Not a good time to be a kid in America. That's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" memo.
The Factor is spreading out. We'll be reporting for the Fox Broadcast Network a few times over the next year, and the first Factor special will be called "The Corruption of the American Child."
In researching this, I'm listening to all kinds of rap music, watching teen-friendly TV and movies, and studying the kid culture in general. All I have to say is it is a jungle out there, and if a child has irresponsible parents, that jungle can ruin him or her.
The wicked part of the degeneration of kid entertainment is that it hurts the poor the most. Rappers like Insane Clown Posse and Jay-Z are idolized by some children most at risk. If these kids adopt the anti-social ways of the rappers and absorb the violent video-game culture, their odds of getting a good job and developing stable relationships are slim.
Now, last night, I went back in time and attended a Beach Boys concert. Mike Love is the only original member left, but I was struck by how much fun that music still is. No hos, no drugs, no guns, no F words. Just catchy tunes designed to bring smiles and relieve some stress. Very unlike the dark world of rap.
The rappers themselves all have their games down. They say they do have positive images and that they're just entertainers. These are Jerry Springer-like rationalizations, and they just don't cut it when 60 percent of poor fourth graders in the USA can't even read.
Like it or not, the ticket out of poverty and bad circumstance is education and discipline, not swearing and obscene tattoos.
In just a few moments, I will state my case to rap mogul Russell Simmons who thinks I'm completely out of it. Maybe he's right. You might want to stick around for that debate.
But in my world, the world of reality, you have to fight your way out of poverty. Taking drugs, hating whitey or anybody else, and defying conventional power just ain't going to cut it, and that's what the rappers in general are selling these days, and that's what millions of kids are buying.
And that's the memo.
Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for the "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." One of the great things about doing The Factor is the diversity of our audience. I mean, it's hard to believe all the different kinds of people who like the program. Don't believe me? Well listen to this. Rock guy Marilyn Manson told me face to face, he's a Factor fan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARILYN MANSON, MUSICIAN: I just like the fact that you don't pull any punches, you go straight to the heart of the matter, you're not a sensationalist. I think you're a respectable newscaster. When I want to see something that's honest and right to the point, this is the show that I watch. I don't watch any of the other ones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: I was hiding under the table during that interview. But I wonder what demographic that falls under? We'll have the full interview with Mr. Manson next Monday. And trust me, you will want to see it. Do we have a theme tonight about this rock stuff?
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