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Franken O'Reilley
June 6, 2003 12:21 AM   Subscribe

In this corner Fox's Bill O'Reilly in the other corner Al "Stuart Smalley" Franken. Away from the safe confines of Fox News studio no microphone switch could be found for O'Reilly to shut Franken up as he was conveniently able to do earlier this year to anti-war protester Jeremy Glick
posted by thedailygrowl (81 comments total)

 
Video here.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:40 AM on June 6, 2003


It is funny that I find both of them as annoying as the problems they profess to rail against.

I say lock em both in a box and shoot that thar box towards well, anything that's far away from me.

And when I first read the post, I thought the anti-war protester was this guy.

Which would have been cool.
posted by Dagobert at 1:07 AM on June 6, 2003


Bill O'Reilly exposed's annotated review of O'Reilly on Franken here.
posted by tamim at 1:15 AM on June 6, 2003


Shame on those Fox News bastards for censoring this. Luckily we have Fox News Dot Com to shine the bright light of truth and justice on the dank smelly corners of Fox News Not So Dot Com.

There can only be one man twisted and hideous enough to be behind this, Arthur. Chairface Chippendale.
posted by arto at 1:19 AM on June 6, 2003


>Jeremy Glick

Wow, I haven't watched cable news for a while and that transcript reminds me why. Imagine a centrist or *gasp* left of center commentator saying stuff like '"Shut up, shut up" and "cut his mic." The fur would fly. Nice to see O'Reilly is still in broadcasting and with a Peabody, err Polk award.
posted by skallas at 2:20 AM on June 6, 2003


Skallas, for the record (as Al points out on the video), even the Polk was given a year and a half after O'Reilly left the show.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:27 AM on June 6, 2003


The video showing O'Reilly fuming while Al calmly ripped him apart made him truly look like the thug he is. and the way he bellowed 'shut up' reminded me of some big moron in a bar who's had a few too many and just pissed his pants, trying to get people to stop laughing at him.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:15 AM on June 6, 2003


Molly Ivins, who was also on the panel, did a pretty good job of espousing contrary views to O'Reilly without getting into a spitting match like Franken. Franken's pleading to Pat Shroeder, the moderator, to step and control O'Reilly seemed a little too tattle-tale-ish.
posted by stevis at 4:34 AM on June 6, 2003


This sparked a posting frenzy on the Al Franken message boards over the weekend.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:31 AM on June 6, 2003


Like this one or the other, Franken is very funny usually and O'Reilly never is.
posted by Postroad at 5:33 AM on June 6, 2003


"He's vicious, and that's with a capital V, a person who's blinded by ideology."
Anyone else see the irony in this O'Reilly quote?
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 5:39 AM on June 6, 2003


O'Reilly at his finest.

Perhaps O'Reilly *did* misspeak, and meant Polk when he said Peabody-- but he did it more than once, and when called out on it, began denying that he ever said such a thing at all. Note that in the video, he never addressed this at all.

Liar.

Oh, and FWIW, Franken took the podium at 00:28:35, and the exchange with O'Reilly began at 00:48:45, so Franken was speaking for 00:20:10-- not "35 minutes" as O'Reilly so adamantly asserted. Off by a almost 15 minutes-- or, more accurately, nearly a 100% misestimation of time.

Liar.

But this is the guy who wants to be in the Old West so he can put a bullet in Franken's head. My, aren't we nice.

Asshat.
posted by Cerebus at 6:03 AM on June 6, 2003


I'm surprised there's a person left on earth who doesn't think O'Reilly's a loud-mouthed cretin. At this point, the O'Reilly Factor, let alone the man himself, is more macabre spectacle than news.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 6:04 AM on June 6, 2003


O'Reilly's little gem afterwards wherein he wishes he could shoot Franken in the head.

In case you've not already heard or read it.
posted by Cerebus at 6:31 AM on June 6, 2003


O'Reilly makes want to claw my ears off. Franken makes me want to beat myself into unconsciousness.

O'Reilly is rarely spin free. Franken is never funny. I wish them a long life together, but you couldn't pay me to watch video of them at the same time.
posted by obfusciatrist at 6:47 AM on June 6, 2003


All of this give O'Reilly more attention (and perhaps credibility) than he deserves.
posted by crunchland at 7:01 AM on June 6, 2003


Gosh, O'Reilly, Franken and Ivins disagree, and none of them have any manners? Well, goodly lord, someone shake me, I must be dreaming.

