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Friday, June 1, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

It is not uncommon for critics from the Left to accuse persons on the Right as being about nothing more than defenders of a white, male, protestant status quo. What is unusual (thankfully) is to hear a prominent commentator or politicians from the Rightward side of things to blatantly state that that is what they favor.

Along those lines I give you Bill O’Reilly on May 30, 2007 on his program The O’Reilly Factor interviewing Senator John McCain (transcription via Lexis/Nexis):

O’REILLY: .what “The New York Times” wants and the far-left want? They want to breakdown the white Christian male power structure of which you are a part and so am I. And they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically breakdown the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say that you’ve got to cap it with a number.

MCCAIN: In America today, we have a very strong economy, low unemployment. So we need additional farm workers, including by the way, agriculture. But there may come a time where we have an economic downturn and we don’t need so many.

O’REILLY: OK, but in this.

MCCAIN: So I think it has to vary.

O’REILLY: In this bill, you guys got to cap it.

MCCAIN: Yes.

O’REILLY: Because you’re estimated there’s 12 million. There may be 20.

MCCAIN: Yes.

O’REILLY: You don’t know. I don’t know. You got to cap it.

MCCAIN: We do. We do. I agree with you. But I also would remind you, again, that they have to get behind everybody else who tried to apply legally. They have to pay the fines. They have to go back to the country of origin.

If you prefer video, you can watch the exchange at Think Progress.

This is stunning. First off, I reject the notion that, properly understood, American conservatism is about maintaining the “white, Christian, male power structure”–and I say that as a white, male Christian. One cannot be in favor of freedom, liberty, merit and the marketplace if one thinks that there is a specific power structure linked to gender, race and religious confession that needs to be maintained. Plus, I hate to break it to Bill, but there are a lot of non-male, non-white, non-Christian types in this country who are quite significant and have accrued a great deal of power by their talent and hard work.

And he is very much aligning himself with Buchanan here, and that is not a compliment coming from me.

Shame on McCain for not calling O’Reilly on this reactionary tripe.

I am repulsed by the notion that we should be focusing on race, gender and religion in the context of who should, and should not, be in power.

And lest ye think that this was a slip of the tongue on the part of O’Reilly, I noted the following from the Lexis/Nexis transcript of the May 29, 2007 edition of the O’Reilly Factor:

O’REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I’m Bill O’Reilly.

In “The Factor Follow-up” segment tonight, racism and the immigration Bill. FOX News contributor Linda Chavez writes in a Town Hall column, quote, “Some people just don’t like Mexicans, or anyone else from south of the border. They think Latinos are freeloaders and welfare cheats who are too lazy to learn English,” unquote.

Now on the other side, the open border people want a huge influx of foreign nationals to become American citizens, because they don’t like the white Christian male power structure that’s in place now.

And later in the same show:

O’REILLY: That’s bull. At the turn of the 20th century when the wave of immigration from Europe came over the country was in a totally different thing. If you bring in 40 — look, you bring in 40 million foreign nationals to this country, you change everything about this country. And admit it, everything changes. And then there’s where you have the reverse racism.

SCHWARTZ: Our rights change, our freedoms change?

O’REILLY: No. We have a one party system. The Republican Party disappears, because three to one the 40 million will break Democrat. So you destroy that. And then you go from there.

But that’s where the reverse racism is. The New York Times of the world hate the white Christian male power structure and want to change it by a massive amount of foreign nationals being able to vote, Laura. That’s racism, too.

The irony of making those assertions in the context of charges of racism takes cognitive dissonance to a new level.

Also, I reject the notion that immigrants from Latin America and their progeny will automatically be, over time, Democrats. Further, O’Reilly and his ilk act as if as soon as immigration reform passes the Congress that all the illegal aliens in the country become voters overnight–which is hardly the case.

BTW: we all do know who it is that usually rants about protecting white, Christian America?

h/t: TAM.

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Filed under: US Politics | |

18 Comments

  1. […] Cross-posted from PoliBlog: […]

    Pingback by Political Mavens » O’Reilly and the “white, Christian, male power structure” — Friday, June 1, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

  2. […] Cross-posted from PoliBlog: […]

    Pingback by Political Mavens » O’Reilly and the “white, Christian, male power structure” — Friday, June 1, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

  3. The McCain who was once willing to use expressions like “agents of intolerance” to describe the Dominionist movement’s influence on his own party simply can’t do so anymore. He needs the votes of the American “conservative” movement, which, like it or not, has become, to a very motivated bloc of its adherents, a movement to maintain the “white, Christian, male power structure.”

    As I say far too often, I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but I am not.

    Of course, I say this as a multiculturalist, feminist ger tzedek who can only imagine what it would be like to live in a world in which a paper as influential as the NYT really could be conflated with what O’Reilly dismisses as the “far left.”

