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Saturday, November 12, 2005
An Example of Why I Don’t Like Bill O’Reilly
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:28 pm

California Conservative has a post up entitled “Why We Love Bill O’Reilly” which quotes something O’Reilly said on his radio show this week about San Fransisco and a vote in the city to keep military recruiters out of public schools. O’Reilly’s response:

“You know, if I’m the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium and I say, ‘Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you’re not going to get another nickel in federal funds,’”

Now, that may be an emotionally satisfying response for some; however, it is the kind of nonsense that O’Reilly constantly spouts that has no foundation in reality. That world (and more specifically, our system of government) doesn’t work that way. Not only does O’Reilly’s presidential fantasy not comport with the way fiscal policy works, it further runs into a tricky little problem, which is that you can’t dismiss
the fact that a democratic process did produce the result in question-as such, “my way or the highway” pronouncements aren’t the solution.

O’Reilly’s statement, and the subsequent one about defending SF from terrorism, are the stuff of people ranting to their neighbors, not something that could even approximate public policy-nor should we want it to be such:

You want to be your own country? Go right ahead,” O’Reilly went on. “And if al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.”


That O’Reilly correctly voices opinions that many hold is undoubtedly true-they would like the answers to be easy and to be able to tell those who make the “wrong” choices how wrong they are. Further, they would like to assume that they are really in the vast majority, and the “wrong” people are really a very small minority who have, for some unknown reason, disproportionate power. However, the truth of the matter is,: those who think O’Reilly is some prophet of the vast, silent majority are simply wrong. He appeals to a lot of people, but it is far fewer than those in the O’Reilly amen corner may think. He plays the populist game well, I will add, what with his references to “the folks” (i.e., all those “normal” viewers out there), his attempt to paint himself as an outsider to power (which because laughbale, given that he has the highest rated program on cable news), and his doggedly certain rhetoric.

Yes, SF is in the clear minority ideologically in the United States-but the point of this post is not to defend SF’s policy choices but instead to point out that O’Reilly’s rantings are far more about emotional outlet than they are about “telling it like is” 0r about actual reasoned discourse about how to solve actual problems.

Indeed, it is this kind of pronouncements that supposedly qualify as political analysis that further pollutes politics and makes actual discussion increasingly problematic.

The San Francisco Chronicle has the details of the story: Talk host’s towering rant: S.F. not worth saving.

The Political Teen has the audio.

Filed under: US Politics, Talk Radio | |Send TrackBack

Harshly Mellow linked with [...] and his sense of humor and mine tend not to connect. Very, very scary. --Steven Taylor doesn't like Bill O'Reilly. Which makes me like Steven Taylor even more than I already did. [...]


  1. Enough with the ivory tower spin, professor.

    We’re dealing with facts here on the Factor.

    Comment by Bill O'Reilly — Sunday, November 13, 2005 @ 5:39 am

  2. Indeed ;)

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, November 13, 2005 @ 6:58 am

  3. “I will add, what with his references to “the folks” (i.e., all those “normal” viewers out there), his attempt to paint himself as an outsider to power (which because laughbale, given that he has the highest rated program on cable news), and his doggedly certain rhetoric.”

    Are you sure you aren’t talking about Bush??

    Comment by RIngokf — Sunday, November 13, 2005 @ 10:01 am

  4. I very much agree with your take on O’Reilly. I wonder how much of it he truly believes or if he just knows how to keep his ratings up. O’Reilly’s and Pat Robertson’s hyperbole cater to the fringe and less educated in society, then the media jump on this nonsense and we have a self perpetuating cycle.

    Comment by The Misanthrope — Sunday, November 13, 2005 @ 11:31 am

  5. […] and his sense of humor and mine tend not to connect. Very, very scary.

    -Steven Taylor doesn’t like Bill O’Reilly. Which makes me like Steven Taylor even more than I already did.

    Pingback by Harshly Mellow — Sunday, November 13, 2005 @ 12:16 pm

  6. Hey Steven, long time no type-

    I don’t disagree with your overall portrayal of O’Reilly. - But in this case wasn’t it just a metaphor?

    I dunno, maybe the hurricane has me more focused on the “more important things in life” but I’m left wondering why this is such a big deal to anyone.

    Egads- someone used hyperbole to make a political point. That almost never happens.

    But what do I know?… I didn’t think Gore making fund raising calls from the whitehouse was a big deal and I didn’t think Lott’s birthday party toast was a big deal either.

    Comment by Paul — Sunday, November 13, 2005 @ 6:16 pm

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