Daily television hosts Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly kept their promise of debating one another Monday (May 16) evening over last week’s White House poetry event invitation to rapper Common.
O’Reilly struck first, asking Stewart to defend Common’s decision to support a perceived cop killer.
“They found 16 live rounds in her purse, and this guy thinks she’s great,” O’Reilly said, referring to Assata Shakur. “Common wasn’t even born when this crime took place.” Assata Shakur was convicted of murdering New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973, but she escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. The United States still has a $1 million dollar reward for Shakur’s capture. (All Hip Hop)
The “Daily Show” host addressed O’Reilly directly and questioned why Fox News unfairly targets artists especially when it favors the organization.
“I can’t speak for him, because I’m not him. I can rap, I rapped on the show, I think it was impressive,” Jon Stewart said. “You are saying that he is promoting cop killing. What I think he’s doing is not celebrating, but honoring someone he thinks was wrongly convicted of cop killing…There is a collective outrage machine here at Fox that pettifogs only when it suits the narrative that suits them… But then guess what? Bono can’t go to the White House, [Bruce] Springsteen can’t go to the White House, Bob Dylan can’t go to the White House. You got a lot of people that aren’t allowed to sit in the White House because they’ve written songs about people convicted of murder.” (Fox News)
Last week, O’Reilly called out Stewart and offered his challenge to a televised debate.
“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”)
Prior to the challenge, 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”)
Check out a portion of the interview below: