Commentary By Eddie Griffin
NEW REPORTS CLAIM NEARLY HALF A MILLION DOLLARS DONATED TO JENA SIX IS MISSING
Thursday, November 15, 2007
This Fox News report was the takeoff for Bill O’Reilly’s "The O'Reilly Factor" interview with Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune and Al Sharpton, leader of the National Action Network.
Devil in the Camp
O’Reilly raises the opening specter that “half a million dollars” had been raised on behalf of the Jena 6 youths charged with assault. Where in the world did that figure come from?
Based on unsubstantiated, uncorroborated, fabricated “news reports”, O’Reilly launches a witch-hunt for lost money that may have never been. In his search, he heightens more public suspicion around funding-raising efforts in the Jena 6 case.
BILL O’REILLY, HOST: (excerpt)… Reverend Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders rallied to assist the six students. And reports say about $500,000 was raised for their defense… Now there are questions about where that money has gone.
HOWARD WITT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: (excerpt)… Several weeks, but the controversy really broke into the open last week when Michael Basin, who’s a prominent black talk radio host based here in Dallas, actually went on the air and accused a group called Color of Change of having actually somehow been shady with the money… The irony of that is that Color of Change, which has raised about $212,000 for the Jena Six defendants, they’re the only group in all of this that actually has been completely transparent about how they have distributed the money. And they’ve basically shown how they have paid it all out to the attorneys.
O’REILLY: All right, so the parents themselves are controlling — now we hear that the parents have bought Escalades, big cars, are driving around in them since these funds were established. Is that true?
WITT: No, I — I have no — see no evidence that that’s true. That’s one of the rumors that’s out there. There’s no evidence that that’s the case. The problem is in the absence of any kind of transparency about this money.
O’REILLY: Yes, you don’t know. You don’t know. But you haven’t found out that they did indeed spend money on expensive cars? That you haven’t found out, OK.
Eddie Griffin sez: Notice how O’Reilly tries to discredit Witt’s testimony with an injection: “You don’t know. You don’t know.” Does he (O'Reilly) know or is he making accusatory suggestions?
WITT: No, there’s no evidence that they’ve misused the money, but no one knows for sure because.
O’REILLY: (excerpt)… Reverend Sharpton, now when you have this kind of a flow of funds… there is, you know, the perception that something may be going wrong because a half million dollars is a lot of dough. How do you see it?
Eddie Griffin sez: Hell, how can Al see any picture other than the one already painted for him by O’Reilly? All Al is allowed to see is a suspicious cloud of embezzlement, which he would just as soon completely disassociate himself?
Now considering that Sharpton was one of the loudest voices on the national arena in defense of the Jena 6, just how much did he and his organization National Action Network raise in funds for the cause?
O’Reilly coyly turns Sharpton on the defensive by insinuating (and not saying) that he was part of the controversy. Instead of proudly admitting his fundraising effort, Sharpton washes his hands like this:
AL SHARPTON, REV., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Well, I think, first of all, let’s not confuse many of us that were involved had nothing to do with the fundraising. National Action Network, my group, had nothing to do with any of the funds. And so when we say civil rights leaders protested and put all that in with who’s on the Internet, those are not the same parties.
Eddie Griffin sez: Don’t get Al mixed up with “who’s on the Internet”. He is not a party to the bloggers. He and his group, National Action Network, raised no funds on behalf of the Jena 6. Therefore, his role must have been for pure publicity sake- which some of us recognized from the beginning.
AL SHARPTON: (excerpt)… Secondly, I think that when you talk about the group Color of Change did over $200,000, that’s half of the money that you’re saying was raised. So half of it, you are saying is transparent.
Eddie Griffin sez: Who is saying “that’s half of the money”? If Al realized who was doing the asking, he would have never been caught out in no-man’s land. Did he assume, from O'Reilly's question, that Color of Change had received more than the $200,000 and ridiculed “half of it” (the fictious $500,000) as “transparent”. Is he suggesting that Color of Change was not completely transparent?
Shame on Bill O'Reilly and his “wizardry with words”. Paint a deceptive picture and then have others fill in the blanks to complete the lie.
O’REILLY: Well, it looks funny. And whenever you have cash, you guys know, whenever there’s cash coming in, you got to account for it.
Eddie Griffin sez: Silly rabbits, don’t you know you have to account for the money you know about and the money you don’t know about. Where did it go?
Whether the mystique of money is ever accounted for to the likings of O’Reilly, I highly doubt it. He has shown no compassionate interest in the Jena 6 case.
SHARPTON: Well, let’s raise the question about unequal justice. Let’s raise the question about the cost.
Eddie Griffin sez: Poor Al, he’s already been had, and now he wants to turn the focus back on the real subject of “Unequal Justice”. Too late.
O’REILLY: Well, I think we’ve already done that, reverend. You’ve been on this program and every other program raising the questions.
Eddie Griffin sez: Raising what question? The only questions coming from O’Reilly have been divisive and ill-motivated.
SHARPTON: You’ve been very fair about that, Mr. O’Reilly. But what I’m saying is to raise the question without any substantive charge is really a distraction.
Eddie Griffin sez: This is about as close as it comes to “kissing up”. Now watch how O’Reilly chasten Sharpton.
O’REILLY: No, no, no. That’s where you’re — reverend, now if I’m going to train you in journalism, you got to listen to me now.
Eddie Griffin sez: Train Al Sharpton in journalism? Sounds arrogant, unless you are kissing up, then you get treated any old kind of way and talked down to. Congratulations Al for reaching a new low in leadership.
SHARPTON: My question is if you are showing me journalism, the question is that if you’re already saying there’s no Escalades, there’s no evidence of splurging, then what is the question?
O’REILLY: The question is where’s the other $250,000? And what’s being done with it? Gentlemen.
Eddie Griffin sez: See how easy it is to come full circle? You create this mythical pot of $500,000 and give a public accounting of only half? Where is the other $250,000? From when it was created: With the devil in hell?