Lawrence O'Donnell takes on Bill O'Reilly's accusation that Trayvon Martin was wearing "clothing sometimes used by street criminals" on the night he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.
Bill O’Reilly’s comments on “President Obama and the Race Problem”–to borrow the language of his own broadcast–generated a lot of headlines. O’Reilly blamed a lot of different people in his comments, including Hollywood and President Obama:
…the entertainment industry encourages the irresponsibility by marketing a gangster culture, hip hop, movies, trashy TV shows to impressionable children. In fact, President Obama has welcomed some of the worst offenders in that cesspool to the White House when he should be condemning what these weasels are doing. These so-called entertainers get rich while the kids who emulate their lyrics and attitude destroy themselves.
He also targeted lawmakers, civil rights leaders and–you guessed it–President Obama:
…what do the race hustlers and limousine liberals yell about? The number of black men in prison for selling drugs. Oh, it’s so unfair. It’s a nonviolent crime and blacks are targeted. That is one of the biggest lies in the history of this country.
The thugs who sell hard drugs, no matter what color they are, deserve to be put away for long periods of time. They sell poison, they sell a product that enslaves and kills. They are scum.
When was the last time you heard the Congressional Black Caucus say that? How about Jackson and Sharpton? How about President Obama?
But it was something else Bill O’Reilly said that caught the ear of MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. O’Reilly argued:
Trayvon Martin was killed because circumstances got out of control. He was scrutinized by a neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, because of the way he looked. Not necessarily his skin color, there is no evidence of that but because he was a stranger to Zimmerman and was dressed in clothing sometimes used by street criminals.
O’Donnell answered that claim in his latest Rewrite. “There was plenty of evidence that Trayvon Martin’s skin color is what aroused George Zimmerman’s suspicions of him,” O’Donnell said. “It was indeed Trayvon Martin’s skin color that made him – in O’Reilly’s words – ‘a stranger to Zimmerman.’”