Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: The media race baiting begins

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By Bill O'Reilly

As you may know, there is a new book out about the Obamas in which the First Lady is discussed at length. ABC News reported on the book last night and used me, your humble correspondent, to represent pundits critical of Michelle Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A new book called "The Obamas" paint the portrait of a First Lady who in the beginning was frustrated and unhappy with life in the White House. The image of an angry Michelle Obama has long been fodder for critics.

O'REILLY: I have a lot of people who call me on the radio and say she looks angry. And I have to say there's some validity to that. She looks like an angry woman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Well that sounds kind of bad, does it not? But here is the context. That interview was done about three and a half years ago... three and a half years ago when the country was still getting to know Mrs. Obama who did have some problems in the beginning. You will remember the "proud of her country" remark.

My interview back then was with Rebecca Johnson who wrote a profile on Michelle Obama for "Vogue" magazine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REBECCA JOHNSON, "VOGUE" MAGAZINE: I found her lovely, actually. Very bright, very thoughtful and you know, an impressive person, intelligent and she was great. I was impressed.

O'REILLY: I have a lot of people who call me on the radio and say she looks angry. And I have to say there's some validity to that. She looks like an angry woman. Did you ask her about that?

JOHNSON: Don't they say that about you too?

O'REILLY: Yes but I'm not running... I'm not going to be the First Lady. I hope not anyway.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: As usual I did my job. I asked the tough questions about Mrs. Obama because there was a perception and everybody knows it that she was not happy-go-lucky. In fact she told CBS News she is tired of being labeled an angry black woman. That's what she said.

On "The Factor" Ms. Johnson was given plenty of time to set the record straight as she saw it. That's why we had her on. Subsequently since the Obamas have occupied the White House I have been generally favorable to Michelle Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: The President and First Lady were very gracious to me. This was the first time I spoken to Michelle Obama and I was impressed. She's charismatic, articulate and beautiful.

Mrs. Obama was participating in the Healthy Kids Fair and the hula hoop is good exercise for the mid section. For being hoop conscious Michelle Obama is a patriot.

For trying to help American vets the First Lady is a patriot.

But don't you think that Michelle Obama speaking out about healthy food is... I think it's noble. I think it's a good thing.

Then they brought her into the White House Michelle Obama and they basically placed her in a position where she is glamorous and she is. She is like Jacqueline Kennedy.

I believe Michelle Obama is a good woman who wants the best for all Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: But those statements did not fit into the narrative that ABC News wanted to present last night. That of guys like me hammering Michelle Obama.

ABC News also did not tell its audience that it got its clip they used on me from the far left Web site Media Matters which is in business solely to smear non-liberal media people.

Now we brought the situation to ABC's attention today and they say from now on they'll call people like me who are injected into their news coverage. And I think it's important. Because I'm simply not going to let... I'm not going to let the presidential campaign degenerate into a race- baiting media propaganda exposition. All who participate in that and there are plenty of them are going to be called out on it.

From my vantage point Michelle Obama has been a fine First Lady helping kids and articulating important issues like nutrition. For ABC News to paint me as critical of her is flat-out dishonest. All of us have a lot riding on the presidential election this year. It's about America's future. So let's cut the crap. Shall we?

And that's "The Memo."

"Pinheads & Patriots."

Our pal Jay Leno raising money for the Fisher House, a very fine charity which helps the families of badly wounded American military people.

Now, on January 21 in Scottsdale, Arizona, Leno's tractor, signed by President George W. Bush, will be sold at the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction. That is a big deal. The proceeds from the tractor -- you see Bush's signature there -- going to the Fisher House.

Leno will be at the auction, and he is patriot for doing that. You may remember our campaign with Fisher House last year raised $1.1 million. So we are very happy that they are back in the spotlight.