There really is no diatribe too infinitesimal to post anymore, is there? I'd have O'Reilly and Bush both put in a sack and slung into a cesspit, if only to prompt the end of the grating gleeful umbrage that everyone around here takes every time someone who thinks differently than they do cuts the verbal equivalent of a two-note fart.

And I'd follow up with Franken and Ivins, since they're just as bad. Fleischer, Wolfowitz, Chomsky and Roy - into the pit with you! Richard Perle? Here's your sack, shitheel! Dick Cheney, the entire Democratic field of candidates, Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham...? The PIT!

I'm going to need a bigger cesspit.
posted by UncleFes at 7:04 AM on June 6, 2003


I like O'Reilly....he seems to get under the skin of liberals almost as much as Rush.
posted by Durwood at 7:07 AM on June 6, 2003


It's not about the sex manners UncleFes, it's about the LYING!

Be sure to leave room for yourself in the pit dude.

I'm not surprised you would like a lying blowhard bastard like O'Reilly there Durwood. Is Rush your personal hero?
posted by nofundy at 7:12 AM on June 6, 2003


I'm not surprised you would like a lying blowhard bastard like O'Reilly there Durwood. Is Rush your personal hero?

I rest my case. Nofundy, I bet you can't believe that ANYONE would actually enjoy listening to either one of them, or agree with anything that they said. If that annoys you, then I think that they have done their job.
posted by Durwood at 7:20 AM on June 6, 2003


it's about the LYING!

No it's not. It's about the constant 'you're wrong, no you're wrong' idiocy that we all buy into like a bunch of pre-teens lining up for Pepsi Twist and Matchbox 20 CDs.

Be sure to leave room for yourself in the pit dude.

I said I'm getting a bigger cesspit! What do you people WANT from me?? :)
posted by UncleFes at 7:21 AM on June 6, 2003


Ivins has manners.
posted by dglynn at 7:24 AM on June 6, 2003


O'Reilly's "two-note fart" extended over a period of years it would seem, since his Peabody claims go back to when he left Inside Edition and his denials over those claims are from last year.

More like "pattern of prevarication." Followed up by "terroristic threats," no less.

Additionally, when one farts is public it is polite to apologize. O'Reilly hasn't apologized; indeed his reaction to being confronted over the Peabody "misstatements" is not "Oh, shit, oops, I guess I was mistaken," no, it was "Come get me."
posted by Cerebus at 7:25 AM on June 6, 2003


If that annoys you, then I think that they have done their job.

I totally don't understand that. So you're saying that you don't care that they lie and bully and exagerrate and just plain make shit up, as long as they annoy liberals? The truth (or lack of it) in their statements doesn't matter to you? Really?
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:31 AM on June 6, 2003


Amen to Molly having manners. She rocks and is the only one of the three I would even think going to see speak.
posted by Dagobert at 7:31 AM on June 6, 2003


No it's not. It's about the constant 'you're wrong, no you're wrong' idiocy that we all buy into like a bunch of pre-teens lining up for Pepsi Twist and Matchbox 20 CDs.

Hell yes. I get the feeling that, for a lot of people on both sides, it's sort of like watching a basketball game... the only thing that matters in the end is if your side scores points off of the other. I mean, Durwood has more or less come out and said that's all he's after, and to some extent that's the spirit of this FPP.
posted by COBRA! at 7:35 AM on June 6, 2003


It is about the liars, it is about who's right and who's wrong, about who's lying and who's telling the truth. There's a growing trend in politics to make up stuff, lie, or misrepresent, because when anyone calls them on it, well, that's just the Opposition. O'Reilly is a flake, Michael Moore is a flake, and people LOVE it.

It's an excellent moment when someone stands up and says, "No you didn't, you lied." It reminds us that this is the purpose of free speech. It is a public expression of the dialectic.

I have friends who like O'Reilly and Rush, but they don't KNOW anything. They can't REASON their way through an argument. They act like O'Reilly did when he was cornered. People who "enjoy" inflammatory sophistry are fools.

