While conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly did toss the Obama administration the odd compliment, saying that he thought President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative would work, he still had a few ideas as to how society’s ills could be fixed.
Talking to Valerie Jarrett, White House senior adviser, O'Reilly accused the administration of not sensing the "urgency" of the issue saying that they should "attack the fundamental disease" by getting "people like Jay Z, Kanye West, all these gangster rappers to knock it off."
Jarrett countered that what the boys who are expected to be impacted by the initiative really need are positive role models; however, O’Reilly hung steadfast to his point.
"They idolize these guys with the hats on backwards and the terrible rap lyrics and the drug and all of that. You got to get these guys, and I think President Obama can do it, and you’ve got to put them on TV … and they got to say knock it off," the pundit said.
O'Reilly claimed that the initiative's target boys could not possibly know who Colin Powell was, saying that they instead follow athletes and rappers. "You got to get them in there to tell these kids that you’ve got to stop the disruptive behavior or you’re going to wind up in a morgue or in prison."
Jarrett warned O'Reilly not to underestimate the children.
"I think when the president of the United States looks at you and says I believe in you and that I was just like you and you can be just like me, that’s the perfect role model," she said.
O'Reilly also encouraged Jarrett to get the first lady involved, saying that she should come down hard on teenage girls about pregnancy.
"I want Michelle Obama to come on this program … and I want Michelle Obama to look into that camera and say, 'you teenage girls, you stop having sex, you stop getting pregnant, this is wrong,' " he said.
Jarrett countered, claiming it was more important for the first lady to interact with the young girls one on one and in person.
"I think it's better if she's actually sitting down in the classroom with the girls, inviting them to the White House, sharing her life experience with them," she said.
Jarrett underlined the strides such attention brings forth, pointing to the boys present at the White House today as an example of what can be done when work is put in.
"I think there is reason to be hopeful because we can see the change that's happening. Those boys today—many of them were at risk last year and now look at them. They’re standing tall and doing well in school," Jarrett added.
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