This momentous point in the history of the United States presents a number of issues, including allegations that Russia hacked key U.S. institutions during the presidential election; the future of the country’s health-care system; congressional ethics!
So what topic does Bill O’Reilly choose to cover? The dearth of top-flight performers booked to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s impending inaugural festivities. “There are wide reports that many entertainers are frightened to perform in the inaugural festivities on Jan. 20,” lamented O’Reilly, who attributed the problem to a “reverse McCarthyism” prevailing in Hollywood. “Remember that in the 1950s, Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy started accusing people in Hollywood of being communists. That led to a blacklist where people were not hired because McCarthy smeared them. Today, it seems, anti-Trump zealots may be doing the same thing: If you’re a Trump supporter, you’re a bad person and a number of entertainers believe their careers will be harmed should they associate with the new Trump administration.”
The New York Post reported last month that just such a backlash helps explain why tenor Andrea Bocelli won’t be performing at the inaugural.
So there’s that. Omitted from the O’Reilly monologue, however, is some rather consequential data. One member of the Rockettes — which will perform — told Marie Claire magazine, “This is not a Republican or Democrat issue—this is a women’s rights issue … This is an issue of racism and sexism, something that’s much bigger than politics.” That’s the very opposite of the scenario laid out by O’Reilly: This Rockette isn’t objecting for fear of a backlash from anti-Trumpers; she’s objecting for reasons of conscience. Same thing with the member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir who quit the organization over its decision to perform at the inaugural. “I only know I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him,” wrote choir member Jan Chamberlin.
She’s not responding to anti-Trump goons, but rather to her own sense of propriety. Similar sentiments are all over this inventory of artists who won’t perform for Trump.
After O’Reilly laid out his case for suppression of artistic freedom, Fox News contributor and Post columnist Charles Krauthammer came on to say that he had provided “no evidence” to support his conclusions. “Well, thus far there are very few booked and we know that a number of people we asked,” responded O’Reilly. To which Krauthammer responded, “That doesn’t prove fear; Hollywood is overwhelmingly, more than 100 percent liberal, and it could very well be that these people, for their own political reasons, don’t want to perform at a Republican or a Trump inauguration.”
After O’Reilly launched on a fascistic rant about how it’s “un-American” for people to “hold it against someone who performed at an inauguration,” Krauthammer pointed out, “This is a republic. You are not summoned to perform for the king or for the dictator.”