Bill O’Reilly knows Fox News Channel like no one else. He’s been there forever. He anchors one of its marquee programs. He knows where it fits in the spectrum of competing news organizations.
On his eponymous program last night, the host forced himself into providing a full-on description of his employer’s political orientation, and it lacked the clarity you might expect from such a long-timer. The moment came in a discussion with expert media analyst Bernie Goldberg about media bias. O’Reilly was breaking down the landscape, noting for starters that talk radio was heavily conservative. “Not one liberal yakker makes any money on talk radio,” said O’Reilly, before moving on to his workplace:
Fox News, I mean, you have a network that basically is different from the establishment network that Mr. [Chris] Matthews was talking about. Takes a much more traditional approach. It has conservative hosts on that have programs. That’s unheard of in the other precincts. Never happens, never has happened, all right — I don’t think anyone would disagree with that, that description.
No disagreement here! I agree with O’Reilly’s description as fully as I agree with the following:
Nal en calpa artuilë. Rámië onóro andamunda yá yav, sí cen lasta lindalë, né alu harna handa amilessë. Vá tata halda col, be linga mornië tengwelë óma. Mear capië be ván, na felmë centa artuilë nar. Oi ollo yanen tella tir. Lav valdë úquétima nu. Sir rá hlar hesta aratar, haltacapa nortalarta at vén.
In deference to O’Reilly, he made it halfway there with his point about Fox’s having “conservative hosts on that have programs.” The next step would be to say, quite simply, “Fox is cable’s conservative network.” But you can’t go there, not when those three other words rule the branding.