This is the point Durwood, you poor hapless twit. It's not about whether you enjoy it, it's not about whether or not you agree. At the end of the day, it's about the truth and reasonable argument.

No one says you can't enjoy mindless drivel and slander. But is it true? Can you defend it? Please.
posted by ewkpates at 7:41 AM on June 6, 2003


This C-SPAN broadcast of the Book Expo was excellent. I watch about 3 hours of it on Saturday. I saw the O'Reilly/ Franken exchange, and later in the day saw Gerry Adams.

Franken went on at length about O'Reilly's Peabody/Polk error, even mimicking O'Reilly in a phone conversation they had had. But the real issue was not so much the error itself, but what O'Reilly did when it was exposed.
1.) He didn't correct his error on the record, something a self-proclaimed "serious journalist" should do.
2.) When a report of his error appeared in Newsday, O'Reilly went on the air and said that he had never claimed to have won a Peabody, decried the deceptive viciousness of the left, a claimed that the report had injured his reputation because it would "live in Nexis forever."

Unfortunately, the three occasions he claimed the Peabody are in Lexis-Nexis too.

Franken said that this was on of multiple examples he had from O'Reilly- buy his book for more.

He called himself "a liberal" and a "DLC Democrat".

He explained his motivations for writing this book, thusly:
The right wing derides the left. The right wing also frequently misrepresents facts, and often outright lies. The left- liberals visible in the media, democratic politicians- sits and just takes it, in both cases. They don't respond, they let it slide. He wants to use his media access to stand up and expose the pattern and practice of lying from the right.

I, for one, think it's about damn time.
posted by putzface_dickman at 7:45 AM on June 6, 2003


I like O'Reilly....he seems to get under the skin of liberals almost as much as Rush.

Did you read these transcripts? It appears that the liberals were the ones getting under O'Reilly's skin. It's that whole rational debate thing that always gets to him.
posted by Espoo2 at 7:49 AM on June 6, 2003


It is about the liars, it is about who's right and who's wrong, about who's lying and who's telling the truth.

This is the finest crystalization of the ethos of modern Metafilter (and to a larger extent, the general level of debate everywhere) that I've yet seen. Which is to say: bleh. We might as well paint X's and O's on our foreheads.

Memo to p_d: please include an amazon link in your advertisement next time, OK?

Amen to Molly having manners. She rocks

I've read her column, and she's as big a pantload-purveyor as O'Reilly or Franken, she just cloaks it in all that Mark Twain-via-Ricky Bragg 'I'm a tough-talkin' Texas tart, by cracky!' horseshit. Ptui.

Of course, that is just my opinion. And let me be the first person in the history of Metafilter to add: I could be wrong. And I'm... ok with that.

And with that, I shall return you to your regularly scheduled grating gleeful umbrage. Happy Friday! And, everyone, have a wonderful weekend.
posted by UncleFes at 7:50 AM on June 6, 2003


O'Reilly and Franken is to real politics what professional wrestling is to real sports: steroidal buffoons engaging in phony and exagerated conflict that apes the real thing.

It's too bad they cut the tape off before Vince McMahon came out and to shill for the PoliticalWrestleMania pay-per-view event ...
posted by Jos Bleau at 7:51 AM on June 6, 2003


In Cerebus' link, there is some interesting stuff about Bush's plan to stop the headstart program. Beautiful.
posted by Espoo2 at 7:54 AM on June 6, 2003


Right on, ewkman and putzface_dickman.

Okay, so maybe you find Franken annoying and not funny. But I don't see what that has to do with the matter at hand. O'Reilly is lying and needs to be called on it.

And I find it very disturbing that the linked article didn't point out that Franken didn't talk for 35 minutes, that Reilly was lying AGAIN in his defense, etc. Jeez. Nip the lies in the bud before they get disseminated, why don't we.
posted by orange swan at 8:00 AM on June 6, 2003


OK Fes, I'll bite.
I thought a synopsis might spare a few others watching the video, since the foxnews story elides Franken's point:
Not that O'Reilly was wrong, but when he was caught he lied about it, and he get's a free pass to do it, because there's nobody scrutinizing the right like is done to the left.

