Bill O’Reilly, who thinks that the only way to combat negative press is with even more negative press, decided to borrow President Trump’s “both sides” rhetorical tool. In a column published by The Hill, the former Fox News host did so by partially blaming indigenous people for their mistreatment by European conquerers.
O’Reilly begins harmlessly enough by making a painful joke about traffic in Los Angeles, saying “political correctness is the real oppression,” and referencing a sitcom about a girl-chasing teen that ran in the 1960s. According to him, however, disrespecting Columbus and the Italian-Americans who celebrate the holiday is wrong because Columbus never even landed on the mainland United States. That, he continues while saying that indigenous people were already torturing and enslaving each other:
Along the way, Columbus ran into some Indian tribes, most notably the Caribes. They did not like Chris and his malodorous European crews. Strife broke out and some bad stuff went down on both sides.
On the island of Hispaniola, present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Columbus did establish slavery to support various laborious enterprises. Not good. Slave labor was common at the time the world over, but that’s no excuse.
O’Reilly also notes it’s much more important to laud Columbus for his skills as a navigator — despite his repeated failures to navigate his ships to Asia. He ends the column by saying that if Columbus’s legacy is re-evaluated, soon the legacies of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson will be revised as well. “And they’ll cover up your statue,” he concludes. “Every person on the planet has done bad things, but it is the totality of a human being that should be the litmus test.”
(Via The Hill)