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MARCH 31, 2009 8:52AM

O'Reilly and Me: Out of the Closet?

Rate: 12 Flag

Woke up this morning, grabbed a cup and realized that have a problem: I may have been living a lie.

My wife watches Good Morning, America, which I tolerate until she heads off to work and I switch over to Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN (still an ABC-Disney production, but more my speed). Today, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor was being interviewed by Robin Roberts about what President Barack Obama has to do in Europe at the G20 summit, how he needs to sell his economic plan as well as his vision for Afghanistan and the ouster of the GM CEO Rick Wagoner.

As he spoke, my coffee came back up: I agreed with everything he said. After years of thinking myself a liberal, left-leaning Democrat-Independent voter, I found myself nodding in agreement with O'Reilly, slightly sickened by the thought of it. I don't want to agree with him, I want to keep my enemies where I want them.

On GM, Bill said that if companies are going to ask for tax dollars then they have to run their companies efficiently and it's up to Obama and the government to decide how that will happen.

On Afghanistan, Bill said that Obama needs to get the Europeans to understand that we're all in this together and that if they don't get behind a new push in Afghanistan to root out the resurgent Taliban and al-Qaeda, European and American targets would again be attacked. He also pointed out that the idea of removing the "War on Terror" tag is ridiculous, because it is a war on terror and if that offends someone in France, too bad. He pondered: Who will we offend, the terrorists? I agreed wholeheartedly.

He pointed out that Obama's super 66 percent approval rating came from a poll taken following a huge week on the stock market and if one were taken next week, after the recently dismal market performance, the number would be bad. He also pointed out that 62 million Americans voted against him and, while the whole country is willing to give him a few more months, many will turn against him if things don't work as he promised.

Again, I agreed.

I voted for Obama, voted for change. I believe he's doing the right things. At least, I think so since I'm not smart enough to really know how to fix the economy and neither are many of us.

Talk about being able to walk and chew gum at the same time: trying to fix the economy, including Wall Street, the banking industry, health care, two wars, the threat of terrorism, a sore lack of confidence across the globe, North Korea, China, Iran, Russia, being the first African-American president, following George W. Bush, trying to live up to every single campaign promise and, along the way, adjusting to life in a fishbowl while trying to be a regular guy who loves his kids, his wife and basketball.

Still, I agreed O'Reilly, and it makes me wonder: am I a closet conservative? Have I subconsciously been a Republican when just saying the word would have made my stomach turn? Is O'Reilly not what I thought he was, but instead a level headed and smart guy who sees things the way I do?

I just hope that he says something with which I disagree vehemently, so that I can go back to my liberal, pseudo-hippie views, comfortable in the thought that I am safe from the evils of conservative, right-wing Republicans (I think I don't even know what that means; same with left-wing, liberal Democrats).

Is O'Reilly just a smart guy and, in turn, I am a smart guy? Or is he as dumb as I am?

Do I need to come out of the closet and declare that I've been wrong all these years and am, in fact , ready to convert?

Maybe the labels I've put on so many people on both sides of the sandbox were just that, labels, judgments, characterizations, when most of us are just decent, free-thinking people with sometimes opposing views and other times taken by like-minded thought.

Gosh, I want to say I feel dirty, but I don't... just another lesson learned. Seems to be happening a lot lately

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uh,,, some decaf? Think of it this way, a broken clock is right twice a day. Look if you suddenly find your female side, here's a hint, you're probably not a woman or gay. The reason we don't shoot or blow up each other in this country is because most of us share some core values. On the other hand, the main tool of a con man is to seem as if he's agreeing with you or trying to help you.

Great piece!
I agree with WCD. I'd be much more inclined to think Numbnuts is somewhat less than looney if he ever espoused those thoughts in a venue where it might do some good, like on, oh, say "The O'Reilly Factor?"

Give a monkey a typewriter and eventually it'll write Shakespeare, right?

Good piece thought, and the graph about labeling is something we can all take heed of.
Sure, he spouted some populism on a show where viewers of all stripes tune it. Remember, he's out selling a book. But just watch his show tonight and see if you're still questioning yourself.
He's down half a million viewers a night. He lied about his ratings repeatedly during an interview with someone, and Keith O called him on it last night.

Does this help?
Go watch some old clips of him during the Bush years...that should snap you out of it.
Thanks, I think I can come down off the ledge and stop worrying about closets.... I just got scared!
O'reilly will increasingly re-make himself as a libertarian pragmatist. He needs attention, and will do whatever it takes to stay in the limelight.

His personality will likely remain the same, tho: a bullying little boy. Sooner or later he will need his fix. Wait for it.
I love your next to last paragraph:

" Maybe the labels I've put on so many people on both sides of the sandbox were just that, labels, judgments, characterizations, when most of us are just decent, free-thinking people with sometimes opposing views and other times taken by like-minded thought."