Oh, and Fes next time you troll, could you add the *troll*
tags?
posted by putzface_dickman at 8:06 AM on June 6, 2003


Bullies hate being challenged.
posted by briank at 8:09 AM on June 6, 2003


Maybe it's just my skewed lefty vision (corrupted by the constant drumbeat of the liberal media, don'tcha know), but O'Reilly's and Durwood's attitudes seem to fit into a pattern of modern rightist thought: The truth doesn't matter anymore, only "getting under the skin of liberals." And when challenged for mangling the truth, the answer is a veiled (or sometimes not-so-veiled) threat of violence.

As to Franken, he may or may not be funny, but I salute him for taking on O'Reilly and Coulter on their terms. I don't think it's debatable who started this trend - if anyone can point me to the liberal equivalent of Rush Limbaugh during the Reagan years (in terms of mass-media coverage, natch) I will back off, but this form of discourse is owned and operated by the right; Franken's just a big fat fly - and a welcome one - in their ointment.
posted by soyjoy at 8:26 AM on June 6, 2003


O'Reilly and Franken is to real politics what professional wrestling is to real sports: steroidal buffoons engaging in phony and exagerated conflict that apes the real thing.

...and the real point is to sell books. I'm positive that O'Reilly is secretly thrilled at all this "controversy," and all of the attention it brings.
posted by crunchland at 8:30 AM on June 6, 2003


I don't think it's debatable who started this trend - if anyone can point me to the liberal equivalent of Rush Limbaugh during the Reagan years (in terms of mass-media coverage, natch) I will back off, but this form of discourse is owned and operated by the right

Soyjoy: To some extent, I think Hunter Thompson's been doing the over-the-top-outraged-political-mudslinging thing since the 70s... Generally on the Democratic/anti-Nixon side, although he did go after some prominent Democrats as well (saying thay Hubert Humphrey should be castrated before he reproduced and so on). I don't know as he was getting a lot of readers during the 80s, but he was certainly complaining about Reagan.

Of course, the difference between Hunter Thompson and Rush Limbaugh in terms of contribution to American culture should be pretty self-evident...
posted by COBRA! at 8:34 AM on June 6, 2003


I'm surprised there's a person left on earth who doesn't think O'Reilly's a loud-mouthed cretin.

The thing is that there are many people in this country who like loud-mouthed cretins. They idolize them. For whatever reason, they respect guys who "tell it like it is" and "don't take shit from anyone". (And it's not just in politics--look at Howard Stern.) The irony is that--even if assholes like O'Reilly and Limbaugh actually believe the horseshit they spew--they're still playing these people like violins. They're saying exactly what people want to hear exactly the way they want to hear it--the ratings tell them when they're doing it right--and people are eating it up because they feel these guys "talk straight".

There is absolutely no question that O'Reilly is a liar. Franken pretty much proved his case. But that doesn't matter to O'Reilly. He's able to turn it around and say--in the Old West style that apparently he longs for--"are you callin' me a liar". The truth means nothing to guys like O'Reilly. It's all about what you can make people believe.
posted by jpoulos at 8:35 AM on June 6, 2003


O'Reilly and Franken is to real politics what professional wrestling is to real sports: steroidal buffoons engaging in phony and exagerated conflict that apes the real thing.

The difference is that people who watch/read Franken know he is a comedian, whereas people who watch/read O'Reilly think that he's a serious journalist.
posted by deanc at 8:41 AM on June 6, 2003


jpoules: It cuts both ways.
posted by ZupanGOD at 8:50 AM on June 6, 2003


He called O'Reilly on a fallacy. Good for him.
posted by Yossarian at 8:54 AM on June 6, 2003


Putzface> I wouldn't be so quick to accuse UncleFes of being the troll.

jpoulos> I have to admit, I remain unconvinced. Certainly, there's a perception that this is the case, but I remain unconvinced that their ratings, if we count only sympathetic listeners, are as large as we think and are told they are. I mean, if O'Reilly is willing to lie about things like journalism awards, what guarantee do we have that his ratings are any more accurate? How do the people who compile the ratings separate out people who are tuning in who think to themselves "I'm never going to buy that product now that they've financially supported Rush Limbaugh (or Bill O'Reilly, or whoever)!" from sympathetic listeners? How do they even know how many people are listening to a given radio program accurately? Overall, I remain highly skeptical that as many people take Rush Limbaugh seriously as listen to his program, and of that subsection who do take him seriously, I doubt that those people are quite so influential as they wish they were.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 8:56 AM on June 6, 2003


Exactly, deanc. I used to love watching FOXNews until somebody told me it wasn't a Comedy Central offshoot. Then I became confused and frightened.
posted by zaack at 9:02 AM on June 6, 2003


I like O'Reilly....he seems to get under the skin of liberals almost as much as Rush.

