Bill O’Reilly rants about the poor: “They grow up with no skills, and they can’t read and speak, and they have tattoos on their neck”

The Fox News host went off on "race hustlers" in defense of his guest, Paul Ryan

Published March 26, 2014 2:15PM (EDT)

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly went on one of his Archie Bunker-patented rants against minorities and the poor on Monday night, telling guest Rep. Paul Ryan that those who'd criticized the congressman's earlier remarks on poverty, culture and the "inner city" — like Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat and African-American — only did so because they were "race hustlers" who did not want to improve the lives of America's poor.

After Ryan repeatedly insisted his comments had nothing to do with race, O'Reilly asked the former vice-presidential candidate if Lee had apologized to him for her public criticism of Ryan's comments.

"No, but, look, Barbara and I have known each other for many years," Ryan said before once again claiming to be devoid of racial biases. He told O'Reilly he'd "have to ask [Lee]" to get an answer as to why she accused Ryan of using racially charged language.

O'Reilly then asked Ryan if he was mad at Lee. Ryan said he wasn't, that he was "a big boy" and understood that talking about poverty and race would lead sometimes to his being "misinterpreted."

"It's intentional," O'Reilly interrupted. "With all due respect to you, because I think you're a good man," O'Reilly said to Ryan, "they don't want a conversation, they don't want to solve the problem."

"These race hustlers make a big living, and they get voted into office, by portraying their constituents as victims," O'Reilly continued. "And it's all your fault, and it's my fault, it's the rich people's fault, and it's the Republicans' fault — it's everybody's fault except what's going on."

As Ryan stared blankly ahead, with a half-smile, waiting for O'Reilly to finish ranting, the host went on.

"And what's going on, as you know, is the dissolution of the family, and you don't have proper supervision of children, and they grow up with no skills, and they can't read and speak, and they have tattoos on their neck, and they can't compete in the marketplace, and that's what's going on!"

"But if you say that," O'Reilly went on, "you're a racist. So no matter what you say, congressman, you're going to be branded because the race hustlers don't want to solve the problem. How's that!"

You can watch O'Reilly's totally not-racist or classist tantrum below, via Media Matters:

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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