After the launch of a new program the White House says is aimed at creating opportunities for young men of colour on Thursday, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said the program would need to attack the “culture of cynicism” that serves as the source of the problem in order to succeed.
Speaking with White House adviser Valerie Jarrett on his show Thursday night, O’Reilly argued part of the success of the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative would hinge on telling popular figures, like “gangsta rappers” Jay Z and Kanye West, to “knock it off.”
“You have to attack the fundamental disease if you want to cure it,” O’Reilly said after attending the launch of President Barack Obama’s new program at the White House. “You’re going to have to get people like Jay-Z, Kanye West — all these gangsta rappers — to knock it off.”
Jarrett, appearing for the first time ever on O’Reilly’s show, agreed that young minority men need good role models.
“Listen to me. Listen to me,” O’Reilly continued. “You got to get where they live, all right? They idolize these guys with the hats on backwards and the terrible rap lyrics, and the drugs, and all of that. You have got to get these guys. And I think President Obama can do it.”
O’Reilly said that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama would need to engage in what he called “reverse peer pressure” — “make it uncomfortable to have a baby out of wedlock, make it uncomfortable to sell drugs,” he said.
Jarrett said that she saw exactly where O’Reilly was coming from.
“What we showed today is that there is evidence that there are wonderful programs out there that can inspire these young people,” she said.
“The president is a terrific role model. The room today was full of role models of these young boys can look up to. And what we have to do is take what’s working and take it to scale.”
O’Reilly commended the President for the launch of the program, and he said he thinks it’ll work. But he said the White House could smooth its pathway to success by taking a more personal approach with its targets.
“You’re not getting gritty enough,” he said.
O’Reilly and Jarrett also talked about Obama’s declining poll numbers, which continued this week with a brutal CBS/New York Times poll. Jarrett acknowledged that it’s been a “challenging time” in the White House, but she said “the president has never focused on the daily polling numbers.”
Watch the full interview below, via Fox News: