How Barack Obama Fooled Bill O’Reilly
Written by Bob Siegel and originally published in his column, Forbidden Table Talk in Communities At Washington Times
SAN DIEGO, June 14, 2012 — Journalist Edward Klein’s recently highlighted interview with Rev. Jeremiah Wright continues to spawn debate, but a much more revealing exchange took place in 2008, between Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and Barack Obama. Unfortunately, most people missed the revelation, including O’Reilly himself. The interview never became a national discussion. It should have.
Klein deserves to be commended for bringing the Obama/Wright connection back to the public spotlight. It’s certainly chilling to hear his recording of Rev. Wright claiming Obama’s 2008 campaign team tried to bribe him into silence. Evidently, his disturbing sermons made Wright’s association with Obama a political liability. Still, the teeth in Klein’s interview are only so sharp. Obama apologists continue to insist that the president should not be held accountable for the controversial words of his 20 year pastor/mentor, especially when Obama claims he never personally witnessed the more inflammatory speeches while sitting in church.
But suppose it could be shown that Obama is less than truthful on this? A case could have been made in 2008, when mainstream media paid the story only a microscopic amount of attention. Certainly Fox News dug its heels in more than the other networks, but whereas credit can be given for better effort, even Fox was “outfoxed” when their most popular prime time news analysis program, The O’Reilly Factor, featured candidate Barack Obama as a guest.
Bill O’Reilly is a bright guy and a fair interrogator. Still, the smartest of people sometimes miss things and this particular slip up is too important to bury.
When O’Reilly asked Obama if he had ever witnessed Rev. Wright making racist remarks during the twenty years of attending Trinity United, Obama put great thought and care into his response:
O’REILLY: Did he say white people were bad?
OBAMA: What he said was racism was bad, and…
O’REILLY: But not white people are bad?
OBAMA: There was no doubt that what he said was racism was bad. The relationship was ruptured. I’m not a member of the church. (Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, September 9, 2008)
The answer was extremely crafty and slippery on Obama’s part. Nobody will ever contest the guy’s credentials as a skilled communicator, but this may have been the biggest lie he ever told, carefully embedded in protective words that seem technically true on the surface until they are more closely examined from the inside out.
The conventional logic of some leftist educators, civil rights leaders, etc., is that black people can never be racist, only white people, because white people have all the power. It’s a definition of racism that they simply made up, but that is their definition. They claim that all white people are to some extent racist, and that those who deny it are especially racist.
Let’s make the obvious obvious: If only white people can be racist and if all white people are racist, then a pastor who says that racists are bad is saying that all white people are bad.
According to the October 30, 2007 edition of WorldNet Daily, “A mandatory University of Delaware program requires residence hall students to acknowledge that ‘all whites are racist’ and offers them ‘treatment’ for any incorrect attitudes regarding class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality they might hold upon entering the school.”
Of course, merely existing in a politically correct age does not automatically associate Wright with these “cutting edge” opinions. The man should be allowed to speak for himself.
Sean Hannity (another Fox talk-show host) let him do just that. In an interview that Obama’s people could not possibly have missed, Hannity asked Wright about the website of his church, Trinity United, specifically statements about commitment to the black community. Wright responded by connecting his church’s “black value system” with Liberation Theology.
“Black liberation theology started with Jim Cone in 1968 … Do you know liberation theology? … How many books of Cone’s have you read?” (Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Fox News, 3/1/07).
A fair question indeed. Every American should understand the teachings of Dr. James H. Cone, Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
At its core, Liberation Theology reinterprets certain passages of Scripture, emphasizing a God who is on the side of the oppressed. ”Therefore, whoever fights for the poor, fights for God; whoever risks his life for the helpless and unwanted, risks his life for God. God is active now in the lives of those men who feel an absolute identification with all who suffer because there is no justice in the land.” (James Cone, Black Theology & Black Power, p. 47)
That may sound reasonable, but when the conflict is described in purely racial terms, the teaching is distorted into something hideous.
“All white men are responsible for white oppression. … Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man ‘the devil.’ The white structure of this American society, personified in every racist, must be at least part of what the New Testament meant by the demonic forces.”
Not that white people are beyond hope. Cone is willing to show them a path of salvation that includes understanding the superiority of black people: “For white people, God’s reconciliation in Jesus Christ means that God has made black people a beautiful people; and if they are going to be in relationship with God, they must enter by means of their black brothers, who are a manifestation of God’s presence on earth.”
Ironically, a true examination of the Bible might have been a more productive discussion. The Bible does not condemn white people, but rather all people. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Perhaps if human beings admitted that sin is a joint heritage and that sin knows no racial bounds, the forgiveness part of the Bible would also kick in and healing could take place throughout our country torn apart by race baiters.
Those who do not believe in Christianity need not feel left out. After all, the Bible is only one of many classic writings to accurately appraise human nature. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings,” wrote William Shakespeare in “Julius Caesar.”
If all human beings are morally warped, this includes the President of the United States. Many would be all too happy to accept the fact that he’s just a man and forgive his mistakes, should he ever admit to actually making one. He could start by confessing that his pastor of 20 years really did teach that white people are bad and therefore his answer to Bill O’Reilly, while political and clever, was also false. Obama’s response was probably based upon foresight and precaution. After all, he has no guarantee that future discovery might not challenge his story. Should a video of Obama witnessing one of Wright’s racist sermons ever surface, he has (supposedly) given himself the perfect immunity. He can say that he did admit to a knowledge of Wright’s view of white people, albeit indirectly.
Be that as it may, a lie of omission is still a lie. No, we cannot expect our presidents to be perfect. But we do expect them not to be liars.
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Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net
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