No second thoughts: Michael Jackson 'a child molester' -- Rep. Peter King
Maybe you remember a large ruckus the other day when Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) expressed puzzlement at least and probably more like distaste over the emotional national reactions to the sudden death of pop icon Michael Jackson at 50.
Now a day after the huge L.A. musical memorial service that drew thousands and glued millions to their TV screens around the world, in case you missed his meaning last time, King has gone a bit further.
In an interview tonight on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" with Bill O'Reilly, Republican King (in photo, right, above) says: "OK, he's a good singer, he's a good dancer. But why -- why is he getting all this coverage? Why has the nation stopped for Michael Jackson? That's why I said strip aside the psycho-babble. This man was a child molester."
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) announced to rousing applause at the Staples Center Jackson service Tuesday that she would be introducing a House resolution calling Jackson a "great American," an icon and someone who would be "remembered forever and ever and ever."
Lee has but one co-sponsor on the resolution, whose political fate is up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and thus uncertain. It's a prickly issue for her and the Democrats as much as they would like to hail the record-breaking musical accomplishments of a world-famous African American.
Debating such an issue in the summer of President Obama's eagerly sought healthcare reform would be a distraction and hand the GOP a publicity bonanza to unite its base and others over what is, in effect, nothing but a ceremonial piece of paper.
Pelosi could well decide it's not worth the effort and the resolution will be buried too. Only without celebrities and ceremony.
Even in Moscow, talking about nuclear weapons, the president was forced to address the Jackson service to break into the news cycle, calling Jackson a member of a long line of black entertainers who impacted American culture. "There are certain figures in our popular culture that just capture peoples' imagination," Obama said, "and in death they become even larger."
On Fox, meanwhile, King said he certainly had no regrets over his weekend statements. "I stand by everything I said, and there's absolutely nothing racist or racial in any of the words I used.”
He added: “I just think that people who are raising this issue are absolutely phony… it's wrong.”
King said what put him "over the edge" was that he'd spent the Fourth of July with firefighters, veterans and police and detected "such a resentment building up" over the nonstop public and media attention about the troubled singer's death.
O'Reilly pressed King about possibly waiting a week or two before saying such things. King said: "I would say an adult male who sleeps with young boys is a child molester.... If nothing else, he's molesting and abusing their psyche."
And he noted: "It was a real reflection on the culture of our country.... It can't be much more down than what Michael Jackson did with young boys, and yet we exulted that over the last 10 days in two weeks. It was wrong."
Then King added something that may strike a note with others: “I was saying what millions of Americans really felt." What do you feel?
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photo: Fox News Channel screen grab; AFP / Getty Images.