I'm not surprised you would like a lying blowhard bastard like O'Reilly there Durwood. Is Rush your personal hero?

And thus Durwood proves why he likes O'Reilly's technique so much. Good job feeding the troll there, nofundy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:08 AM on June 6, 2003


Peudo:

It is my belief that your residence in the enlightened north has shielded you from the more onerous population of the United States. There is a large portion of people here that enjoy being told what they want to hear.

I live in the midwest and do not have to travel very far to find several such people. You could say that I couldn't swing a dead cat....

and that's not even addressing most of the elders in my extended family and my wifes family.

Wong
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 9:15 AM on June 6, 2003


In case you want to here the venom coming from O'Reilly during the Glick interview, the audio's here (about 4:05 into it), 4.2 MB mp3.
posted by gramcracker at 9:17 AM on June 6, 2003


Pseudoephedrine: Follow the money. Let the TV Guide and your local radio listings be your guide. Phil Donohue gets fired, Michael Savage gets hired. I don't see a plethora of liberal-biased media personalities popping up, like we see on the right. Why is that happening? While I suppose it's possible that the personal politics of those in charge have something to do with it, the overwhelming reason is likely that people buy bullshit</strong<.
posted by jpoulos at 9:22 AM on June 6, 2003


You know, before I clicked on the last link of the FPP, I thought that Bill O'Reilly had appeared in an interview with Jiminy Glick.

Darn, I was disappointed to find out it was someone else. I was so looking forward to that episode of Glick.
posted by deanc at 9:24 AM on June 6, 2003


Boy that Bill O'Reilley - what an asshat. Someone needs to bitch slap that man.
posted by DragonBoy at 9:25 AM on June 6, 2003


Wong> There is a large portion of people here that enjoy being told what they want to hear.

Yes, but that ties into the last bit of what I said. How influential are these people, really? I mean, it's one thing for a semi-rural lower-middle-class Midwesterner to think homosexuals are the spawn of Satan. It's another thing entirely for that person's opinions to matter in any serious way to anyone with power or influence in politics. For all that GWB is a cretin, he's a cretin surrounded by people who are more influenced by the National Review and the American Prospect than by Rush Limbaugh. Oligarchy does have its merits in this instance.

JP> Follow the money. Let the TV Guide and your local radio listings be your guide.

See, this is the problem though. The "money” follows the ratings, and TV Guide keeps track of ratings, but where are these mysterious ratings coming from?

I don't see a plethora of liberal-biased media personalities popping up, like we see on the right.

I disagree here. I see them popping up all the time. Not on TV or on the radio, no, but certainly on the internet and in print news. The obvious rebuttal is that most people don’t get their news from those sources, but I once again am not entirely convinced that’s relevant. After all, while most people may be getting their news from TV and radio, how often do politically dedicated and influential people get their news _solely_ from those sources? Sure, Joe Blow might think that Iraq had something to do with 9/11, but Joe Blow doesn’t decide foreign policy. Hell, he probably doesn’t even mail his representatives with his opinion, leaving special interest groups and pundits to take up the slack.

Fox News is interesting as a social phenomenon, but I would be genuinely surprised if more people tuned into it than say, 60 minutes.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:57 AM on June 6, 2003


From the CSPAN cast: O'Reilly's going after ideologues now, and saying he doesn't group people into categories?

Pot, the kettle's calling.
posted by gramcracker at 10:11 AM on June 6, 2003


From the BEA event video: "We name names, we don't call names..."

