side of these groups, watch out, they will come after you with a vengeance.

Three specific examples: first, the "hip-hop industry" is angry with your humble correspondent for criticizing rappers like Ludacris and Jay-Z for their pernicious lyrics. It is my contention that glorifying the "gangsta" lifestyle and the anti-social behavior that it incorporates does tremendous damage to unsupervised and impressionable kids. My opinion is based partly on testimony by grammar school teachers in poor neighborhoods who say that many 10-year-old boys are now dressing like rappers and calling little girls bitches and ho's.

Because of my analysis, a hip-hop magazine has labeled me a "racist," even though white rappers like Eminem and "Insane Clown Posse" have come under my fire. Because I believe the rap industry is doing some harm, I have been racially demonized by some in that business who have a lot to lose if it goes south.

Second, my analysis of the chaotic border situation has resulted in my being labeled anti-Mexican, even though I have also focused on the Canadian border and blamed much of the problem on Presidents Clinton and Bush. No one disputes that the porous borders are dangerous in this age of terrorism, and it is undeniable that Mexican nationals themselves are being killed and injured trying to illegally cross over. Yet the fact that I would call for the military to back up the Border Patrol makes me an enemy of an entire ethnic group.

Three, as you may know, my television program was instrumental in breaking the Sami al-Arian story nationally a year and a half ago. During that time, I was routinely described as being anti-Muslim. And even AFTER al-Arian was arrested on terrorism charges, the two television critics working for Tampa Bay newspapers attacked me as being unfair and using McCarthy-like tactics.

Now, I can take the heat. I dish out plenty of commentary and have to expect backlash. But the personal attacks that are launched by special interest groups in this country have reached critical mass -- they are intruding on freedom of the press.

Threats of racial demonization have put a tremendous fear into the journalism industry. These kind of tactics have prevented some news organizations from covering news that is vital to the nation. The rap situation has been almost completely ignored by the elite media. The border chaos is underreported almost everywhere. And the al-Arian story was virtually ignored outside of Tampa until the feds popped him.

If you can't win the debate, smear your opponent. That's an old political trick that has been elevated by pressure groups to strategy No. 1. Americans are dependent on a free and courageous press. Honest debate and disagreement have made our country strong. All of us must realize that racial demonizaton is now organized and well funded, and it will not end until everyday people begin condemning it.

In this time of terror, Americans must come together and face the cold, hard truth about the world. Using the race card to frighten the press hurts us all.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.


02/24/03: A peace of the action
02/18/03: Cash for what?
02/10/03: Runaway train
02/03/03: Dissenting dishonest dissent
01/27/03: The Clooney Factor
01/21/03: Poverty-inducing entertainment
01/13/03: To protect and serve
12/30/02: Global double Crossing
12/30/02: The villains of 2002
12/23/02: Finding offense where none is intended is a form of selfishness
12/16/02: The Houston lesson
12/09/02: Somewhere Santa is weeping
12/02/02: A taxing situation
11/26/02: Talk is expensive when it comes to Bill Moyers
11/18/02: Sanity has left the building
11/11/02: The right stuff
11/04/02: The Attorney General blues
10/28/02: This ain't no game
10/21/02: It's only rock and roll, but it's brutal
10/14/02: The root of all evil
10/07/02: When children murder
09/23/02: The death of outrage
09/17/02: Singing a different tune
09/09/02: Answering my critics about the Roush case
09/03/02: Let's misbehave
08/26/02: Money makes the world go 'round
08/19/02: Long live the King
08/12/02: A friendly reminder
08/05/02: Heaven only knows
07/29/02: Blood money
07/22/02: Suffer the children
07/15/02: Reaching critical mass
07/08/02: Believe it or not
07/01/02: Charity begins at home
06/24/02: Spinning a tale and the case for "Stupid White Men"
06/17/02: Blank those Europeans!
06/10/02: What does Bono want from us?
06/03/02: On fighting evil
05/28/02: A Tale of Two Churches
05/20/02: Crimes against humanity
05/13/02: Silence of the lambs
05/06/02: Hide the children
04/29/02: 'Paul, Paul, Paul!'
04/22/02: Barbarians in the Church
04/15/02: Pray for peace, polish the weapons
03/11/02: Do no harm? Time to spank "Dr. Phil"
03/04/02: Promoting the general welfare
02/25/02: Who's responsible?
02/19/02: Lay it on them
02/11/02: Buy dope, fund terror
02/04/02: Back room deals
01/28/02: From boom to bust
01/21/02: The Fairness Doctrine
01/14/02: Hey, Paula, take it to the bank and hush up
01/07/02: And justice for none
12/31/01: All that's left
12/24/01: Santa is appalled
12/17/01: Fight the power
12/10/01: The black challenge
12/03/01: How things have changed
11/26/01: Waiting in the Bushes
11/19/01: The sign of the Cross
11/09/01: Hollyweird strikes back
11/06/01: The fear factor
10/26/01: Show me the money
10/22/01: See no evil
10/15/01: Peace, but no quiet
10/08/01: The air war
10/01/01: I don't understand
09/24/01: We are all soldiers, and we have a job to do
09/14/01: Evil on display
09/11/01: Family matters!
09/04/01: End of summer blues
08/27/01: Summertime -- and the livin' ain't easy
08/20/01: The rap on rap
08/13/01: The truth hurts
08/06/01: Amnesty for illegals: Bush's political investment
07/30/01: The big picture on Condit-Levy
07/24/01: Silence of the Shams
07/16/01: Condit, Kennedy and cable news
07/09/01: Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence
07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate