Tavis Smiley called out the national media, including Fox News, for its slowness to cover the Trayvon Martin tragedy on Bill O'Reilly's Thursday show.
The two were discussing the recent assault of two journalists in Virginia. O'Reilly has insisted that the attack was a bias crime against white people, and should be treated as such.
On Thursday, O'Reilly speculated that a bias crime committed by white people against blacks would definitely get covered in the media.
"I don't know that," Smiley contradicted.
"You don't think that they would cover that story?" O'Reilly asked incredulously.
Smiley argued that "it took weeks for" the mainstream media to cover the Trayvon Martin case even though black Americans were discussing it "every day." He added that it took forty-six days for Martin's shooter George Zimmermann to get charged.
"The mainstream media including Fox News and my friend Bill O'Reilly didn't jump on the story as fast as others did," he alleged.
O'Reilly reacted skeptically. "When we first heard about Trayvon Martin, we got on it, so i don't know what the timeline was," he responded.
Smiley maintained that the national media was slow to cover the story, and also said there was a discrepancy in how crime is covered. "It's the white babies in this country who end up on the milk cartons... the blonde and the blue eyes and I'm not opposed to it —" he said.
O'Reilly interrupted him to admit that he was right on that point. "Black crime isn't covered as much," he conceded.