On last night’s The O’Reilly Factor, viewers were not treated to the director’s cut of Jesse Jackson’s statements about Barack Obama, as some expected might happen in a ratings stunt. Rather, Bill O’Reilly’s told his audience, “You got the entire story concerning Jackson and Obama,” and then proceeded to explain why Fox News chose to air the statements — and how the liberals at MSNBC and CNN would never do something so bold!
There are live on-air gaffes that news anchors wish they could erase, like the common Obama/Osama mix-up.
But when Jesse Jackson whispered that he wanted to “cut [Obama’s] nuts off” before a Fox & Friends interview on Sunday was set to begin, it was a reminder that public figures often have a hard time keeping their private conversations to themselves when they’ve got a hot mic pack clipped to their hip.
It should be a simple life lesson: When you have a media outlet’s microphone attached to you , by default you should expect other people are listening to your conversation, and very likely recording it. Herewith, some famous examples of people who should know better, but obviously didn’t.
And so, after hours of anticipation, the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s vicious words aimed at Barack Obama were broadcast to the world on last night’s The O’Reilly Factor. Supposedly, parts of Jackson’s hot mic’d conversation was just too controversial to air, but the parts that did make the broadcast show the black community’s self-anointed mouthpiece “privately” voicing his frustrations with Obama’s policies about faith-based initiatives, and also how he “talks down” to blacks, what with his preaching about black fathers failing their families and community. If it weren’t for the highly charged political atmosphere where every off-handed comment can become a Youtube-able soundbite replayed, in and out of context, for millions, this wouldn’t be such a big deal — it’s well known that Obama’s message to black families has put some on the fence. But this is the Rev. Jackson, who should be more media savvy than this. And if what O’Reilly is saying about the other parts of the recording — which is “more damaging that what you heard” but supposedly not material, and would make Jackson look very, very bad — then it’s clear Jackson is even more out of touch with how Politics 2.0 operates. Video below.
So what if the Rev. Jesse Jackson said he wants to “cut [Obama’s] nuts off”? Oh … they caught it on tape? Hmmm … that could be damaging. And he made some other, potentially racist comments? So … that can’t be good. And you say The O’Reilly Factor is going to air the comments on tonight’s broadcast? Huh … well, that could be quite terrible really.
Jackson only has himself to blame — not only because he made the comments, but because he made them while he was mic’d up, about to give an interview to Fox News on Sunday morning.
Of course, Jackson didn’t know the mic was hot, but given how media savvy somebody like Jackson should be, and how we’re living in a post-Katie Couric world, that this recording made it’s way to the surface is all his fault. So, too, will be the fall out, which will certainly include Barack’s camp downplaying the significance of the comments (and saying he still welcomes Jackson’s support), and endless apologies from the reverend himself, which he already got a jump on with CNN.
• Lindsay Lohan prays for Britney, forgets that she should also pray for herself.
• We always said Oscar De La Hoya was too pretty to box, but that doesn’t mean he looks good in fishnets.
• Today was international Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrrrren’t you glad you didn’t miss your chance to sound like a pantaloon-wearing, sword-swinging idiot?
• Jesse Jackson picks a fight with Barack Obama in a desperate attempt to regain any sense of self-relevancy.
• Hayden Panettiere threatens to kill an US Weekly reporter on the Emmy red carpet, which is almost (but not quite) reason enough for us to watch.
• Blame Borat for Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock’s divorce.
• Owen Wilson plans to ask Kate Hudson to marry him with a mall-bought ring.
• Now that O.J. Simpson’s Fox TV interview is canned, every other network wants to sit him down for some meta chatter about the whole ordeal.
• PETA names Nicole Richie “worst dressed celeb.” Way to go, Rachel Zoe!
• Phil Donahue plans anti-Iraq war movie, encroaches on Michael Moore’s turf.
• While Al Sharpton handles the alleged race-based NYPD shoot-out on Saturday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson is left to boycott Seinfeld.
We’re not sure if this is just some crazy scheme to create hype over the magazine, or if the re-birth of Radar will even actually happen, but the web rumors are flying over a deal between Maer Roshan and Ron Burkle to get Radar back off the ground.
And the bizarre kicker, which seems like it could only happen at Radar: Burkle’s working with Jesse Jackson. (Are we missing something?)
Reached on his cell phone Thursday evening, Roshan said, “Since the magazine has closed, I’ve spoken to a lot of people about reviving it, but no there is no official plan to restart it as of now.”
This revival would be the, ahem, third try for Radar, who hasn’t quite managed to hack it on the newsstand front. Former Radar staffers (despite a “holy shit” response or two) are likely not surprised by the news of a revival — though undoubtedly few expected it to happen so soon.
Then again, it’s tough to find people with money who are media shy and won’t run off with the goods after your magazine gossips about all their friends.
Bride Of Radar [Jeff Bercovici, Sara James, WWD]