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Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: The legacy of Nelson Mandela and the exploitation of it

By Bill O'Reilly

Nearly a hundred world leaders are in South Africa memorializing the late Nelson Mandela. The former President of South Africa died last week at age 95 and is a symbol of freedom all over the world.

Up until 1994, South Africa was run by a racist government and enforced laws keeping the majority of its citizens, black people, down that was called apartheid. Nelson Mandela led the fight for civil rights in his country and the white apartheid government put him in prison for 27 years. Think about that -- 27 years for trying to get equality for all South Africans.

After the apartheid government collapsed Mr. Mandela rose up to lead his nation. But with a legacy of oppression it was a very difficult task. I was in South Africa in 1995 when that country won the World Rugby Championship. It was a great moment. Mr. Mandela was in the stands. And South Africans were deliriously happy. I enjoyed my time in that country, but the poverty was unbelievable and remains so today.

As a young man, Nelson Mandela had Marxist leanings and dealt closely with communists. Check out a recent article in "The Economist" magazine, if you want specifics on that. Anyone who knows anything about South Africa understands Mr. Mandela's philosophy.

Enter the far left MSNBC network and Al Sharpton. As we have demonstrated in the past, Sharpton is a dishonest purveyor of information, a man who could not care less about reporting what's true. Last Friday, using Nelson Mandela as cover, Sharpton attacked me.


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: He said about Nelson Mandela last night on Fox.

O'REILLY: 95 years old.


O'REILLY: Nelson Mandela, I spent some time in South Africa -- he was a communist, this man.


O'REILLY: He was a communist. All right.

SHARPTON: Right this is not --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But don't you wonder where he was in South Africa? It wasn't like he was hanging out in Soweto that Bill O'Reilly I'm quite certain.


O'REILLY: Well, here I am in Soweto where I did spend some time. That woman Karen Finney a former spokesperson for the DNC obviously made a mistake. So I'm expecting a letter of apology from Ms. Finney by tomorrow. If she is honest she'll send it over. If she is like Sharpton and not honest she will not, and I will let you know what happens tomorrow evening.

As for Sharpton, he is a flat-out deceiver. Here is what I actually said about Mr. Mandela.


O'REILLY: 95 years old.


O'REILLY: Nelson Mandela -- I have spent some time in South Africa -- he was a communist, this man.


O'REILLY: He was a communist. All right? But he was a great man. What he did for his people was stunning, the sacrifices that he made. He could have repudiated it and got out of that prison. He wouldn't do it.


O'REILLY: So you can see that Sharpton cut out all the context as he has done many times before. Now, any other commentator on national TV would have been fired for doing that but, MSNBC seems to be afraid of Sharpton.

The thing is Sharpton uses the occasion of Nelson Mandela's death to dishonestly attack people he doesn't like. They don't come lower.

Now, President Obama made a good speech today. But he, like many other Americans, was a bit confused that Cuban human rights violator Raul Castro actually spoke at the memorial.


OBAMA: There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba's legacy of racial reconciliation but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality. There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba's struggle for freedom but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.


O'REILLY: Madiba is the tribal name of Nelson Mandela. President Obama is correct there are phonies all over the place saying one thing but actually oppressing the oppressed by their actions. Raul Castro -- certainly an example of that.

There comes a point when good people have to honor other good people even when they disagree with their philosophy. And that was the point I was making about Nelson Mandela.

There also comes a point when good people have to walk away from bad people who exploit situations for their own gain. And I think you all know who I'm talking about.

And that's "The Memo."

O'Reilly Factor, hosted by Bill O'Reilly, airs on Weekdays at 8PM ET on Fox News Channel.