THE BEAT GOES ON
Fox News Fires Racist Bill O’Reilly, Promotes Racists Eric Bolling and Jesse Watters
Bill O’Reilly is gone—and that’s good—but two of the men getting promoted in his wake are just as awful as he was when it comes to race-baiting.
As part of Fox’s primetime lineup reshuffling, its 5 p.m. roundtable gabfest The Five will move to the 9 p.m. slot vacated by Tucker Carlson, who will take over O’Reilly’s highly coveted 8 o’clock hour. Bolling will depart The Five to get his own 5 p.m. show, starting May 1. Replacing him on The Five will be Watters, O’Reilly’s long-time protege and henchman.
Both of those smirking dudebros have histories of race-baiting that stretch as far back as allegations of O’Reilly’s serial sexual-harassing.
Plucked from Wall Street to give trading analysis for Fox Business Network, Bolling has become one of the network’s most shameless attention-grabbers over the past near-decade. While manning ostensibly business-related shows for FBN (first Money Rocks, then Follow the Money), Bolling frequently played host to early racist birther conspiracies. On one occasion, he brought on infamous anti-Muslim bigot and birther Pamela Geller to inspect a cardboard cutout of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate.
His commentary on the matter echoed that of your racist uncle’s chain emails, circa 2011. “There’s a green border around it that had to be Photoshopped in,” he remarked to Geller while pointing at the certificate with a green laser-pointer.
Bolling also claimed that New Jersey Muslims knew about 9/11 in advance.
When Obama met with the president of Gambia in 2011, Bolling declared on his show: “It’s not the first time he’s had a hoodlum in the hizzouse,” referring to rapper Common’s appearance at a prior White House event.
“So what’s with all the hoods in the hizzie?” he added.
Earlier that same year, Bolling said Obama was too busy “chugging forties” to visit tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri.
“How does increasing taxes count as spending cuts in your world, Mr. Obama?” Bolling said another night, when the president released his tax plan. “Maybe in Kenya, but certainly not here.”
In 2012, after Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, who is black, used fiery rhetoric to decry Republican leadership, Bolling responded, “Congresswoman, you saw what happened to Whitney Houston. Step away from the crack pipe.”
Following in the footsteps of a habitual fail-upper like Bolling is Watters, who will now co-host Fox’s 9 p.m. show after years of training under O’Reilly.
Watters’s biggest claim to fame was a segment last fall in which he took his perpetual shit-eating grin to the streets of New York’s Chinatown to openly mock Asians. For five minutes, he asked the locals—some of whom didn’t speak English—if they do karate, where he can buy some homeopathic herbs for sexual “performance,” or whether he’s “supposed to bow to say hello.”
“Kung Fu Fighting,” featuring a stereotypical “Oriental” riff, played throughout the pre-taped package. Even right-wing outlets decried the dumb segment as a “crime against comedy.”
“I regret if anyone found offense,” was Watters’s supremely Fox-like non-apology after the outcry reached fever pitch.
As I wrote back then, Watters will “get off with a slap on the wrist… and [he] will always win. And he will continue to rise at Fox News.” I even cited “the meteoric rise of fellow race-baiting clown” Bolling as an example of how “Fox News has historically rewarded cheap, often ugly bullshit.”
With O’Reilly’s firing, it’s clear Fox News is attempting to revamp its internal reputation as a den of sexism and sexual harassment. But in those promoted following his exit, it’s clear the network has no desire to change its on-air reputation when it comes to casual race-baiting.