Jon Stewart Wins Rap Battle With Bill O’Reilly Over Common

Is this what we really need: two old white dudes debating hip-hop lyrics on cable television? | VIDEO

On Monday, I was asked to appear on NBC’s “Today” show to talk about the Common “controversy” that was largely created — and subsequently milked — by Fox News.

The segment — pegged to Jon Stewart’s debate with Bill O’Reilly on Monday night's “Factor” (see video clips above) — was ultimately scrapped for Tuesday’s show.

Nonetheless, here are some notes I wrote — Talking Points, if you will — while I was waiting in the green room at 30 Rock last night ahead of the appearance:

>> This whole thing is absurd.

>> This is exactly what we need, two old white guys debating hip-hop lyrics. Where's Matt Lauer? What's his take on the state of the rap game?

>> I'm surprised we're still talking about this.

>> Shouldn't we be focusing on topics that matter? Like the Taliban's obsession with porn? Or which reality show star is going to pretend to run for president in 2012?

>> Fox News couldn't wait to shift attention away from President Obama’s killing of Osama Bin Laden. They debated Common for two days before Stewart called them out.

>> Surprised Jon took him Bill up on the invite. By agreeing to the debate, it keeps the story in the news another day — and makes Stewart, in effect, a conspirator in the keeping a “nontroversy alive.” Hypocritical.

>> Not surprised Fox News invited him. They love to milk the controversies they create.

>> Stewart stopped short of making his best point: that critics of Common’s appearance at the White House are overlooking other artists (like Bono and Bob Dylan) with equally controversial lyrics because they’re white.

>> On the other side, O’Reilly showed his ignorance when he claimed Common is “controversial with this all day.” Controversial with what all day? The lyrics in question are from a 2007 performance.

>> Ask The Roots upstairs. Ask Questlove if Common is “controversial all day long.”

>> I listen to some rap, but don’t listen to Common because he’s not controversial.

>> Stewart's best lyric from his battle with O'Reilly: "There is a selective outrage machine here at Fox that pettifogs only when it suits the narrative that suits them."