This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 17, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Impact" segment tonight, Bill Cosby, the co-author of a new book entitled "Come On, People". And in that book, Cosby rails against what he sees is irresponsibility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL COSBY, AUTHOR: If you really understand what Bill Cosby is saying, if you really listen, he's saying get an education. Drive your children with love and care and they will feel confident when they go to school. If you say that my black child is going to do more time for selling crack cocaine then your white child for selling cocaine, then I'm going to tell my black child don't sell it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Well, as usual, there's controversy over Cosby's point of view. And joining us now from Los Angeles is columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson.
Look, I'm sympathetic to Cosby's point of view. And I told this to Jesse Jackson a couple of weeks ago, because there is no doubt that the collapse of the family in the African-American precincts has led to all kinds of social problems. And basically Cosby is saying look, you got to knock that off.
I mean, the other stuff, yes, we can debate, but I think that is a rock solid core problem within the African-American community. Am I wrong?
EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, no, you're not wrong. In fact, Cosby's not wrong either. But here's the problem. Listen to what he said, Bill. We listened very carefully. And also, I've read the book.
And by the way, nothing different in the book than Cosby hasn't been saying for the last three, four years.
HUTCHINSON: Get an education. Tell your kid not to sell drugs. Don't do crime. Don't join gangs.
Well, look, any sane, sober person with a tenth of a brain is going to agree with that, but here's the problem with that. The problem is it's giving the perception that kids don't in many parts of our community, in fact, get an education. In fact, many kids don't sell drugs. Many kids don't join gangs.
The problem I really have is Cosby is very intentioned, well meaning. And we give him that. Wait. Has essentially painted too broad a brush, given the image and given the perception, and even given the view to much of America that most, if not all, of black America, including much of the black poor, are totally dysfunctional. That's the problem I have.
O'REILLY: OK. So you think that — that he's not giving enough credit to African-Americans who are responsible and doing the right thing?
HUTCHINSON: Wait, that's the overwhelming majority.
O'REILLY: OK, but I'm going to have to quibble with you a little bit. And I have got to be very careful about how I word this because the far-left smear blogs, you know, just looking — you know the game.
HUTCHINSON: Oh, yes.
O'REILLY: But I got to hit you with a stat here. White children living with two parents, both parents, 74 percent. Black children in America living with both parents, 35 percent. When you have that kind of a gap, you are going to suffer in every area, every area. And you can see it in welfare. You can see it in crime. You can see it down the line in test scores, all of it. That is the stat. OK?
HUTCHINSON: OK, but there are also other stats, Bill.
O'REILLY: No, but this is it. This is it.
HUTCHINSON: OK, but now...
O'REILLY: Only 35 percent of African-American children living with both parents.
HUTCHINSON: OK, now...
O'REILLY: That's unbelievable.
HUTCHINSON: Here — well, and by the way, where Cosby and others, he's not the only one, by the way. We, in fact, want to be very proactive to change those numbers.
But here's the problem with that. We can prevent and reverse that and say this. In the last five or six years, two things. Teen pregnancy, the problem is you know among young African-American girls, has plunged in America.
O'REILLY: It's going down. That's for sure.
HUTCHINSON: Good sign. OK, now, Bill, something else. Young African-American males, we know about the status about prison, about jails and all of that, but we also know something else, which Cosby doesn't talk enough about. The overwhelming majority of young African-American males do graduate from high school. About 30 to 35 percent do go on to college, many historically black college — colleges.
So these are the things, Bill, while we rail against this, and that's justifiable...
O'REILLY: I got — all right.
HUTCHINSON: ...those stats that you talked about, we need to talk about the other sides.
O'REILLY: But I think Cosby's crusade is this. It's almost like my crusade in the secular progressive traditional war. I write a book "Culture Warrior." And I'm pointing out all the bad things about the secular progressive movement — how it's eroding the country, wants a dramatic change.
Well, there are some good things about SPs, but I'm not going to concentrate on that because I'm saying there's an overwhelming danger from these people. Cosby's saying that the pressure or whatever it is that is disintegrating the family or has disintegrated the family over the past 50 years in this country, the African-American family, has got to be reversed. And it's got to be reversed quickly. And people have to be stunned into acknowledging the reversal and stop blaming the problems on the government, or white society, or slavery. That's his message.
HUTCHINSON: OK, but here's where the message goes awry. The fact is people don't have to be stunned, Bill. And I disagree with that and I certainly disagree with Cosby. I think we've seen a trend in the black communities, including poor black communities the last few years, where people have taken much more of the initiative onto themselves to reverse some of those devastating statistics and trends if you talk about teen pregnancy, education...
O'REILLY: Well, maybe Cosby's messages is doing some good then?
HUTCHINSON: Well, but I think those trends have been there before.
The problem is you can have the message, not denying that. But at the same time, give credit to those that are doing the right thing and working hard to reverse those...
O'REILLY: All right. Well one last question.
HUTCHINSON: I don't think Cosby does enough of that.
O'REILLY: Do you think he's a good guy? Do you think he's trying to do the right thing or?
HUTCHINSON: I think he's well intentioned. I think he's well meaning, but I think he just doesn't paint a full enough picture of the positive things that are going on in the black community. That's where he went wrong.
O'REILLY: All right. Mr. Hutchinson, always a pleasure to have you on the program. Thanks very much.
HUTCHINSON: Always a pleasure, Bill.
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