So said Bill O'Reilly in his closing, before Al Franken took the stage ... and its like several times as he motioned to ole Al. It seems to me that ole Billy threw down the gauntlet, and if he wasn't prepared to answer for it, he shouldn't have initiated it, or take a stink about it afterwards. I thought Franken was quite eloquent in his answer to it.
posted by eatdonuts at 11:02 AM on June 6, 2003


er, to preface the above and that 'calling names' comment of Bill O'Reilly, Al Franken's new book is titled "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.... A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right"
posted by eatdonuts at 11:04 AM on June 6, 2003


COBRA! - I fully agree that Hunter Thompson's been doing "over-the-top-outraged-political-mudslinging" for much of his career. But come on, we're talking apples and mescaline here. Thompson's venom spews in all directions - he's never consistently followed a party line, unless perhaps it was a libertarian one.

I'd like to see him and Bill O'Reilly go at it, though.
posted by soyjoy at 11:07 AM on June 6, 2003


Tele-Journalists in the US have never risen to their responsibility to test the claims of politicians against the facts, and there is a blind spot where journalists don't test the claims of other journalists against the facts. Hacks like O'Reilly are protected by getting to call themselves journalists.
Like or dislike Franken, he doesn't resort to logical fallacies to make his points and win arguments. I've read 2 Rush Limbaugh books, and Franken's Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. Limbaugh's 1st book sets up 12 liberal-issue straw men and knocks them down handily. He uses similar tactics in his second.
Franken's book is detailed, well researched, and as Franken points out, no one has been able to find an error or misstatement in it, except in one case where the study he sources modified its conclusions well after his book's publication.

So let’s argue on facts. And if someone is fudging the facts, let's call them on it. Maybe then we could take our pantomime democracy seriously.

As an aside, I detest the "Truth" anti-tobacco adds because they usually resort to some logical fallacy or other, when the actual truth may work better.
posted by putzface_dickman at 11:15 AM on June 6, 2003


Also, an apology to UncleFes. I didn't really catch what set him off, a consequence on my being self-centered. I stand by my previous comments, except that I recognize that Pseudo was right to correct me.
posted by putzface_dickman at 11:23 AM on June 6, 2003


Hunter Thompson comes out of a broader, older tradition of free thinkers and eccentrics -- Mencken, Emerson, Twain, Burroughs -- and a time when America had a (potentially) crazier culture that sprung from at least a few spontaneous local folkways. He also embodied the last period in which Americans held some literary hope, some effort to establish our own artform that would show our craggy, distinctive face to the world. Even when has been full of shit, Hunter Thompson has tried to mean something and come from somewhere.

Bill O'Reilly is just a shouter and liberal-baiter who comes out of television. Out of television, back into television, America is disappearing up its own ass. I don't even want the two men to meet each other, let alone talk about anything.

(durwood -- is getting that little reptilian itch scratched so enjoyable that you need to have it done again and again? Pitiful.)
posted by argybarg at 11:31 AM on June 6, 2003


I definitely didn't mean to lump Hunter Thompson in with O'Reilly, Limbaugh, et al... Apples and mescaline pretty much covers it. Some similarities, but vastly different animals.

Neither O'Reilly or Limbaugh (or Al Franken) would have the stones to appear bare-assed naked with a shotgun on the dustjacket of one of their books, for one thing.
posted by COBRA! at 11:52 AM on June 6, 2003


Can anyone give their theory as to why so many lies (I'm better acquainted with Coulter's, O'Reilly's, and Fleisher/Bush's, but any will do) just pass by so easily today without question? It seems like some of it's to the point where it's not just spin, it's down-and-out lies. Bush saying "we've found WMDs" or Fleisher saying "The President never said XYZ," when he did say XYZ.

Is it information overload? The sound-bite generation? I just don't get it. I would think it would be easier to find plagiarism and lying with the Internet and Google, but maybe there's just so much breadth that no one has time to really research depth?
posted by gramcracker at 11:55 AM on June 6, 2003


My understanding is that Al Franken took up the gauntlet of taking on the Rushes, et al, on their own terms almost by accident. On some chat show he was asked something to the effect of "if you were to write a book, what would you call it?" Apparently off the cuff and just going for the laugh, he replied "I'd call it Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot." Well, he not only got the laugh, but apparently a flood of mail came in saying that the book needed to be written. So he set the scope of the book on slightly more sensible terms, and did his homework before publishing it.