So true today and 20 years ago. Clinton/Bush turned the nation bi-polar and un-thinking. I’ve just about given up on change, as the change we’re seeing is just a mirror image. O'Reilly is just the FOX version of The Plastic Man, he stands for nothing... He just says what he thinks you want to hear.
O'Reilly said this:

"Now Moore, Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. She’s walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug. All right. Now she’s out of her mind, drunk."

He was trying to say that if she had not been drunk, scantily clad, and stumbling down the West Side Highway, she might still be alive. Of course, he blames the killer for her death. It is the Left that transfer blame for crimes: Reagonomics made them do it, bases in Saudi made them do it.

Predictably, the left howls that he was implying that she deserved what happened to her. The Left do not understand that in the real world, backwards folks like us have quaint notions about protecting our loved ones. Your damn right my mother would not have allowed my sisters to be in that position when they were 18. She understood, like O'Reilly, that there are bad people (like Ted Kennedy) out there, and one should take precautions, even if in a perfect world they would not be necessary.
Ahhh schmadoff, what a typically intelletually dishonest right winger you are!

You neglected to include the part of the quote where he said she was moronic. Now why would you do that? Maybe because it kind of sounds like he's blaming her for what haapened? Of course!

And JLee also mentioned the boy who was abducted, who Bill O said didn't want to go back to his family because he was having so much fun riding his bike.

You neglected to mention that one too? Why would you do that schmadoff? Because it sounds too much like Bill O blaming the kid. Yes.

And if you really believe your sister had never walked down the street drunk in a mini-skirt, you're dumber than Richard Simmons looks!
thank you for the update! happily, i still disagree with bill o'reilly on a few of the points you mention... but i've often said, if he had a post it note from god with the unvarnished truth on it, i would hope i had the sense to know it when i saw it. it's hard work to clear your own confirmation biases!

that's one reason i blog. i like to know what my opinions are like, and committing them to actual sentences and paragraphs helps me see if i seem reasonable to myself (if that makes any sense). even better, it creates a record of how i think about the world and it allows me to share it with other people. and if bill o'reilly prompted you to examine your perspective about the world, even just a little bit, i'm glad. i still think he's mostly an ass, but at least he can be productive.
shmadoff, you are changing the meaning of what he said when you omit portions of the quote. also, o'reilly omits some pretty big facts from the scenario. for example, that girl was raped not because she went out for the night, but because her friend's car was towed, and her friend was SOOOOO drunk that an ambulance came to get her from the impound lot. look it up.

objectively, not drinking as much got jennifer moore murdered.

you and bill would rather just act as though women are safe when they stay in their homes, don't drink or drive and wear burkas. you're obviously stealth islamo-fascists.
I'm an independent with lib and con leanings. Fox News is too supply-side for my tastes. I support unions, and regs on finance.

Voted for Obama with LOTS of reservations. My purpose here is to challenge left orthodoxy and the creeping dehumanization of anybody people like you disagree with. Amen Corners do nothing for me.

I haven't seen the quote about the boy. Pretty outlandish though if you expect me to believe that O'Reilly is overjoyed about the rapes and/or deaths of young people. Outside the gated communities of your privileged, Lefty paradises, folks have to navigate their way through an imperfect world. I know you think peope should do whatever they want and when something happens blame Reagan for cutting spending on whatever.

In the hinterlands, mothers give advice to daughters, father to sons, because they love them. Love is something you cannot understand because you don't find it trolling through bars night after night, looking for a piece of flesh to get you where you need to go.

I have thought th
.. sorry, that Daniel Pearl should perhaps have thought better of doing that last assignment himself. Someone a bit less Jewish could have done the job. I'm sure less polite people have thought, "What the hell did the stupid bastard he think he was doing?!" But not because they hated him, wanted him to die, or blamed him for his death. Especially if they were cons. Cons blame the shooter for the shot fired. Lefties blame "the system."
response to seamus
Fine post. Rated.

O’Reilly is a bullying egomaniac and was probably one even before he became phenomenally successful.

That said, he is, as you have come to observe by the rather bizarre means of actually listening to him, much brighter and, dare I say it, more fair and balanced than his counterparts on NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC. His interviews of Hillary and Barack put the Couric and Williams interviews to shame in terms of high journalistic standards and common courtesy.

The treatment of O’Reilly on the rape thing was liberal extremism at its most virulent. After having had the audacity to point out the obvious fact that the causative factors in many human tragedies are complex, the guy raised millions of dollars for the benefit of the rape victim and others similarly situated. Indeed, O’Reilly has been a genuine crusader in getting “Jessica’s Law” passed in most states notwithstanding the inexplicable resistance from liberal judges who have a penchant for releasing child molesters prematurely.

