JUAN WILLIAMS TARGETS MICHELLE OBAMA…. The things one learns watching Fox News.

During the January 26 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, NPR news analyst and Fox News political contributor Juan Williams again baselessly attacked first lady Michelle Obama, claiming that “her instinct is to start with this ‘blame America’ … stuff.” Williams asserted that “[i]f you think about liabilities for President [Barack] Obama that are close to him — [Vice President] Joe Biden’s up there — but Michelle Obama’s right there.”

Williams continued: “[S]he’s got this Stokely Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress thing going. If she starts talking, as [Townhall Magazine contributor and Weekly Standard contributing blogger] Mary Katharine [Ham] suggested, her instinct is to start with this ‘blame America,’ you know, ‘I’m the victim.’ If that stuff starts to come out, people will go bananas, and she’ll go from being the new Jackie O to being something of an albatross.”

In context, there was no reason for Juan Williams to launch into this nonsense. His comments weren’t just baseless and cheap, they were also gratuitous. Michelle Obama hadn’t said anything specific or done anything specific to draw Williams’ ire, but O’Reilly was talking about the scrutiny she’ll face in the national spotlight, and Williams thought it appropriate to use the opportunity to tie the First Lady to black nationalism and the politics of victimization — just because he felt like it.

Naturally, Williams didn’t (and couldn’t) offer any evidence to back up his accusations against Michelle Obama. Worse, it’s part of a pattern with him — Williams has accused the First Lady of using “militant anger” before.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has a fascinating piece on Michelle Obama in the latest issue of the Atlantic, added a brief message to Williams: “It’s a dangerous, dangerous thing to make a living running your mouth.”

And Adam Serwer also had a very sharp item on this, noting, “Williams’ statement makes me angry not because it’s about Michelle, but because it’s so manifestly not about her, but about black women in general.”

We’re way past the point at which it’s reasonable to expect Fox News personalities to apologize to those they smear, but a) Juan Williams probably shouldn’t expect any White House exclusives anytime soon, and b) the Obamas’ “honeymoon” apparently never actually started, at least as far as the Republicans’ news network is concerned.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.