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Surviving Bill O'Reilly
I have recently started watching The O'Reilly Factor regularly through the magic of BitTorrent...and when I watch, it hurts me. But it has given me a new understanding as to who Bill O'Reilly is. He is not some sort of ideological power, expressing political opinion about the United States of today. In fact, it doesn't matter what he believes, really, because the thing that Bill O'Reilly really is is a salesman. I can accept people like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Michael Savage [well, to a lesser extent] being full-blown conservative wackjobs, but I've always found O'Reilly to be a bit different, at least in the way he presents things. He's a salesman unconcerned so much with ideology than he is with ratings, so he picks topics that will galvanize a base of people and increase his popularity, and makes it appear that he is for the people when he's really just another guy trying to make a buck in this political opinion business.
So he's criticizing the America media [cause we all know the media's leftist and therefore anti-American], which he just so happens to be a part of...makes sense.
Take, for instance, his recent 'crusade', The War on Christmas. He does many other examples of this [immigration, for example], but I think the War on Christmas is the best and most recent example of what I'm about to outline. Now, I, and everyone else with a brain knows this so-called 'War on Christmas' is a bullshit cause that doesn't mean anything because Christmas is still alive and well in the hearts of Americans, corporations who want to make the most possible amount of money, and a government somewhat trying to be secular. And I'm pretty sure O'Reilly, who many claim fabricated the thing himself, knows that The War on Christmas is bullshit, too. So if he knows it's bullshit, why would he go on and on about it on his radio and TV shows? The answer is simple: ratings. Scare tactics are a proven method on how to brainwash the masses, such as in the Cold War or the War on Terror with "Those Godless Commies" or "Osama bin Laden attacked us because he hates our freedom". If these people think their freedom, in this case, the freedom to celebrate Christmas is in question, the sectors that care about Christmas will be fearful of the Commie Jews taking away their trees and lights and empty sentiment. Cook up a few things that may end up being proven false, you will have all you need to galvanize a group of people into taking action. Note O'Reilly has his own online store, and discussing the issue of stores saying 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas' may get people thinking: "Son of a bitch, O'Reilly's a helluva guy, standing up for Christmas. I'm gonna buy a mug". Undermining accurate reporting for the purpose of personal benefits forever, man!
These manufactured conflicts are a hallmark of Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor, and FOX NEWS as a whole. The last few years there have been a serious level of so-called 'culture wars', and FOX NEWS loves starting them up. 'When Democrats Attack', 'War on Christians', and other silly garbage no one should take seriously and yet they're discussed as legitimite things as opposed to, you know, insane ribaldry from Rupert Murdoch and his band of telegenic Neo-Con whores. Mr. O'Reilly may claim that when we watch his broadcasts we are in the No-Spin Zone, but reality tells us that there is a spin with Bill O'Reilly's show: a clear right-wing bias getting so many viewers because it relies on topics which rile people up, like the ACLU, France and how they're our 'enemy', oppression of Christians [ha!] and how the 'leftist media' is 'spinning' the Iraq War to make it look like it was a 'stupid decision'. Instead of presenting the fair and balanced broadcast FOX NEWS should have as they advertise themselves as fair and balanced, instead O'Reilly and company present hacky right-wing ideology extending the partisan viewpoint than inform the American people, which is what news is supposed to do. So Bill uses safe topics to appeal to the right wing he so loves. An example of this spin is in the image below:
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?! THEY DEFEND PEOPLE'S CIVIL LIBERTIES, THEY'RE NOT SOME SORT OF TERROR NETWORK YOU STUPID PIECE OF SHIT. And thanks to the ACLU, if I'm ever sued for this above comment, I will be defended.
Another thing I've noticed that stands out are Bill's interviews with 'leftists', and how simple they are. I saw a clip of O'Reilly conversing with a member of British parliament who wrote a book criticizing American foreign policy, and especially the Iraq War. Bill's asking him questions, like "Do you think it was justified to remove Saddam from power?" "Do you think the al-Qaeda attacks on Britain were justified?", "Do you think Iran should have nuclear weapons?" and "Do you think Israel has a right to exist?". Now, the guy who was being interviewed was clearly a smart guy and was giving in-depth answers, being that the answers to many of the questions O'Reilly posed are deep and complex thanks to all the complicated webs of friendship and then deceit when regarding the U.S. and the Middle East, but Bill wouldn't have any of it. Way too often he interrupted the guy saying "Just answer yes or no". It's like he's actively trying to keep intelligent discourse off the air. Screw enlightening people on how complicated U.S. relations with Iraq have been the last 20 or so years, just say yes or no and move on to the next question, dammit! I suppose that's why more people watch FOX NEWS instead of PBS, because FOX NEWS provides a black and white understanding to any national or global situation, which is much easier on the average American's mind. "We used to help out Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War in the 80's...but Bush said he was worse than Hitler? Me not understand!" He doesn't want to sell a complex explanation on what happens in our world, instead O'Reilly wants to sell a simplified version because that's what people want. I wouldn't be surprised if his book The O'Reilly Factor for Kids is written on the exact same level as the books he markets towards adults.
Personality-wise, Bill O'Reilly is a smug prick, which is odd considering for a salesman he would want to put on his best 'face' to the American public so he can get higher ratings. The overriding attribute is not O'Reilly being the worst of the right-wing oligarchy loving ideologues or he's some brilliant opposition to my beliefs - it's he's an asshole. He doesn't get angry on his show, he just gets progressively more and more smug, which is in reality even more annoying if he was yelling all the time like Sean Hannity. I think his personality is his way to keep people from suspecting that he's not who he says he is. I believe the same thing of Ann Coulter; that it's not so much that they are really this way, they act like it so that right-wing people go "Look at them rake those liberal commies over the coals! They'e awesome! Time to buy a mug!" I can only accept raving lunatics like Michael Savage as being genuine, but that's for another article.
My favorite part of this man I'm discussing is how often he just makes things up, while still calling out other people [on the left, natch] who make things up. There are numerous examples of this happening, at least 1 per show, but I'm going to use my favorite as an example. "Halfway through President Clinton's tenure in office in 1996, the poverty rate was 13.7 percent. Halfway through President Bush's tenure, the rate is 12.7 percent, a full point lower." This is one of his clever spins, because though the statement is technically true, it doesn't give the whole story in which Clinton brought the poverty rate down from 15.1% to 11.3%, while under Bush it has increased to 12.7%. Now, look at how he constructs this lie, it's very well constructed, and that means many people take this statement at face value. There's no rampant warning signal to the average American that this is a spin lie; it makes it easy to believe, and that is O'Reilly's power: to spin something to appeal to the main audience of FOX NEWS. Who knows if he himself has any beliefs or opinions, but he's giving a great facade that he's this right-wing guy concerned for America's war with the leftist media and the leftist elite [while conveniently leaving out that Bush was never poor a day in his life and got more opportunities by being born than some have their entire lives]. In fact, I think the best quote from O'Reilly that I can use to sum up the man's act and his total hypocrisy is this: "An extremist is someone who rejects facts and holds on to opinions no matter what." Now clearly he was talking about something else, but it does make you begin to think of the similarities between him and what he described an extremist as...
In summation, Bill O'Reilly is no political threat to anyone - he's merely a salesman following the popular trends in America, and when that fails, manufacturing trends so he can leech more popularity and get better ratings and sell more coffee mugs from his online store. Bill's nothing more than a capitalist intent on making money and getting his ugly vibrator-loving mug on things, no more, no less.