When Jon Stewart joined Bill O'Reilly on last night's The O'Reilly Factor, it was clear that a good deal of the verbal sparring was meant for entertainment and ratings. These two don't really hate each other nearly as much as you would expect two talk show hosts who fall on two very different sides of the aisle to. But they still managed to throw some punches over the hot topic of the night: Rapper Common's appearance at a White House poetry reading last Wednesday.
If you haven't been following the story, O'Reilly and lots of other conservative talking heads apparently had a problem with Common, because they say he "celebrates violence and cop-killing in his lyrics." (Mmm hmm.) Of course, Jon Stewart disagrees, stating that "[Common was the] subject of Fox News Channel's latest exercise in fits of hissy."
In other words, it was a distraction from the real news of the day.
Oh, and also, pointing the finger at Common while ignoring other "violent" artists who have been invited to the White House is just proof positive that FOX likes to pick and choose their battles ... in many cases, no doubt based on discrimination.
I can't agree enough with Stewart's point that no one on the "fair and balanced" (ha) cable news network said "boo" when Bono visited the White House multiple times, under W. and Obama. See, Bono once wrote a song called "Native Son" that some might say "celebrates violence" about Leonard Peltier -- who was convicted of killing two federal agents in the '70s. Oh, and anyone else remember "Sunday Bloody Sunday" from U2's album entitled War??? Somehow that's permissible to conservatives, while a rapper with lyrics that aren't all butterflies and rainbows is not.
Why not? I tend to think it's because they're just not as comfortable with a black man who raps showing up at the White House.
Aside from that whole mess, there's the fact that most lyrics aren't meant to be taken literally (as Stewart said, "When The Weather Girls sing, 'It's raining men,' it's not really precipitation of males." LOL). Not to mention that it seems O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, etc. are just interested in silencing (yes, as in trying to shut down a public appearance of any kind, even at the White House) an artist they don't agree with. It's a form of censorship. And I perceive that the motivation stems from ignorance and hate.
The silver lining, though? Entertainment, of course! There's nothing like fiery sparring between two of TV's biggest news stars. I just hope that next time, they can go head-to-head on something that actually matters.
Here's the debate if you missed it last night ...
What are your thoughts on the Common "controversy"?
Image via FOX