Is NBC Rewarding Bad Behavior by Having Rapper Chris Brown Perform on the 'Today' Show?

Controversial rapper Chris Brown performs on 'Today' show


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 15, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: In my brand-new book, "Of Thee I Zing," I satirize and expose the cultural rot that's eating away at American society. Think about this: Charlie Sheen, Eminem, Kesha, the dubious new musical sensation whose "Get Sleazy" tour is raking in millions. And today I was proven right once again. Now, you may remember that singer Chris Brown when he pleaded guilty to beating his then-girlfriend Rihanna back in 2009. Sane Americans were disgusted by his violent behavior but that did not stop him from getting top billing this morning on the "Today" show.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, here he is, Chris Brown.


INGRAHAM: Is that actually singing? We decided to send "Factor" producer Dan Bank over to NBC to talk with some of the Chris Brown fans.


DAN BANK, "FACTOR" PRODUCER: Are you concerned at all with what he did to Rihanna?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see my face? I'm not even worried about that.

BANK: You don't believe the police reports?


BANK: Why did Chris…

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't believe it was like that bad and I believe that she probably sparked the situation.

BANK: I just want to show you this one picture because here is a picture of Rihanna after the incident and I have never seen a picture of Chris Brown where it showed that he had any sort of injuries that are anywhere close to this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel bad that this situation happened. My advice: She should have walked out the car.

BANK: Do you think at all that you are rewarding bad behavior by staying out here?



INGRAHAM: At least an honest answer. And with us now to analyze all this, Jehmu Greene, she's a Fox News contributor, and Cooper Lawrence, author of the book "The Cult of Celebrity." How appropriate today.

Ladies, a couple of nights ago my collaborator, Raymond Roy and I were going down 48th street here in Manhattan. And we both thought this is weird, there are all these people sleeping in the street. And I thought, my gosh, the economy really is bad; there's a line of people sleeping in the streets. There are tents. There were like little cooking stoves. I couldn't believe it. And then we realized they were camping out two nights early to see Chris Brown. Now, whatever you think of his music, Chris Brown beat his girlfriend to a pulp. He uses the n-word, the c-word, the s-word, the f-word, some of the most degrading misogynistic lyrics in some of his top songs like "Look at Me Now." And he trashed the ABC studio, yet he is treated like royalty, the pope, whatever the best analogy is on the "Today" show. Ladies, jump in here.

JEHMU GREENE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: He also uses the h-word, which is like, oh the haters, stop hating on me. And has no understanding he needed to be held accountable for his actions. Watching that video it's just really, really sad to see those young women not being able to recognize that he is giving, I think, all millennial celebrities a bad rap. He is really focused, I think, on the church of me and there are others, whether it is Paris Hilton or Kesha.

INGRAHAM: That is a great word, narcissism.

GREENE: They use all of these great technologies and towering technologies to focus on the church of me but also I think in Chris Brown's example, a prime example of the black entertainment complex not holding him accountable. The response to…

INGRAHAM: How about the white entertainment complex? I mean, everyone. I mean -- and NBC. These people who are anchors at NBC, they are great parents, they're good people. I'm sure they wouldn't let their kids go around using this language or behaving this way. But, you know, I guess the executives at NBC thought they are going to get 18,000 people camping out guys. And this is what happened. This is why I wrote this book. 3.4 million Twitter followers.


COOPER LAWRENCE, AUTHOR, "THE CULT OF CELEBRITY": Let me just tell you -- I'm not here to defend Chris Brown…

INGRAHAM: What's going on in the culture?

LAWRENCE: …but I want to explain to what is going on in the culture because this is what my book is about. There is two main things going on. One is we make these social comparisons and we do this in group/out group. And once we decide someone is in our in group, we are unwilling to see what is blatant in front of us. You showed that person a picture of what Rihanna looked like. Oh, I don't think that is her. I don't know what she did to instigate that. It's this blind faith that people have in their celebrities once they decide they are in the in group.

INGRAHAM: Who creates that? Is that the family allowing this filth into the ear buds?

LAWRENCE: That is what celebrity has become. That's celebrity right there.

INGRAHAM: But this -- a lot of these people we talk to are kids.

LAWRENCE: No, no. But they spend their time and money…

INGRAHAM: A lot of them were 14, 15 -- intimate time with screens.

LAWRENCE: Exactly. That's what it is. The illusion of intimacy -- the illusion of intimacy it is called.

GREENE: The more he is given a platform then the more…

INGRAHAM: What does it say to people?

GREENE: …the less accountable then that people are going to be able to hold him. He is able to walk away from it.

INGRAHAM: What does it say to young people?

GREENE: It gives a really, really bad example but I think what it also does against young people is perpetuates a stereotype.

INGRAHAM: A stereotype of the African-Americans, too.

GREENE: Absolutely.

INGRAHAM: African-Americans are given a bad rap by a guy who has -- I can't read most of these lyrics but I will some. This is "Look at Me Now," one of his top hits in the world actually.

"Little n-word bigger than gorilla because I'm killing every blank n-word that try to be on my s-word."

How is this good for any one, including him? And I actually feel bad for him because I don't know what happened to him. I don't know if he got mixed up with some really bad entertainment managers. I don't know if it's a family thing. I have no idea. But underneath it all might be a man of great talent but he needs help and we shouldn't be giving him the platform.

LAWRENCE: You were brilliant saying the church of me because they did a research on it that says that people -- I wish you would have asked these people how religious are you? The less religious you are, the more likely you are to worship a celebrity.

INGRAHAM: Yes. But let's talk about Kesha. She's 24 years old. She came from Nashville. She said I came from this really -- basically a conservative national family but now I just want to tell everyone to be themselves. Well, Kesha on her "Get Sleazy" tour, her song "Blow" and "Sleazy" basically invites men into her trailer, takes pictures of their private parts and then posts them on the wall of her trailer as little photographic trophies. Young women, listening to this, this is your culture. How is this empowering? This cuts across every age group: younger, 30 somethings, 20 somethings, teens are ingesting this stuff on a daily basis. Kesha. What goes on? And she's one of the top-selling artists in the United States.

GREENE: You know, I'm not a fan of censorship.

INGRAHAM: Not just censorship -- this is about parents and culture.

GREENE: Who gave her her record contract? Why aren't more young women like Taylor Swift given an opportunity?

INGRAHAM: Well, she has a pretty big record contract, too.

GREENE: I think there are institutions that are really benefiting off of promoting this type of behavior.

INGRAHAM: The family is what is not involved here. Don't you think? I mean -- again, I can't read you most of the lyrics in these songs. Whether it is Cee Lo Green, the f-word is in every song. Enrique Iglesias, you know his father obviously was Julio Iglesias, "To All the Girls I've Loved Before." And his is "I Want to Blank you Tonight." How do you go from "To All the Girls I Loved Before" to "I want to blank"? And again, this is what we steep our children in and we wonder why kids are so depressed today, teen suicide, dropout rate, low self-esteem. We sit around here thinking, oh this is wonderful, everyone is self-actualizing and everyone's being themselves and, Jehmu, you can take it away here. But to me, I think we have to admit. We can laugh at it and some of it is funny but a lot of it is really, really starkly degrading.

GREENE: I definitely think there is a celebration of bad behavior and there's some accountability that the media institutions have to take for it. But I also think it's important not to use that as a reflection of the broader generation because unfortunately, these are the role models. This is what is representing the millennial generation.

INGRAHAM: Do they know the name of Medal of Honor winner, the recipient, excuse me, of three days ago or do they know what Kesha's latest, you know…

GREENE: Speaking of the Medal of Honor, think of all of the young men and women who are fighting on the frontlines who are doing so much for the service who don't get that attention.

INGRAHAM: They don't get the platform.

GREENE: They don't have three million Twitter followers.

INGRAHAM: We can do better. I think we can all conclude that. Thanks so much, ladies.

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