One of the problems of our current domestic social discourse is precisely that, that almost nobody is meeting these creeps head-on. Sure, if you look for them you have gents like Michael Kinsey replying to these idiocies with unswerving, razor-sharp accuracy: but they write exclusively for people who are paying a lot more attention than the typical Dittohead. And anybody who reads them has got Rush and Bill's number already.

Michael Moore isn't helping much -- his track record for accuracy is probably substantially better than Rush and O'Reilly's but that's not nearly good enough: if people can point to five examples of laziness or unsupported ad-hominem attacks in your book, you've blown it, even if the other guy is five times worse. And he makes a lot more than five such errors. And it was unfortunate of him to call his book Stupid White Men and put a picture of himself on the cover. Talk about asking for it.

Franken is an educated and attentive fellow who can be quite funny, he takes care with his facts and delivers his rebuttals sharply and effectively. It's a shame he's very nearly going it alone on the populist plane.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:07 PM on June 6, 2003


Sure, Joe Blow might think that Iraq had something to do with 9/11, but Joe Blow doesn’t decide foreign policy. Hell, he probably doesn’t even mail his representatives with his opinion, leaving special interest groups and pundits to take up the slack.

Yeah, but then pundits like William Safire can turn around and claim that "A strong majority of Americans believe (Saddam Hussein) did have a dangerous (weapons) program running."

Really, I can't understand why more people aren't calling O'Reilly on the "shoot him between the eyes" thing - you think if a liberal ever uttered something like this, he'd get as much of a free pass?
posted by kgasmart at 12:12 PM on June 6, 2003


And George_Spiggot - couldn't agree with you more. These are the terms the right (of Limbaugh/Coulter/Savage/O'Reilly, etc.) have dictated; the left needs more like Franken who not only are willing to fight on those terms, but can win.
posted by kgasmart at 12:14 PM on June 6, 2003


you think if a liberal ever uttered something like this, he'd get as much of a free pass?

well, at least the NRA'd give him/her a really good rating, that's for sure
posted by matteo at 12:55 PM on June 6, 2003


For all that GWB is a cretin, he's a cretin surrounded by people who are more influenced by the National Review and the American Prospect than by Rush Limbaugh.

That's hard to believe, when we live in a time of freedom fries in the House.
posted by Espoo2 at 1:03 PM on June 6, 2003


We need to keep O'Reilly, Rush, Buchanan and Scarborough right out there were we can see them, because we need to be reminded on a daily basis what a bunch of lying fucks these neo-conservatives really are.

I like O'Reilly and his cabal similar to how I like Hannibal Lecter. Great to watch, wouldn't trust for a second.
posted by CrazyJub at 1:28 PM on June 6, 2003


We need to keep O'Reilly, Rush, Buchanan and Scarborough right out there were we can see them, because we need to be reminded on a daily basis what a bunch of lying fucks these neo-conservatives really are.

Buchanon is certainly not a neoconservative, and I doubt that Rush or O'Reilly really are, they just don't know it. If everyone on the right is a neoconservative, than the term has lost all meaning.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:52 PM on June 6, 2003


Agreed - Bill O'Reilly's worlds different than Pat Buchanan. Bill's a tantrum-throwing egomaniac who's now fighting a losing battle, but at least he doesn't think his words come from God. Rush is a pain in the ass, but somewhat more receptive to real discourse than either of the two. Unlike the other two, I can at least respect Rush. And Scarborough is just a waste of time.
posted by FormlessOne at 2:33 PM on June 6, 2003


Rush is a pain in the ass, but somewhat more receptive to real discourse than either of the two.

Not to be rude, but rubbish. Rush doesn't allow other viewpoints or even other people on his show. He won't appear on anyone else's show unless he is alone. He has a set of rules that basically says that for him to appear he needs a guarantee that he won't be challenged in any way.

Buchanan will meet people head-on, and even O'Reilly has guests on his show if only to club them over the head and make sure they don't get a fair hearing.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:47 PM on June 6, 2003


San Dimas High School football rules!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:34 PM on June 6, 2003


I really despise Bill O. Yet, I watch his show every single night. He's sort of like the cold sore in your mouth that your tongue just can't stop coming back to: you know its there, you hate it, but you can't resist checking once more. One day the cold sore is gone, and your tongue wonders how it ever got along without.