But for all of this he is attacked by the lunatic fringe of feminism that puts the sanctity of the vagina above all other considerations. Knee-jerk liberals who will join in any anti-conservative cause just for the hell of it have joyously joined in.

It’s amazing what confronting the facts can do to shape political viewpoints. Congratulations on your impressive beginning and thanks again for the post.

P.S. You go, shmadoff!
Sorry, no War on Terror is stupid. It isn't about people in France, it's about people everywhere who wonder what weapon you use against an EMOTION.

War on terrorism is also pretty dumb. That's a tactic. I think an argument could be made that using white phosphorous in civilian areas is a terrorist tactic.

War on extremism, that is, a philosophy that causes people to attack others, often unprovoked, using whatever means they have, I could accept better. Even, maybe, I don't know, retaliation for attacks on us and our allies.

Of course, Billo is pretty fond of some extremists.
wow gordono, your post managed to be even weirder than shmadoff's!

"The treatment of O’Reilly on the rape thing was liberal extremism at its most virulent. After having had the audacity to point out the obvious fact that the causative factors in many human tragedies are complex, the guy raised millions of dollars for the benefit of the rape victim and others similarly situated."

he did not point out any complexity: he said she got raped because she was drunk.

and if you think it was virulent to discuss that... i can't wait to see how you describe bill's response, which was to send strange men to follow a woman around wherever she went, even though she wasn't even drunk or wearing a miniskirt!


i would call that psycho, but i'm curious about your take. when is it reasonable to stalk someone because they had an opinion? and when is it "virulent" to discuss a celebrity's political views?

and i apologize to aaron... i need to start incorporating bill into my own posts so i can have these conversations without hijacking your comments!
O'Reilly did NOT say she was raped because she was drunk. Get your facts straight. He observed that rapists generally go for impaired victims. That, of course, is true.

The dreadful little lady that made a big issue of nothing to the great discomfort of the rape victim was not raped; she was asked a question. If a person can't ask a question about their conduct, maybe they should reconsider their conduct.
Wow, all great comments, if not polarized in many cases... added more fodder for my own thinking. I'm not convinced that he was merely pandering for more book sales. In fact, I reckon that the more inflammatory he is, the better his sales, so I think he meant at least some of it, and I probably agreed with some of that.

I must say that I will not be cutting up my He-Man NeoCon-Haters Club card anytime soon, or tossing away the key to the executive washroom at the Liberals-R-Us corporate offices. Nor will I start genuflecting in front of Fox News all day, every day. Instead, I will remember that it takes many opinions to make all this work and, as Max Frank pointed out so perfectly, we must all keep in mind that in these days following 16 years of Clinton/Bush partisanship, it may be time to put away the labels once and for all. But I'm not turning into an O'Reilly convert, but I will listen more to what he and others like him are trying to say instead of ignoring him out of hand.

All that said, if Rush tells me the sky is blue, I will argue that it is orange eight days a week. Some things never change.
Actually Bill O is fairly reserved and reasonable when he is being interviewed on someone else's show, when he can't control the editting button like he could on his own show.
In any event, Bill O has toned down his act somewhat in the last couple of years. As GW Bush was starting to be universally reviled, Bill O saw which way the wnd was blowing, and stopped being the blatant partisan barkdog that he used to be.
The classic role of Bill O'Reilly is now played by Glenn Beck.
O'Reilly must have had a moment of clarity. He is usually hateful and quotes things that he has actually made up. He has been at the top of the ratings for 100 months. That is really scary. He says Rush Limbaugh is only popular because he ( O'Reilly) gave up his radio talk show.
I'm right with you on the label thing but I have some problems with O'Reilly. I don't like the way he doesn't allow his guests a word in edgewise if he disagrees with them. He also vehemently expresses views that are narrow, ignorant and rude. He can also be imperious.
O'Reilly doesn't need me to carry his water, but it seems to me that his detractors are unfair. He has done more by leaps and bounds for children’s and women’s charities than any other news/media personality. All I have read here are distortions of O’Reilly’s positions.

Why is everyone so willing to hate. Especially commenting on a post where the writer has had an epiphany of sorts that has opened him to a reasonable, unbiased, politically neutral, humane and human conclusion.

When you consider the vast and combined total of the hatred and different accusations towards any political or media figure, (O’Reilly in this case) you have to really start to question first the validity of the accusation and then the reality of the accuser. Anyone who believes that any one person could personify that much evil is not seeing things clearly. Also, anyone who gives O’Reilly that much credit for conspiring to say just “what we want to hear” is lost in their own hatred.
There's a lot of words there schmadoff, but you don't really adress the point. You lied and didn't use the full quote so that it made the point you wanted. And I beleive that you didn't hear the quote about the boy, but JLee mentioned it in her comment. If you had taken the time to look it up, you would have been able to address it.

