On Tuesday’s broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “The Five,” network contributor Juan William opened the program by sounding off on MSNBC regulars Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson, both of who have been very outspoken in the wake of this month’s George Zimmerman verdict.
One of the targets of Sharpton and Dyson’s ire has been “The O’Reilly Factor” host Bill O’Reilly for his comments on problems in the black community in the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy.
Williams admonished Sharpton and Dyson for their efforts to vilify O’Reilly, noting there was some truth to what “The O’Reilly Factor” host had said.
“Race has been the topic over the last couple weeks, but if we’re going to do this right, if we’re going to have an honest discussion among people who care about the problems inside the black community, we have to be dealing with honest brokers,” Williams said. “Unfortunately a lot of people in the so-called civil rights community are frauds, outright hucksters. Two of the worst — Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson. Their goal: Demonize white people, especially conservatives like Bill O’Reilly, so they don’t have to deal with the real problems that continue, continue to plague the black community. Making an older conservative white guy like O’Reilly a boogeyman is easier for these hustlers than confronting the real problems, real threats inside the minority community: No. High murder rates? How about that? High dropout rates? Family breakdown? I bet you think I’m exaggerating.”
Williams played the clip from MSNBC’s weekend program hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry in which Dyson said O’Reilly was “surprised that black people don’t throw bananas” or “swing from trees.”
Williams, a regular on O’Reilly’s program, defended O’Reilly and turned the table on Dyson for putting the focus on O’Reilly instead of the maladies of the black community.
“Let me just start by saying this — he is making the charge basically that O’Reilly is portraying black people as animals, animals and of course, this never happened. This is not true. O’Reilly in fact, at the whole episode at [Harlem restaurant] Sylvia’s, which O’Reilly and I talked about on the radio, was going on about defeating racial stereotypes in this society. But that’s not what Michael Eric Dyson wants to do here. He wants to hold up somehow that Bill O’Reilly is a racist and the target of the conversation and therefore we should be about somehow going after Bill O’Reilly.”
“Well, who does that help?” he continued. “Let’s think about that for a second. If this is a real conversation about helping people, if you truly love people and want to help those in need, how does it help to go after conservatives, O’Reilly, white people, rich people. Let’s go to the people who need help and give them help. But that’s not what Michael Eric Dyson is doing. Oh, no. when you start talking about well, are you doing anything to help the schools in the inner-city? No, what about the carnage on black streets with kids shooting themselves? No. What about you know, any of the issues attached to family breakdown? Seventy percent of children born out of wedlock, what about that? No. So what we’re doing here is a huge distraction. Yes, there’s legitimate rage in the black community over the Zimmerman verdict, but the idea that we have to use the power that exists in this country to help people who are in need in the black community — that is an on-going and longer story. And you can’t pull away from that by making Bill O’Reilly into your target and somehow beating him up. That’s craziness.”