Jon Stewart, Bill O'Reilly spar over Common on Fox News

Jon Stewart (left) and Bill O'Reilly (right) on Fox News, May 16, 2011. Fox

In an appearance on Fox News Monday night, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart sparred with Fox host Bill O'Reilly over the recent invitation of rapper Common to the White House - and accused the conservative-leaning cable network of being "a selective outrage machine...that pettyfogs [an issue] only when it suits the narrative that suits them."

The Obama administration came under fire from the right last week after inviting Common to take part in a poetry reading at the White House. Conservatives took issue with the invitation because Common, a Grammy award-winning hip hop artist, has in some of his lyrics defended Black Panther member and convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur.

O'Reilly, who invited Stewart onto the show expressly for the purpose of debating the issue, argued that the White House should not be issuing invitations to people who were "celebrating a cop-killer."

"What I think he's doing is not celebrating, but honoring someone he thinks was wrongly convicted of cop-killing. I think he believes she was convicted unjustly," argued Stewart, host of Comedy Central's "Daily Show." "Correct me if I'm wrong, what you're saying is, if an artist supports someone that has been convicted of killing a cop, they should not be allowed to go to the White House."

"I am saying that when a president invites someone [to the White House]...the resume has to be put in front of them and they have to select someone who [is] almost unimpeachable," O'Reilly responded.

Stewart countered that, if the White House were to hold such a standard, it would also have to shun legends like Bono, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen - all of whom have written songs about people who have been convicted for killing cops.

"Guess who wrote a song about Leonard Peltier? Bono. Guess where he was?! The White House," Stewart exclaimed. "Booyah. That's a rap word."

"Bob Dylan wrote a song about a convicted killer named 'Hurricane' Carter," Stewart continued. "He's been to the White House. Why are you drawing the line at Common? There is a selective outrage machine here at Fox that pettyfogs only when it suits the narrative that suits them."

"This guy is in the crosshairs in a way that he shouldn't be," he continued. "You have to be consistent with your outrage."

Bill O'Reilly fired back at Stewart, arguing that "you know this guy is sympathizing with two cop killers. You know that."

"That's enough for a sitting president to say, 'You know what? This guy might be radioactive. I'm not doing it,'" he continued, noting that he found the support for Common particularly offensive in light of the fact that this week celebrates National Police Week.

Stewart argued that, in honor of National Police Week, the duo should team up to do something "important."

"Let's do something nice for police for National Police Week," he suggested to O'Reilly. "Let's have us agree to promote a reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons - because that doesn't celebrate killing cops metaphorically or physically, it tries to get weapons that kill cops - literally - off the streets."

"That's important," Stewart said, "this is nothing."

Watch the second half of the debate below.

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