MSNBC's Taylor: 'Right-Wing' Hosts 'Pimping' for 'Personal Gain'

On Friday's PoliticsNation, as host Al Sharpton attacked "right-wingers" like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh for "push[ing] the most negative stereotypes of the African-American community for their own gain," and again repeated a 2007 smear against O'Reilly, MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor accused conservative hosts of "pimping" and "pandering" for "personal gain."

After a clip of O'Reilly recounting his visit to a predominantly black restaurant from 2007, Sharpton posed the question:

I mean, he expected people to be in a restaurant, Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem, a family restaurant saying M-Fer, I want some iced tea. I mean, what is O'Reilly interested in? Is he just riling up his audience?

Taylor responded:

I think he really is. You know, there was a name for this, when you, you know, prey on weaknesses of others, when you exploit those weaknesses for your personal gain, there's a word for it. It's pimping. It's pandering. And that's what he's after here. There's a twofold payoff for people like Bill O'Reilly and people like Sean Hannity. It is both economic and it's political.

She added:

It pays off at the ballot box because it preys into a brand of white populism that runs itself in cycles and that drives them out to the polls. And this upcoming midterm election, they're hoping for it. And economically, it drives up ratings when you  can prey on the fears of people, when you can prey on their biases, on their biases for intolerance, on their insecurities. When you can give them safe harbor to bring their fears to, that makes the cash register ring, and that's what Bill O'Reilly is about.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, July 26, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: We have a long history in this country of some people exploiting differences between us for their own advantage. It's a cynical appeal to the worst instincts in our great country. And in the time since George Zimmerman's acquittal, some right-wingers have gone into overdrive to push the most negative stereotypes of the African-American community for their own gain.

The Rush/Hannity/O'Reilly crowd, the unholy triumvirate of right wing reaction, has been desperate not to have a real conversation about the injustices of the criminal justice system, about how a law can make it legal, make it okay for a man to shoot a teenager on his way home with candy and a cold drink.

To many in the African-American community, the killing of that teenager is emblematic of a grossly unjust system of a thousand unequal steps from stop and frisk to disproportionate drug laws to racially motivated sentencing, including death sentences. That is the conversation the Rush/Hannity/O'Reilly crowd don't want to have. Instead, they are dancing as fast as they can to change the subject.

SEAN HANNITY, FNC: Sixty-one people died in Chicago, and I have their names right here.

BILL O'REILLY, FNC: The mini holocaust in Chicago where hundreds of African-Americans are murdered each year.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK RADIO HOST: That kind of crime, the crime that's happening in Chicago, we're not supposed to see. We're not supposed to talk about it.

SHARPTON: Yes, the unholy three have discovered the epidemic of violence in Chicago, which many of us in the African-American community have been talking about for many months. Better late than never, I guess. Bill O'Reilly has also been trying to make the black family the issue.

O'REILLY CLIP #1: The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African-American family.

O'REILLY CLIP #2: The disintegration of the African-American family.

O'REILLY CLIP #3: When was the last time you saw a major civil rights organization trying to discourage African-American women from getting pregnant out of wedlock?

SHARPTON: So is Bill O'Reilly saying George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin because Trayvon was born out of wedlock, even though he wasn't? That's ridiculous, right? Which is why I'm asking, what does any of that have to do with Trayvon Martin? He had loving parents. After watching their determined love for their son over the past year, is there any doubt Trayvon came from a strong home, a loving home?

All of this is an effort to avoid addressing the urgent topic that something is fundamentally flawed with our justice system if laws like Stand Your Ground allow a kid to be gunned down, but Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly don't want to talk about that. And that's why they keep trying to change the conversation. Not that Bill O'Reilly has a problem with racial stereotyping.

GERALDO RIVERA, FNC: Very integrated, diverse audience. And they're hearing you. And I think that black people are going to feel that you're stereotyping them.

SHARPTON: Yes, you've shown you don't care. Bill O'Reilly has long shown a deep ignorance of black culture. Don't take my word for it. Take his.

O'REILLY: The majority of blacks want money spent to level a playing field, to redistribute income from the white establishment to their precincts, and to provide better education and health care at government expense.

SHARPTON: So says the expert on the vast majority of what African-Americans want. Maybe Bill O'Reilly is worried history is passing him by. He suggested so himself on election night.

O'REILLY: To changing country, the demographics are changing. It's not a traditional America anymore. And there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama.

SHARPTON: This is what Bill O'Reilly thinks about the black community. So how can he be expected to make any sense of the real problems facing the black community? Would he even have a clue? We need a real conversation about justice in this country, not the same old right-wing divide and conquer garbage. Bill O'Reilly, the Willie Horton stuff has got to go.

(...)

SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you this, Goldie. It's interesting that cable's lecturer-in-chief, let me call him, is criticizing the African-American community, considering, you know, I took him to dinner in Harlem.

TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I remember.

SHARPTON: At Sylvia's restaurant in 2007.

TAYLOR: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Let me play for you what he said about, this is him. I'm not quoting. This is Bill O'Reilly.

O'REILLY: There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming M-Fer, I want more iced tea.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FNC: Please.

O'REILLY: You know, I mean, everybody was, it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun, and there wasn't any kind of craziness at all.

SHARPTON: I mean, he expected people to be in a restaurant, Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem, a family restaurant saying M-Fer, I want some iced tea. I mean, what is O'Reilly interested in? Is he just riling up his audience?

TAYLOR: I think he really is. You know, there was a name for this, when you, you know, prey on weaknesses of others, when you exploit those weaknesses for your personal gain, there's a word for it. It's pimping. It's pandering. And that's what he's after here. There's a twofold payoff for people like Bill O'Reilly and people like Sean Hannity. It is both economic and it's political.

It pays off at the ballot box because it preys into a brand of white populism that runs itself in cycles and  that drives them out to the polls. And this upcoming midterm election, they're hoping for it. And economically, it drives up ratings when you can prey on the fears of people, when you can prey on their biases, on their biases for intolerance, on their insecurities. When you can give them safe harbor to bring their fears to, that makes the cash register ring, and that's what Bill O'Reilly is about.

(...)