O'Reilly ignores Limbaugh's history of racially charged remarks in claiming McNabb comments are “only thing we can find”

Discussing the controversy that erupted around Rush Limbaugh's failed bid to become part owner of the St. Louis Rams, Fox host Bill O'Reilly claimed "[f]air-minded Americans know that playing the race card is easy and hateful. The only thing we can find about Rush Limbaugh is that he thinks quarterback Donovan McNabb is overrated by some people who want black quarterbacks to succeed." But contrary to O'Reilly's claim that the “only” racially charged or insensitive remark that Limbaugh has made is about McNabb, Media Matters for America has documented numerous such remarks, including his comments that "[w]e are being told that we have to hope [Obama] succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles ... because his father was black" and that “Obama's entire economic program is reparations.”

Looking for “evidence that Limbaugh is a race-baiter,” O'Reilly claimed “only thing we can find” are his McNabb remarks

O'Reilly characterizes McNabb remark as “only” evidence against Rush. As Media Matters has documented, Limbaugh resigned from a brief 2003 stint as a commentator on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown after he made remarks about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb that ESPN called “insensitive and inappropriate.”

From the October 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: So what's the evidence that Limbaugh is a race-baiter? We investigated the statements that are being tossed about. The first one allegedly has Mr. Limbaugh praising James Earl Ray, convicted of assassinating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There's no evidence that Rush Limbaugh ever did that. The accusation comes from a far-left guy named Jack Huberman, who provided no evidence to back up the claim. Huberman is also the source for Limbaugh's alleged quote saying slavery was not entirely bad. Again, Huberman provided no backup. The allegation was also published on Wikipedia without any sourcing whatsoever. Mr. Limbaugh denies making both comments.

Finally, a Kansas City Star columnist named James Fussell quoted Limbaugh as saying bad things about the NAACP. The quote came from a newsletter called “Flush Rush.” But so far, there's no confirmation the disparaging remarks, again, were ever made.

So what we have here are accusations without merit. But in our hypermedia age, that's enough to paint someone as a racist.

Now, I've been through this. A couple years ago, I said on the radio that having dinner in Harlem at Sylvia's Restaurant was the same as having dinner anywhere in America. The context was my grandmother, who was very afraid of blacks, even though she never even met a black person. Her fear was irrational. And I made that point quite clearly.

But the vicious website Media Matters put forth I was denigrating a black-owned restaurant. And some people actually believed it without even listening to the radio broadcast, which I posted on billoreilly.com so everybody could hear it. Well, there goes my NFL career.

Fair-minded Americans know that playing the race card is easy and hateful. The only thing we can find about Rush Limbaugh is that he thinks quarterback Donovan McNabb is overrated by some people who want black quarterbacks to succeed. Mr. McNabb resented the remark, as he should have. He's a good player, and his color has nothing to do with his performance. I think Limbaugh made a mistake with that analysis.

But that doesn't make him a racist and should not disqualify him from owning part of a team. We've got to stop the racial witch-hunting in America.

O'Reilly: “We have the best research staff in the business.” Referencing the work of The O'Reilly Factor research staff during a segment about the controversy around Limbaugh's failed bid for the Rams, O'Reilly claimed that "[w]e have the best research staff in the business, the best. There is nobody better at researching than The Factor." (The O'Reilly Factor, 10/14/2009, retrieved from the Nexis database)

Media Matters has documented at least 28 examples of Limbaugh making racially charged remarks

Limbaugh has an extensive history of making racially charged remarks about minorities. Media Matters has documented numerous examples of Limbaugh's racially charged and insensitive remarks about minorities, including his comment that “in Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering” [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/15/09] and that “Obama's entire economic program is reparations” [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/22/09]. Examples include:

O'Reilly again falsely claimed Media Matters distorted his Sylvia's comments

In fact, Media Matters provided audio and transcript -- in context -- of O'Reilly's relevant comments. Contrary to O'Reilly's claim that Media Matters distorted his 2007 comments about his dinner at Sylvia's restaurant, Media Matters provided accurate audio and transcript of O'Reilly's relevant comments in context.