First Lady at the Oscars Was ‘Propaganda,’ O’Reilly Tells Leno

by | March 2, 2013 at 11:50 AM | The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, TV News

Bill O'Reilly criticized Michelle Obama Friday night on "The Tonight Show" (Photos: NBC, Getty Images)

Bill O’Reilly had the last word on last Sunday’s Academy Awards when he railed against First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance via satellite to present the evening’s Best Picture Oscar.

Appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on Friday night — five days after the Oscars (and long after most of us had stopped talking about it) — O’Reilly declared that the First Lady’s inclusion in the festivities amounted to “propaganda.”

“This was the most propagandistic thing I’ve ever seen,” said O’Reilly, who was capping off a week of public appearances in California — which, he noted, is No. 1 among U.S. states in the number of residents who watch his show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” on Fox News Channel.

In his interview with Jay Leno, O’Reilly fell short of fully explaining what he meant.

But we’re pretty sure he meant that the appearance of the First Lady — reportedly engineered by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein — symbolized the dominance of liberal political thought in Hollywood.

Appearing via satellite from the White House, Mrs. Obama “presented” the Best Picture award to the Ben Affleck movie “Argo.”

Previously: First Lady Not Surprised by Reaction to Oscars

O’Reilly’s main problem with the First Lady’s appearance on the awards show: In his view, neither Weinstein nor any other Hollywood power broker would ever invite a Republican first lady to participate in an Oscars telecast.

Watch Bill O’Reilly discussing Michelle Obama on “The Tonight Show”:

“Let me ask you about this,” Leno said. “Everybody’s making a big deal about Michelle Obama presenting the Best Picture [Oscar]. What was your take on that?”

“I like Mrs. Obama,” O’Reilly said, “and she has been very nice to my daughter and we see her at the White House parties. I think she’s a very nice woman. But this was the most propagandistic thing I’ve ever seen.”

But, Leno pointed out, “there was no politics mentioned.”

“[Do] you think Harvey Weinstein would have called up [George W. Bush] and [invited Laura Bush to appear on the Oscars]? C’mon!” O’Reilly said. “It was such propaganda.”

Leno defended the First Lady. “I think if the president was [on the show], you could [make that propaganda claim]. The First Lady supports the arts … It didn’t strike me as anything terrible,” Leno said. “And if it had been Laura Bush or even Barbara Bush, I think that’s fine.”

“But it never would have been, Jay! I’m trying to get that through to you! This is a partisan town!” O’Reilly said.