O’Reilly Debates Stewart Over Common’s White House Poetry

Conservatives will stop at anything to chastise the president.

By Thoai Lu May 18, 2011

Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly debated on Fox’s "The O’Reilly Factor" over whether or not rapper Common’s invitation to the White House was "valid" or not, reported the Baltimore Sun.

It is not surprising that a political commentator representing Fox News has joined the ranks of conservatives such as Sarah Palin who are upset over the hip-hop artist’s invitation from Michelle Obama to perform at a White House poetry event last Wednesday evening.

What is interesting is O’Reilly’s logic, that because Common has voiced his support of Assata Shakur (aka Joanne Chesimard), a member of the Black Liberation Army, who was convicted of killing a New Jersey State Trooper in 1977, he is "celebrating a cop, killer, yes." Shakur’s supporters have long maintained that her conviction was politically motivated, and Cuba has granted her asylum for decades as a political prisoner.

Stewart noted that, "What I think he’s doing is not celebrating, but honoring someone he thinks was wrongly convicted of cop killing. I think he believes she was convicted unjustly."

O’ Reilly insisted that:

"The President of the United States though, takes him into the house, thereby validating him. Come on, that was a bad decision… It elevates him as a poet or whatever. Do you know how many poets would have liked to be there?"

Well, many other poets across a diverse plane were there, when the Obamas hosted the the celebration of American poetry and prose event, and they included Elizabeth Alexander, Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Kenneth Goldsmith, Alison Knowles, Aimee Mann and Jill Scott.

"The president does not support and opposes the kind of lyrics that has been written about," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, but Obama was simply acknowledging how Common’s larger body of work has had an impact on the hip-hop world, wrote Jake Tapper of ABC News.