"Pretty outlandish though if you expect me to believe that O'Reilly is overjoyed about the rapes and/or deaths of young people."

That's pretty disingenous. Nobody's suggesting he was overjoyed about it. We're saying he's blaming the victim. That's different.

"I'm an independent with lib and con leanings. Fox News is too supply-side for my tastes"

I guess. But I'd have an easier time believing that if you didn't throw around stereotypes about liberals that come straight from Fox News.

"Outside the gated communities of your privileged, Lefty paradises,"

Really? I have a gate in my backyard to keep the dog from running into the street when a cars coming, but that's about it.

"when something happens blame Reagan for cutting spending on whatever. "

Ok, apparently you haven't updated your stereotypes lately. These days we blame Bush. Try to keep up!

"In the hinterlands, mothers give advice to daughters, father to sons, because they love them. Love is something you cannot understand because you don't find it trolling through bars night after night, looking for a piece of flesh to get you where you need to go."

Even you had to know how stupid this sounded as you were writing it. Really. Anyway, who can afford to troll bars night after night? Bush fucked up the economy, remember?
Great comment, Phil0s777. I'd recommend ignoring the static from recent Peter Pan Prep graduates.
Hey there Gord-0! You know all about that Peter Pan Prep school, don't you? I just wanted to say you're comment on Brenda's post about being a teacher was taouching! Your experiences must have been deeply satisfying! I know you have a firm commitment to raising up the youthful members of society! Kudos sir!

In the blogosphere, I respond to an insult the way I would to a sucker punch in the real world. Once I've been violated, the rules of civility don't apply. So when you called me a "typically intellectually dishonest right winger," I went into pit bull mode.

Now, I don't want to come off too agressive, to the point of being counter-productive. I got off to a bad start on OS when Bill Beck accused me of not thinking for myself, or something. My ideal is to find common ground here, and a good brawl there, but hopefully the fights end the way drunken rednecks end theirs, with no hard feelings.

As for Bill-O, I can see that there is a fine line between blaming the victim and criticizing behavior that leads to vulnerability. Mr. O knows damn well that he will not be given the benefit of the doubt by the Left, and for that I give him points for bringing up the issue, even if he could have approached it more sensitively.

Here's my main beef: O'Reilly is not Father Coughlin. Neither is Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, etc. Are they intellectuals on par with Buckley, Hitchens, or Will? No. But where's the "hate"? Why always with the "hate"? Hate is a serious word. There's some paranoid people out there in the sticks, who keep hearing how hateful they are and wonder how long they're hatin asses will be tolerated. At least Cap'n Bill's watching out for them.
AOL is doing a running poll on who came off best when O'Reilly appeared the other night on the Letterman show. When last I checked, 60% favored O'Reilly, 25% favored Letterman, and 15% thought it was a draw.
This, from See Mess

"I just wanted to say you're comment on Brenda's post about being a teacher was taouching!"

"You're"? "taouching"? I expect your exposure to teachers, particularly English teachers, has been extremely limited, but thanks for the kudo.
Well gordo, considering YOUR reputation as a teacher, I'm glad I wasn't exposed to you as an english teacher!
You're right to be glad. Anyone who doesn't know that "English " uses an initial capital letter would have spent the entire class sitting in a corner with a cone hat.

Fair enough! In my defense, and without getting back into it, you did pick the parts of the quote that made your point, and ignored the parts that made JLee's point.

But I will say that I've read some of your comments, and you do bring more to the table than most of these knee jerk right wingers who simply parrot whatever they heard on last nights talk shows, so I can understand why you were offended.

AS for Bill o, liberal, conservative, libertarian, you're just plain wrong! ;) He couldn't have handled it more sensitively, because he's an insensitive boor. I agree with you that it's a thin line between blaming the victim and expecting people to take responsibilty for their actions. But calling them morons probably will lead people to think you're falling on the blame the victim side. (Bill O you, not you you.)

I just did a real quick scan of the comments on here, and only one mentioned Bill purveying hate. Interestingly enough, on his show last night, BillO referred to three different groups of people as "Haters" (seriously, we can put that to rest?) in about three minutes. He's always referring to the "far left loons", or the "S-P's" who have "Christianity under attack!"

I agree that there are a lot of paranoid people out there wondering how long they'll be tolerarated. That's exactly the problem with Cap'n Bill (when did he get promoted?) and Beck, and Hannity. They totally play on that paranoia. The reason the people in the sticks are paranoid that the left thinks they're hate mongers and wonder how long they'll be tolerated is because these guys tell them it's so.
I bet you LOVED putting students in the corner with your cone hat, didn't you? Make them stay after class, clap your erasers?