O'Reilly Tackles Charge of Racism at Tea Parties

On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly took the time to speak with an African-American Tea Party activist named Kevin Jackson about his experiences at Tea Party events and what he thinks of liberal commentators – presumably referring to a number of MSNBC hosts – who have charged that racism is common among Tea Party activists. O’Reilly asked of Jackson: "Okay, now obviously you know the controversy. There have been a number of commentators that have called the Tea Party people racists, branded them, you know, a white power organization or whatever you want to call it. So you hear that and you say what?"

Jackson defended the integrity of Tea Party activists:

I say it's completely bogus. There’s been zero racial incidents at a Tea Party with me. And as I said, I’ve been to dozens. I’ll be speaking with a Tea Party express at a few here coming up, and I’ll be headlining a couple of Tea Parties in Houston. And I can tell you, I'm looking forward to going. And I look at it as the left is just trying to demonize a movement that, quite frankly, I consider the re-emancipation of America. I call it "Emancipation II." This time everybody gets freed.

He also criticized Congressional Black Caucus members who have attacked Tea Party activists without going to see a rally firsthand:

And as far as John Lewis's credibility is concerned, this is a man that said about McCain on October 11 of 2008, that McCain was the equivalent of a racist Democrat Governor George Wallace who would keep blacks out of school. So I find a lot of the comments and things very disingenuous and very one-sided with respect to what they’re trying to accomplish by demonizing the Tea Party movement. But, in the same sense, they’re scaring black people off of something that none of them have ever been to. These guys have not been to Tea Parties, yet they’re willing to say Tea Parties are racist. Well, how about you come to one?

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Wednesday, March 31, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC:

BILL O'REILLY: "Personal Story" segment tonight, the far left is making a big deal out of the Tea Party movement being almost all white, implying it's a racist situation. Joining us now from St. Louis, Kevin Jackson, Tea Party member and the author of the book "The Big Black Lie." So, Mr. Jackson, how long have you been associated with the Tea Party and why did you get involved?

KEVIN JACKSON, TEA PARTY ACTIVIST: I emceed the first Tea Party in St. Louis on April 15, the Tax Day Tea Party of last year, and for a lot of the reasons that other Tea Party people got involved – tired of runaway government and, you know, seems like the government’s gone wild. So I decided I’d get involved and have appeared at approximately 80 since then headlining most of them and just found these people to be the salt of the earth.

O'REILLY: Now, are you a conservative man?

JACKSON: I am indeed conservative.

O'REILLY: Okay, so your conservative principles of smaller government, less government intrusion led you to the Tea Party.

JACKSON: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Why don't we see more Africans-Americans at the rallies?

JACKSON: Well, there are more, but, you know, black people in general do not go, we're not really politically charged. I think Obama was able to bring a little bit more of that out. But we're not rally types to begin with.

O'REILLY: Well, we see the 20,000 show up for Farrakhan in Chicago.

JACKSON: Well, with Farrakhan, it's probably a different dynamic. But I think, as a rule, we're not really the type to go out and rally for things such as this, even though in many cases we believe a lot of the same principles. I mean, when you look at things like the Department of Energy who’s got 16,000 employees, was supposed to be set up in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, half a trillion dollars later we’re no less dependent on foreign oil. I mean, people want to see where their money is being spent. And that's blacks as well.

O'REILLY: Okay, now obviously you know the controversy. There have been a number of commentators that have called the Tea Party people racists, branded them, you know, a white power organization or whatever you want to call it. So you hear that and you say what?

JACKSON: I say it's completely bogus. There’s been zero racial incidents at a Tea Party with me. And as I said, I’ve been to dozens. I’ll be speaking with a Tea Party express at a few here coming up, and I’ll be headlining a couple of Tea Parties in Houston. And I can tell you, I'm looking forward to going. And I look at it as the left is just trying to demonize a movement that, quite frankly, I consider the re-emancipation of America. I call it "Emancipation II." This time everybody gets freed.

O'REILLY: Now, do they pay you to go to these rallies? Do you get paid by the Tea Party?

JACKSON: More recently, I'm getting paid because I obviously I’ve sort of cut my teeth on them. But at the beginning, the majority of the Tea Party rallies, I was not getting paid.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, so they hire a bunch of speakers. We know Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and, you know, big names like that have come in, and so a cynic might say hey, they bought Mr. Jackson. I'm not saying that because I think you’re a sincere man. I wouldn't put you on the air. But you know the charges that are being thrown around here. The Tea Party, for whatever reason, has angered, angered the far left in this country more than anything that I’ve recently seen except for Fox News Channel. I think we’re probably the only ones that anger them more. And so there’s a lot of stuff flying around.

JACKSON: Well, the reason for the anger is like I said, you’ve got the Congressional Black Caucus who’s now the new hit man for the Democrat Party who says that the Tea Party is racist. Yet, I would defy you to find any of them that have ever been to a Tea Party. You’ve got John Lewis who says-

O'REILLY: No, but they say that they got assaulted verbally when they came into the Capitol for the health care vote. That really lit the fuse on this latest thing.

JACKSON: Well, it's interesting to me that the symbology of what happened where you’ve got this very wealthy white lady leading a group of black, you know, men up to the thing with her gavel in her hand. It would have been more symbolic had she had a whip. And as far as John Lewis's credibility is concerned, this is a man that said about McCain on October 11 of 2008, that McCain was the equivalent of a racist Democrat Governor George Wallace who would keep blacks out of school. So I find a lot of the comments and things very disingenuous and very one-sided with respect to what they’re trying to accomplish by demonizing the Tea Party movement. But, in the same sense, they’re scaring black people off of something that none of them have ever been to. These guys have not been to Tea Parties, yet they’re willing to say Tea Parties are racist. Well, how about you come to one?

O'REILLY: All right, Mr. Jackson, we appreciate it very much. Thank you.