In response to Jon Stewart's spoken-word takedown of Fox News, Fox patriarch Bill O'Reilly has officially thrown down the gauntlet. On yesterday's O'Reilly Factor, the host had a message for Stewart: "I would like to debate you about the Common situation." Thus, the stage is set for yet another O'Reilly/Stewart showdown, which will be sort of like an East Coast-West Coast-style rap battle, except without any killer beats, memorable rhymes, and also both men work in New York. (Actually, it will probably very genteel, since the two opposing hosts seem to positively treasure each other's company.) For his part, O'Reilly arguably succeeded in escalating the "Commongate" debate a little bit. Where earlier anti-Commonites likes Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity had directly attacked Common's music with all the self-awareness of preachers proclaiming that Elvis Presley's gyrations were opening a portal to hellfire, O'Reilly focused on what he called Common's "defense" of "two cop-killers," apparently referring to Joanne Chesimard, a.k.a. Assata Shakur, and Mumia Abu-Jamal.)

O'Reilly then successfully de-escalated his argument into ambient culture-war territory, noting at one point: "We fought the good fight years ago against gangsta rappers. He's not a gangsta rapper. Now, society has accepted all rappers." I'm confused. Is Bill O'Reilly taking credit for making rap go corporate? Now that's a debate I'd like to see! Check out the full video below:

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