I watch O’Reilly because when I yell at my TV set, it is nice to have the TV set yell back.
If the fact that he exaggerated his participation in a war zone and “combat situations” in Argentina is what takes him down, I will eat my hat. Or, as O’Reilly might say, “I will eat EIGHT HUNDRED HATS and all the hat manufacturers in the world should be ASHAMED of themselves, those left-wing loons! Now, come on.”
You’re telling me he overplayed his participation in something? Isn’t that the basis of his brand? I’d be more concerned if we caught him underplaying his participation in something. That, to me, would be the signal of something seriously awry.
“But he calls it the No-Spin zone! He says, ‘Caution! You are about to enter the No-Spin zone!'” Yes, but apart from that? It’s like complaining that the Bachelor and Bachelorette don’t seem like they’re really committed to their relationship for the long haul. Do you truly take everything at face value like this? To quote Sally Quinn, an O’Reilly friend, “O’Reilly is an entertainer and everything he does is totally subjective, including his memories. To attack him is simply to increase his ratings and the sales of his phenomenally popular books. Lighten up, everybody.” (With friends like this, who needs media critics?) He’s Antaeus.
He’s not a Brian Williams case of attempted gravitas and credibility. Yes, he insisted he was the source of fact, in the sense that “If it’s not on FOX, it isn’t fact” — but with logic like that, you’re home clear every time.
No, this isn’t the scandal we’re looking for. Call out the hounds when you have evidence of any of the following:
• O’Reilly caught on tape being self-effacing and quiet.
• O’Reilly caught on tape saying that someone in the news should NOT be fired.
• A phone call recorded by a staffer reveals O’Reilly politely suggesting, “How about we continue to have a respectful, professional relationship? I’m just calling because we’re organizing a group thing to go out for falafel later, on which we could put just the right amount of tahini sauce, which is to say not too much, really light, just kind of a tease business.” At the end of the call the staffer says, “Bill, you’re a great boss,” and O’Reilly responds, “That means a lot, but I wish our health-care package were more comprehensive, especially for the women on staff.”
• Secret O’Reilly book entitled “Not Killing Somebody” leaks; it is non-controversial and factually accurate.
• E-mail surfaces revealing that O’Reilly has been secretly writing a line of young adult novels with a strong female protagonist.
• O’Reilly is caught on camera spinning, on an exercise bike.
• O’Reilly is caught on camera spinning, with a distaff.
• O’Reilly is caught on camera spinning around and around in his chair.
• Suppressed footage shows O’Reilly listening politely to someone with whom he disagrees, nodding along. At one point, about midway through the clip, O’Reilly seems ready to interrupt, but then thinks better of it. At the end of the segment he thanks the guest for her time and says “I really hadn’t understood that side of the issue before. I may have to revise my view. You, ma’am, are a national treasure.”
It would be one thing if he’d been caught red-handed being anything other than what he’s been trying to be for years. But this? This is just another outpost in the long war against fact that Fox News has been waging for years.
It’s like trying to take down Froot Loops for not containing fruit. If you were going there for your fruit requirement, you have more serious problems.