Racial politics, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo". As you may know, Bill Bennett is getting hammered over his remarks about race. The story is actually getting bigger. Here's what Mr. Bennett said on his radio program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL BENNETT, "MORNING IN AMERICA" HOST: One of the arguments in this book, "Freakonomics," that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, this — they deal with this hypothesis that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don't think that statistic is accurate.
BENNETT: Well, I don't think it is either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BENNETT: I don't think it is either, because first of all, I think there's just too much that you don't know.
But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do. But your crime rate would go down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, today, Louis Farrakhan (search) announced that his group would attempt to further persecute Bennett because the pundit, according to Farrakhan, proposed genocide. That, of course, is absolutely false, as the tape proves. But I guess Farrakhan couldn't care less about the truth. They're witch hunters.
As for Bennett's remarks, you can make the call on those. I will say it's foolish for any American to generalize about any race of people. You gain nothing about doing it.
Black Americans are understandably sensitive about any racial comment made by a Caucasian because of past history. Every African-American in the country has experienced bias. And that experience is painful and permanent. You don't forget that kind of stuff.
So white America has to understand there are different standards in conversation. And those standards must be respected.
Now it is true that the most vile things imaginable can be said about the white majority with little consequence. For example, far left columnist Jimmy Breslin (search) brutally attacked the Catholic church during a priest scandals in a way that was personal and hateful. Newsday published Breslin's garbage, but little was said about it. No question America has a different set of rules for different groups.
Now I feel sorry for Bill Bennett. I know the man. He has a history of helping African-Americans. He and his wife Elaine are deeply involved in a charity called Best Friends (search), which sets up mentors to help black inner city kids. Best Friends has helped thousands of black children. It's a tremendous project. And the Bennetts have poured time and money into it for many years.
Now did you hear anyone report that? Anyone?
We live in a time where smear Web sites monitor media people with whom they disagree looking to hurt them. Bill Bennett made the mistake of generalizing about race. He's paying a horrific price for that mistake.
But Bennett has done more for African-Americans than most of his critics will ever do. That is certain. So again, you make the call on all of this, now that you have all the facts.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Donald Sutherland is a great actor, but not many people remember that he was Jane Fonda's right-hand man during the Vietnam War protest days. The America-baiting BBC does remember, however, and gave Sutherland the microphone to say this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD SUTHERLAND, ACTOR: They were inept. They were inadequate to the task, and they lied, and they insulted, and they were vindictive and they were heartless. They did not care. They do not care about Iraqi people. They do not care about the families of dead soldiers. They only care about profit. And they will destroy our lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Wow. I didn't know it was that bad. They, of course, being the Bush administration. Ridiculous? Nah...
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Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York.