    O’Reilly makes me sick. But even sicker is that there is a sizeable audience for this kind of crap in this country. Shame not on McCain, but shame on America.

    Comment by MSS — Friday, June 1, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

  4. We don’t always agree, but you’re spot on here. I would like to suggest that O’Reilly meant “white Christian power structure” to be put in scare quotes, but knowing a little about O’Reilly, I’m not so sure.

    Comment by Max Lybbert — Friday, June 1, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

  5. I think you’re misreading O’Reilly. Note that each time he uses the term he’s coming from the point of view of one of the “far left” — NY Times, free immigration folks, etc. What he’s saying is that is how they see things. From their point of view this subject is about the “Christian male power structure”. Reading more into it than that is taking it much further than he meant IMHO.

    Same with the Buchanan reference. It looks to me like he’s limiting the alignment –> “In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right”. If I say that “Wagner wrote some really good operas, in that regard Hitler was right” it doesn’t really align me with AH on other matters such as Jewish gassification.

    There are lots of things to criticize O’Reilly for — his use of the shout down to make his point, his lack of knowledge on the subject he’s interviewing on, his lack of ability to listen to the guest, etc. But it’s a stretch to put him in the White Supremacist camp.

    Comment by Buckland — Friday, June 1, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

  6. Yes, but it seems to me that what he is saying that Pat is right about is the notion that immigration will destroy our culture, which as Pat clearly argues in his book is linked to white Europeans.

    I don’t watch O’Reilly, although I am quite familiar with his program and for a variety of reasons I do end up seeing it on occasion. Given other things that he has said about immigration, his statements are hard to interpret as solely him adopting the NYT’s language–especially since I am unaware of the NYT using such language. Beyond that, the truth of the matter is that the WSJ’s opinion page has been far more a booster of Bush’s immigration reform proposals than has the NYT’s.

    Further, he is using the NYT as some sort of bogeyman, which appeals to his audience, but it has little connection with reality.

    The debate on immigration has been increasingly shrill and I have to say that I do think that a lot of the more vocal critics, like O’Reilly, come across as xenophobic and nativist at best and racists at worst.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Friday, June 1, 2007 @ 4:10 pm

  7. And really, while I we are not ideologically in the same place, I agree with Matthew: it is rather absurd to call the NYT the “far left.” That is just rhetorical bilge of a conservo-populist nature.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Friday, June 1, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

  8. Plus, I will say this: he is consciously framing the debate (by casting the “far left” as out to get the white people) in a way that is appealing to White Supremacists, even if he himself isn’t one.

    And, quite frankly, I haven’t seen any mainstream (or even non-mainstream) group or commentator who has argued for more immigration so as to destroy the “white, Christian, male” power structure.

    The only people who tend to see this as primarily about race and culture are certain large segments of anti-immigration forces.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Friday, June 1, 2007 @ 4:25 pm

  9. Steven, in comments 7 & 8, really nails it, I think. Indeed, this line of attack on the NYT and the “far left” is White Supremacist populism more than anything else. In fact, it would not be unreasonable to call it fascist.

    Comment by MSS — Friday, June 1, 2007 @ 8:08 pm

  10. At 1:36 on the clip:

    O’Reilly: […]this will sink the Republican Party, I believe, - we’d have a one party system - and change, pardon the pun, the whole complexion of America. Am I wrong?

    McCain: No. You’re right.

    There’s no mistaking what O’Reilly was saying there nor with what McCain was agreeing.

    Comment by Jennyjinx — Friday, June 1, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

  11. OK….Now calling the NYT “far left” is appealing to White Supremacists or even facist. I guess by that standard the democrats who complain about Fox News are socialists? Or maybe Communist? The big difference is that the accusations against Fox come from all levels of the left, not just commentators. The dems are in such a tizzy about Fox they won’t even show up at a Fox debate.

    I’m [best Claude Raines faux German Accent] shocked, SHOCKED! that anyone would accuse O’Reilly of framing a debate. Actually accusing O’Reilly of framing a debate or “bilge of a conservo-populist nature” is like accusing an elephant of having a long nose. That’s who he is. That’s who he has been since he’s been in the public eye. Indeed all TV debaters have to frame debates to be effective. And he’s positively passive in his framing when compared to Olberman.

    Personally I’m pretty neutral on the immigration bill. It does a few good things at the margins but is neither the the catastrophe the opponents fear nor will it completely solve the problems in immigration. However shouting “White Supremacist” or “facist” at those who argue passionately for one side does nothing for the debate.

    Comment by Buckland — Saturday, June 2, 2007 @ 9:07 am

  12. Actually, the first person to use the actual words “White Supremacist” in this discuss was you and I don’t think anybody is shouting anything. Of course, there is no denying that the basic formulation that O’Reilly is using is straight ought of a KKK screed. I understand your initial point of saying that he is saying that the NYT is using that language–but in point of fact they aren’t. It is O’Reilly, not the “far left” NYT that is infusing this language into the debate, it is O’Reilly.

