Thursday, July 28, 2016

18190--No, Bill O'Reilly Doesn't Owe Any Apologies

Fresh on the heels of Michelle Obama expressing her amazement over living in a prestigious national symbol (the White House) built by slaves, the Fox News pontificator felt compelled to downplay the slavery reference by offering that said slaves were well-fed and decently housed.  This is America, so he has the right to do so, of course.

Now, to many of us, the very notion of slavery is sufficiently chafing, but Mr. O'Reilly finds it to be of a higher priority to step to the defense of American slavery rather than focus on the political aspect of what Mrs. Obama was actually talking about.  I'm sure that his theft of focus to make a point of his own has drawn the ire of many.  Despite its wildly successful history (it utterly crushed indentured servitude in its time), slavery continues to carry a tremendously unpopular stigma.

Rather than spend time and energy on directing anger toward Mr. O'Reilly (you knew who he was already and that's not about to change), I would instead offer a challenge to Fox News and its management that is trying to refurbish the organization's image.  Try this: before Mr. O'Reilly starts trying to suggest that the Third Reich offered Jews efficient mass transit and free housing, reassign him to a special field project.  Bear with me.  This would not be a punishment, rather an opportunity for Mr. O'Reilly to prove his point.  Under the scrutiny of Fox News cameras, Mr. O'Reilly will be given "decent" housing and food commensurate with the status of a menial laborer.  Over the course of a television season, he could live in someone's shed, for example, and perform yard work, field work, and other chores during the day.  Perhaps, following the construction theme, he could build with Habitat for Humanity.  I'm sure the management at Fox will know how to make it interesting.

Most importantly, Mr. O'Reilly would be able to show everyone how happy he can be on minimal wages (slavery is still illegal, after all), subsistence nutrition, and "decent" housing so long as his days are filled with the reward of purposeful labor.  Then, he'd have nothing but solid footing from which to stand tall and never ever apologize for any thoughtlessly diminishing comment he might ever choose to make.

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