Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was so angry about the media’s coverage of the Ferguson, Missouri, protests that he cut his own vacation short to present “the truth” about the situation on his Wednesday night show.
O’Reilly took particular exception to Rev. Al Sharpton, who hosts his own MSNBC show, and the activism Sharpton has done after the death of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old whose fatal police encounter on Aug. 9 sparked the wave of racially-charged demonstrations.
“I came back from vacation because I am furious — furious! — about how the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown is being reported,” O’Reilly said, fuming. “The liberal media will never … report the true picture of criminal justice in the USA. Instead, NBC News pays Al Sharpton to deliver garbage.”
O’Reilly also blasted MSNBC on at least two other issues, including employing a legal commentator who said young black men were being “murdered” in Ferguson.
“Are you kidding me?!” he said.
But his sharpest criticism was aimed at Sharpton. At one point in the program, O’Reilly played a clip of Sharpton declaring “we have had enough” of police violence.
“Enough of what Al? Enough what? Police efficiency?” O’Reilly asked, citing statistics to show police shootings are rare compared to the total number of arrests. “Sharpton has the nerve to insult the American police community — men and women risking their lives to protect us. This charlatan has the gall to do that and NBC News is paying him. My God, why is that acceptable?”
The Fox host concluded by blasting “race hustlers” in Ferguson and further attacking Sharpton’s character.
“Sharpton only cares about his own self-aggrandizement. And if he has to stoke racial hatred to get that, that’s what Sharpton will do. I know this man. His record defines him,” he said.
Reached for comment, Sharpton told Business Insider he fails to see whom O’Reilly “is speaking for that has any direct interest in this matter.”
“I was invited to Ferguson by the family of Michael Brown, and I spoke at that rally after being introduced by his parents. The officer has the right to a presumption of innocence and the family and I have the right to question whether there will be a fair and impartial investigation. I spoke at the invitation of Michael Brown’s family to represent their feelings and many others that packed that church,” Sharpton said in a statement. “I fail to see who Mr. O’Reilley is speaking for that has any direct interest in this matter.”
Watch O’Reilly’s segment below.
Updated (10:16 a.m.): With comment from Sharpton
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