Sharpton Denies He’s Overdoing Imus Flap

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 11, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Factor follow-up segment tonight. Analyzing the Imus controversy last night. Fox News contributor Bernie Goldberg said this.


BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The idea that the moral crusade to get him fired is being led by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, two world-class race hustlers, is beyond preposterous. And you will never see in the media the following — these two guys are totally incapable of fixing the real problems that plague parts of black America. And Don Imus, as nasty as he is, isn't one of those problems. Seventy percent illegitimacy rate, men who don't take care of their babies, 15-year-old girls having babies, a 50 percent high school dropout rate. Sharpton and Jackson don't have a clue as to how to fix this.


O'REILLY: With us now to reply is Al Sharpton. That sound bite was about 45 seconds, so I'll give you 45 seconds uninterrupted to reply to it.

REV. AL SHAPRTON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Bernie is probably just selling another book. That's absurd. First of all I think to act as though the black community should not be concerned about how their young ladies, or for that matter women, young women are being projected, being called nappy-headed hos, is ridiculous.

Second of all, we have extensive programs in national organization in my organization to deal with a lot of things. But I think that it is really arrogant for someone outside to tell somebody what they ought to be doing when they're not involved in any of it. It would be just as absurd for me to suggest because you once had a crusade against rap artist Ludacris that you weren't dealing with other issues in other parts of your shows. We deal with many issues. One of them, though, is the use of race language. To tell a kid to be responsible. We do. Tell a kid take care of his child, marry the mother of his children, we do. And to fight for them to have justice and fairness, we do. But we also tell them you should not be called a nappy-headed hoe at the end of the progress.

O'REILLY: I think all Berg is saying, look, these other things are so much more important, the illegitimacy rate...

SHARPTON: According to him. All of it is important. All of it is important.

O'REILLY: The Imus thing is a sideshow.

SHARPTON: It's not a sideshow when you have people making millions of dollars a year, denigrating and creating a psychology that only reinforces the same thing. In order to help lift people up they have to look up. And you can't look up if you are being reduced. So the way to inspire that kid is to say you're more than that. And one of the ways of showing him he is more than that is when he is attacked wrongfully to stand up for him just like you stand up to him.

I challenge young people every day in our organization. You've got to be something. I cannot challenge them if somebody tells them you're nothing. And I don't say wait a minute, I'm not going to allow you to say that. These young women represent everything a guy like Goldberg ought to be extolling. They are well educated. They've lifted themselves up.

O'REILLY: No. Look.

SHARPTON: Then how can he act like it's not important if they're denigrated?

O'REILLY: He didn't act like it wasn't important. He just said that you guys were exploiting this to get yourself in the public eye.

SHARPTON: First of all, lets be fair. I mean how many times have I been on this show? I didn't need this for an issue. All the way from Sean Bell, police brutality, to James Brown, to my ancestory, I was already in the papers. And when I took issue here, there was no guarantee this was going to become a huge issue. So exploiting what? We helped make the issue, because I happen to have two teenage daughters that I do not want them to feel...

O'REILLY: Let me ask you questions I get on the radio all the time. Heimytown — Jesse Jackson disqualifies him from commenting on Imus.

SHARPTON: Absolutely not. Heimytown was allegedly a statement made in private to a reporter off the record, that the reporter took public. Jesse Jackson did not go to a radio show and call Jews Heimsys. That never happened. Absolutely apples and oranges.

O'REILLY: I disagree. But it's not a big deal.

Secondly, rappers, and you know who has been the most outspoken guy in the country against the gangster rap, who?

SHARPTON: You have. But according to your commentator that's not important. That's sidestepping the big issue.

O'REILLY: No, no, he didn't say that.

SHARPTON: He just didn't include you in the trio.

O'REILLY: Goldberg was going after you, and...

SHARPTON: He sells books doing that.

O'REILLY: Whatever. He was going after you guys. But are you go now going to hold Ludacris, and Snoop Doing and 50 Cent — step it up. Go after the companies that hire them.

SHARPTON: Next week we are having our National Action Work Convention in New York. You are among those invited.

O'REILLY: I will be there.

SHARPTON: I want to announce that we need to expand — after getting rid of Mr. Imus, we need to look at the fact that some of the corporations that owned Imus also owned some of the record companies.

O'REILLY: So you are going to go after them too?

SHARPTON: By name and while we're getting advertisers to drop Imus...

O'REILLY: And Snoop Dogg and Ludacris and all these people.

SHARPTON: All anybody that uses the ho and 'b' and all of that that should now be prepared that Imus will be the beginning of a long war to try to deal with this.

O'REILLY: So something good may come out of this.

SHARPTON: As long as you don't have guys acting like it's distraction. How people see themselves is not a distraction. Because if you see yourself down you will never try to get up.

O'REILLY: I think you made your case. Fair and balanced, right?

SHARPTON: Yes sir. Thank you.

O'REILLY: Any time.

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