    There is something disturbing and significant when a commentator of O’Reilly’s audience continually frames the immigration debate using racist language so as to appeal to his audience.

    You may find that unproblematic, and that it your right. I find the whole tenor of this discussion, especially from the apoplectic critics of the bill.

    And I say that not because I am especially in favor of this bill. I am not convinced that it is going to pass, for that matter. That really isn’t the point of this post.

    Back to the NYT: are you really going to defend the notion that the NYT is “far left”?

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Saturday, June 2, 2007 @ 10:30 am

  13. Let’s put it this way: while it is true that some of the left have railed against the fact that white, male, Christians dominate positions of power, I have seen no one on the left who has argued that the solution that situation is to allow in large number of immigrants as a way to destroy the current power structure. Certainly there is no mainstream publication making such an argument.

    The person to introduce this notion into the discourse was Bill O’Reilly. Whether he believes it or not, he is clearly engaging in irresponsible race-baiting. And he is employing language and arguments that are associated with White Supremacism.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Saturday, June 2, 2007 @ 10:42 am

  14. Damozel’s Quote of the Week: Bill O’Reilly’s Endangered America (includes bonus compilation of blogger reactions!)

    I’ve already commented on this in the note I posted on immigration, but really, this is too delightfully extreme not to deserve a space of its own. Now we have Bill O’Reilly fighting valiantly to defend the power structure in his parallel universe Am…

    Trackback by Buck Naked Politics — Saturday, June 2, 2007 @ 9:51 pm

  15. Sorry for the late answer, been out today achieving my first ever win at a poker tournament.

    Back to the NYT: are you really going to defend the notion that the NYT is “far left”? — No, why should I? I’m actually a subscriber to the national edition. Obviously O’Reilly thinks it is, and a sizable group of his audience agrees. That’s opinion he’s offering, not a well researched and documented thesis. Actually if you start from O’Reilly’s point of view that Fox is fair and balanced (and therefore in the middle of the ideological spectrum) then the NYT does move pretty far left. But that’s his opinion.

    There is something disturbing and significant when a commentator of O’Reilly’s audience continually frames the immigration debate using racist language so as to appeal to his audience. I’m not seeing racist language, at least in this clip. Everything he’s saying may indeed be putting words in somebody else’s mouth, words that the NYT would never use. I don’t see that as racist. A grade school debating technique, perhaps. Do you really thing O’Reilly could get away with racist language on his show after people saw that Imus could be dealt with so easily? O’Reilly is public enemy #1 in Media Matters circles. A hint of racism and they’d be calling press conferences in seconds. This is just an interpretation of attitudes that he’s attributing to others. The whole KKK line just doesn’t work.

    I have seen no one on the left who has argued that the solution that situation is to allow in large number of immigrants as a way to destroy the current power structure. Don’t confuse bombast with racism. The opponents of every bill every considered present dire forecasts if the bill is adopted. Remember the “Giant Sucking Sound” that would result if NAFTA was passed. Was Perot racist for wanting to maintain trade barriers? No, economically illiterate — perhaps, prone to exaggeration –yes, but not racist.

    If attributing an attitude to opponents is racist then virtually all of the anti crowd is guilty, including thoughtful pundits like Hugh Hewitt. Saying that the NYT wants this because they’re liberal weenies who don’t like white guys just doesn’t make the grade for racist comment. Not even close, even in today’s hypersensitive world.

    Comment by Buckland — Saturday, June 2, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

  16. […] Via Human Events we have Pat Buchanan to go along with my Bill O’Reilly post from yesterday: Path to National Suicide According to the Census Bureau, from mid-2005 to mid-2006, the U.S. minority population rose 2.4 million, to exceed 100 million. Hispanics, 1 percent of the population in 1950, are now 14.4 percent. Their total number has soared 25 percent since 2000 alone. The Asian population has also grown by 25 percent since 2000. […]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Buchanan and “White America” — Saturday, June 2, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

  17. I would refer you back to comment #13.

    I really don’t know what else I can say than that.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Saturday, June 2, 2007 @ 11:57 pm

  18. Regarding comment 13, while I certainly do not believe that anyone on the “left” (which scarcely exists as an organized force in this country, but that is a separate argument) actually seeks to allow in large number of immigrants as a way to destroy the current power structure, it does occur to me that if that were someone’s intent, they would not say so.

    But let’s not lose sight of the bigger issue: There is a mass base for the kind of nativist reaction represented by Buchanan, O’Reilly, and others. Claiming that the “left,” liberals, and modernity more generally threaten THE NATION is an old fascist tactic. The shameful part is that some people even today will buy it and that major networks consider it mainstream.

    Comment by MSS — Sunday, June 3, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

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