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One Wild and Crazy Guy…. Stretches the Truth

June 10, 2009

Oh boy.   Bill O’Reilly is a crazy guy.  I don’t mean crazy in the “it would be cool for me to put a tribal tattoo on my face crazy”.  I mean crazy in the sense that he believes no one in his television audience is smart enough to discern lies from truth, crazy.  I’ve watched the guy for a few years.  Growing up in Connecticut, I had the privilege of watching O’Reilly in his formative years as the host of  “A Courant Affair”.  Even then, his audacious style and overbearing hubris were on display, as evidenced by the now infamous youtube clip that’s been circulated.  Yet he always struck me as a quick-witted, knowledgeable journalist despite his antics.

That is until his reign as the preeminent prime-time talking head on cable television.  The O’Reilly Factor is the top-ranked program on Fox News Channel, and the most watched news program on cable.  His audience expects him to deliver the truth in a “fair and balanced” way, which usually means skewed on a conservative curve, lest they fall in line with mainstream media reporting.  O’Reilly’s job here is less hard journalist, and more agitator and rabble rouser for his audience, all done under the illusion of fairness.  Now calling it fair and balanced in my opinion, means reporting on issues and stories equally from both sides of the spectrum.  I don’t believe that’s the case, but that’s not the issue here.  What is at issue, is the veracity with which you report on the news.  Your credibility as a man with an extreme amount of power and sway, rests on you making the truth the news, and not making yourself the news.

Take the issue of the murder of  Dr.  George Tiller, a late term abortion doctor who allgegedly was killed in Kansas by a pro-life supporter.  O’Reilly railed against Dr. Tiller for years as seen  Here.  The issue here isn’t necessarily what O’Reilly’s views on Tiller were, but his views on other media outlets for their coverage of Tiller’s murder, and the lack of coverage of other similar events.  In O’Reilly’s view, liberal media bias was clearly on display with their “positive” coverage of Tiller and “negative” coverage of the anti-abortion movement in the form of alleged murder suspect Scott Roeder.  O’Reilly went as far as to say that another tragedy, the murder of Private William Long at an Arkansas Army recruiting station, was barely covered by one media outlet because they were too busy soft peddling their coverage in favor of Tiller and the pro-choice movement.   Check out the clip and determine for yourself.

Being an agitator can be be a good thing, but you better make sure you check your facts first.

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