Last week on the network talk show The View guest Bill O'Reilly was subjected to a walkout by two of the program's interviewers, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg.
Was the walkout justified? By examining O'Reilly's comment that triggered the exit the logical conclusion to be drawn by examining the facts is that not only were the walkouts justified; Behar and Goldberg should be heartily commended.
The walkout was triggered by a comment that O'Reilly made that was consistent with anti-Islamic bigots who have spoken out on the topic. O'Reilly opposed the building of an Islamic center near ground zero.This opposition exists despite the fact that the imam supporting the measure has been the quintessence of inclusive thought in the religious sphere. The FBI has used him to brief agents as part of their sensitivity training. He has interacted regularly with figures from the Christian and Jewish communities.
There is another compelling reason why the proposed Islamic center should be built without incident. The group seeking to build the center owns the property in question. Without so much as a minimal legal or moral case to prohibit its construction, why should the imam and the group he represents be denied the opportunity to develop the group's property?
When asked why he opposed the building of the center, O'Reilly struck familiar ground. He stated that because it was Muslims who had bombed the Twin Towers on 9/11 that the center should not be built.
Goldberg quickly replied that extremists had bombed the Twin Towers. Behar concurred and they walked off the set to applause.
Let us use O'Reilly's own twisted reasoning to show the fallacy in his warped thinking. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. His assassin had grown up in a white Protestant home.
At a subsequent point if someone wishes to build a center for the Young Men's Christian Association what should be the response if O'Reilly's contorted reasoning is followed? Clearly, given its roots in American Christian Protestantism, the YMCA should be denied that opportunity even if the organization owns the property.
The reason is that Christian Protestantism was responsible for the assassination of Lincoln. Remember that Booth was part of a Christian conspiracy and had been chosen as the group's assassin.
Let us carry this process one step further. With O'Reilly and other media demagogues such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck carrying the anti-Islamic center torch, why is it that they do not want an independent investigation of 9/11 to determine through a full inquiry what happened that tragic day in New York City? It is so much easier to point fingers of blame at an entire religion in an Archie Bunker style manifestation of prejudice.
So what did O'Reilly say after Goldberg and Behar exited? He looked into the camera and, without so much as a blush, calmly said that if he offended anyone from the Islamic community that he was sorry.
O'Reilly had just said that a community center should not be constructed because Islam was responsible for the 9/11 killings. So moments later, after the women walked out on him, his response is in the form of "Well gee, I didn't mean to offend anybody!"
More media figures should follow the examples of Goldberg and Behar and call out those like O'Reilly who make comments laced with bigotry to appeal to their narrow-minded, twisted bases and fatten their wallets in the process.