Controversial Fox Television host Bill O’Reilly has refused to let this week’s Common/White House controversy die down by challenging “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart to justify defending the rapper.
Challenging Stewart to a televised debate on his “The O’Reilly Factor” show, he said the comedian/host should not have taken Common’s side due to a past defense of “cop killers.”
“I would like to debate you,” O’Reilly challenged Stewart. “I would like to debate you about the Common situation because it’s important. This is far beyond dopy lyrics and dopy presentations. Again, we don’t care about that…Imagine what the mothers of the slain police officers are thinking when they see a guy like Common in the White House. I mean, Joanne Chesimard who killed a [New] Jersey state trooper — and Common thinks she’s swell? Come on. So with all due respect, I think Jon Stewart made a big mistake trying to run down Fox News and defend Common and I look forward to Mr. Stewart coming on the program, on ‘The Factor,’ to discuss it.” (“The O’Reilly Factor”)
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin also slammed the White House’s decision to invite Common for a poetry event last Wednesday (May 11).
“It’s too easy, you know, the White House’s judgement on inviting someone who has glorified cop killing during Police Memorial Week of all times, the judgement is just so lacking of class and decency and all that’s good for America with an invite like this,” Palin explained. “It’s just so easy to assume they’re just inviting someone like me or somebody else to ask. Come on, [President] Barack Obama, who are you plowing around now? … I’m not saying this as a proponent of stifling any kind of free speech, I’m obviously a proponent of free speech. I’m not anti-rap, in fact, like [Fox News anchor] Bret Baier, I know the lyrics to ‘Rappers’ Delight’ too. But I’m just saying, common decency in the White House. Wouldn’t we like to see a reflection of all that is wonderful and great? A shining city on a hill that the White House is supposed to be with events inside of that house that is supposed to reflect the patriotism and decency and the influence of America.” (“On The Record”)
In the midst of backlash, Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart stood up for the Chicago emcee.
“Are we really doing this again? For this guy, Common? The guy from the Gap ads? The guy from the Queen Latifah rom-coms? Elmo’s friend?” (“The Daily Show”)
Despite the hype, Common still attended Wednesday’s White House event.
Common performed at Michelle Obama‘s White House Music Series, despite a media hullabaloo surrounding his appearance. A Fox News website had dubbed the Grammy-winning rapper “vile” and a “cop killer.” The event was put on in front of an audience of high-schoolers and Common’s performance was decidedly child-friendly. “I woke up with the sunshine, a sunshine I had never seen,” he sang over an arpeggiated piano. “There was light at the end of it, reminding me to forever dream. I was dreaming I walked into the White House with love on my sleeve and love for each and every one of you, reminding you to believe.” (RTT News)
Check out Bill O’Reilly’s challenge below: