Controversial comments by TV talk-show host Bill O’Reilly hit the Internet on Wednesday (January 27), causing plenty of talk on the chat boards. Audio from an O’Reilly appearance in Westbury, New York, was posted on MediaMatters.org, featuring O’Reilly comparing Chicago to Haiti.
“I’m seeing a guy [President Obama] who’s very, very committed to the government,” O’Reilly said. “The government’s going to solve the problems, and I’m going, I don’t know, how’s that possible? If you’ve ever been to the South Side of Chicago, I mean, it’s a disaster, all right? It’s like Haiti, it’s like — I’ve been to Haiti a couple of times. I support some charities there, but Haiti just never gets better, no matter how much money you put in there because they don’t have a system. And I said the government can’t do it, but Obama really believes the government can do it.”
One of Chicago’s favorite sons, [artist id="2017563"]Lupe Fiasco[/artist], says that although he does not support O’Reilly, he does see the need to improve communities in Chicago.
“There’s a certain level of concurrence,” Lupe said. “Not now. There’s no toppled buildings, unless you want to count the projects. But pre-earthquake Haiti … When I went to Africa, when I was in Tanzania, it was weird because there was this extreme poverty and extreme corruption and it looked so much like the West Side of Chicago. In [the documentary I shot over there] you’ll see me say that. There’s no grass, there’s a barbershop, there’s a sneaker store, there’s a liquor store and a bunch of Coca-Cola everywhere.”
Fiasco, who recently climbed all the way to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro with a group of activists and celebrities including Jessica Biel and Kenna, says that ghettos across the world can sometimes resemble each other.
“I don’t want to be pointed out as supporting Bill O’Reilly in any way because he can be on the garbage sometimes. When you’re comparing certain areas in the U.S. that are predominantly African-American or Latino, it’s very easy to compare it to the Third World,” Lupe said. “Just in the amount of violence that’s there, the corruption that’s there, the gang activity that’s there. It’s prevalent and dominant in Haiti. The corruption of the local politicians, the abject, corporate exploitation that takes place there, loan sharking, all that stuff. I think you can make the comparison to a lot of places in the U.S. Oakland [California], Detroit. Detroit’s got abandoned buildings. On that note, he’s definitely not out of the ballpark. There’s a credible argument there. I agree with that in some aspects.”