Juan Williams Sets Record Straight on O'Reilly Row on Time.com

In a September 28 article on Time.com entitled, "What Bill O'Reilly Really Told Me," Fox News contributor Juan Williams explained the context of his conversation with O'Reilly that found itself fodder for context-mangling by liberal interest groups and O'Reilly's perpetual ratings victim, Keith Olbermann:

So, O'Reilly says to me that the reality to black life is very different from the lowlife behavior glorified by the rappers. He told me he was at a restaurant in Harlem recently and there was no one shouting profanity, no one threatening people. Then he mentioned going to an Anita Baker concert with an audience that was half black, and in sharp contrast to the corrosive images on TV, well dressed and well behaved. I joked with O'Reilly that for him, a guy from Long Island, a visit to Harlem was like a "foreign trip." That's when he brought up his grandma. He said she was prejudiced against black people because she knew no flesh-and-blood black folks but only the one-dimensional TV coverage of black criminals shooting each other and the rappers and comedians glorifying "gangsta" life and thug cool. He criticized his grandmother as irrational for being afraid of people she really did not know. I defended his grandma. After watching all those racist, minstrel images of black people, I argued, she is right to buy into stereotypes of blacks as ignorant, oversexed and violent. And I said while I worried about his grandma having racist images justified in her mind I had bigger worries. The most pernicious damage being done by the twisted presentation of black life in pop culture is the self-destructive message being beamed into young, vulnerable black brains. Young black people, searching for affirmation of their racial identity, are minute by minute being sold on the cheap idea that they are authentically black only if they imitate the violent, threatening attitude of the rappers and use the gutter language coming from the minstrels on TV.

Williams noted in his column's lede that he has been derided by critics as playing the "Happy Negro" by defending O'Reilly. You can see our related item on that smear of Williams here (post includes video).

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters