Bill O’Reilly of Fox News made a pair of noteworthy connections on his program last night. The first tied the destruction on college campuses in the wake of the NCAA tournament to an interesting set of motivations. Let O’Reilly tell the story:
“After their basketball team won the national championship, some students at the University of Connecticut rampaged, causing destruction and putting other students and police at risk; 35 people arrested, 20 of them UConn students,” said O’Reilly, noting that “mindless vandalism” also took place at the University of Kentucky, which lost in Monday night’s NCAA championship basketball game.
All this madness, as O’Reilly sees it, stems from a cultural malaise: “There is no political component involved. The mayhem is happening because of a breakdown of respect for property and authority. The main driver of the destructive mind-set is grievance and entitlement. The USA is now being portrayed by powerful people as an unfair country that oppresses minorities, women, the poor and so on. That message is sinking in. Thus, disrespect is rising.” Such portrayal, argues O’Reilly, is the work of a national “grievance industry,” which the Democratic Party uses as a “political weapon.”
Now, O’Reilly didn’t say precisely when this reviled grievance industry sprang up — only that the country is “now” being portrayed as oppressive.
These displays of anarchy, however, date back a good many years. Rioting on college campuses following pivotal sporting events has enough of a history at this point that TotalProSports.com has compiled a list of the most destructive flare-ups. No. 1 on the list is Michigan State University, which erupted in 1999 after a loss by its men’s basketball team in the Final Four to Duke. For more on the history of sports rioting, try this ESPN rundown.
From the grievance industry and campus unrest, O’Reilly tacked to comedy: “The primary grievance right now is alleged inequality. Progressives selling the myth that folks cannot get a fair shake in America because the system is rigged against most citizens. The left-wing media legitimizes that nonsense, and one of the biggest mouthpieces for the progressive movement is Stephen Colbert.” In a previous program, Colbert had skewered O’Reilly’s opinions on inequality, part of which O’Reilly played for his viewers. Then he called Colbert a “deceiver” for distorting his take on inequality: “I strongly believe in fighting for equality and also believe institutional bias should be against the law,” said O’Reilly. “What I oppose is government trying to impose equality because every human being is different.”
The Fox News star also elbowed the Comedy Central star with this line: “Only about a million people watch his late night program at 11:30, but he is the darling of the far-left Internet, which rhapsodizes over him.”
Bold text added to highlight a curious slight. Just a few weeks ago, when CNN’s coverage of MH370 was threatening his own dominance in audience numbers, O’Reilly appeared to spit at the notion that ratings matter for anything. “Watching all this wild speculation has me on edge. It’s headache-inducing and driven by ratings, not journalism,” he said.