This past Monday(?), Field Marshall O'Reilly had Fat Robertson on The Factor. I-shit-you-not, Bill actually told Robertson to tone it down a notch with the homophobia. After scraping my jaw off of the floor, I immediately checked to make sure the cold sore was indeed still there.
posted by sharksandwich at 3:37 PM on June 6, 2003


As to "why there are kajillions of right-wing radio talk shows"--

Have you ever heard the advertisements on these shows? Clearly, the people who sell Gold Bond Medicated Powder, fake Viagra, magic weight-loss pills, overpriced term life insurance, and Verbal Advantage tapes are looking for an audience of idiots willing to believe everything they hear as long as someone shouts loudly enough.

Surprisingly enough, that translates into supporting dumbass right-wing radio.

Not actual, reasonable conservative discourse--there's no George Will or William F. Buckley, Jr. or Shelby Steele or Cathy Young radio shows, mind you--just abject, bellowing cretins.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:46 PM on June 6, 2003


My parents just bought one o' them Oreck vacuums. It sucks, er, doesn't suck, er...doesn't do a better job at cleaning carpets than the old Hoover.

When they gonna start with the Dionne Warwick psychic friends ads on Fox? ;)
posted by notsnot at 4:11 PM on June 6, 2003


Not actual, reasonable conservative discourse--there's no George Will or William F. Buckley, Jr. or Shelby Steele or Cathy Young radio shows, mind you--just abject, bellowing cretins.

Yeah, once a month, I make it a point to skim the magizines from In These Times (perhaps the only magazine that will actually print an opinion that marxists, may, possibly, some of the time, have some things worth saying,) to American Spectator (perhaps the only magazine that will actually print a man in blackface on the cover.) The Limbaugh Letter on the same shelf as Mad Magazine and both show the their respective mascot on the cover. What is even more unintentionally funny than Limbaugh lovingly illustrated each week in enough different types of drag to make the Village People jealous. The most recent issue shows Limbaugh in military fategues and in the background a tank pulling down a statue of Ted Kennedy. I'm amazed that one image can demonstrate bad taste in regards to both American congressmen and servicemen. The interior does not get much better.

The thing is, I'm a regular reader of George Will and William Buckley and when I read them, I get the distinct feeling that they are intelligent people, with a view about what types of problems America is facing, and ideas about how those problems should be solved. I'm rarely convinced, but they are voices that I can respect.

Perhaps I'm a bit naive but wouldn't it be nice if politics was about solving problems rather than scoring rhetorical points?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:15 PM on June 6, 2003


UncleFes: Molly Ivins was around a long time before Rick Bragg hit the scene. So that's not quite accurate - probably a couple of decades off, *at least* a decade off.
posted by raysmj at 5:58 PM on June 6, 2003


People who "enjoy" inflammatory sophistry are fools.

This is the point Durwood, you poor hapless twit.


hey guys, what's going on in this thread?

He's sort of like the cold sore in your mouth that your tongue just can't stop coming back to: you know its there, you hate it, but you can't resist checking once more.

did you mean to say, the little scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if only you could stop tonguing it, but you can't?

Can anyone give their theory as to why so many lies (I'm better acquainted with Coulter's, O'Reilly's, and Fleisher/Bush's, but any will do) just pass by so easily today without question?

items on the editorial page aren't really up for factual analysis. it doesn't matter what coulter says, it doesn't matter what o'reilly says, it doesn't matter what limbaugh says--these people aren't journalists, they aren't scientists: they're commentators. the news and politics editor of your local newspaper (or your local newscast) does not want to run a piece about o'reilly lying on his shouting-head tv show last night. it's cheap, it's mud-slinging, it's the worst kind of non-journalism, and above all else, it's sinking to their level.

(as for why the president of the united states gets the same free pass as snake-oil gasbags, that a much different--and much more serious--issue.)

as other people have pointed out, the real problem is that there aren't a lot of commentators on 'the other side' who can afford to do the cheap, dirty, mud-slinging bullshit. franken will, obviously--but when your calling out of a (come on folks) totally minor resume fib, of all things, results in a puerile shouting match at a book expo... well, what have you really accomplished? nobody's come out of this with a better opinion of franken or a worse opinion of o'reilly--and for proof, you can take a look at this thread, where those already disposed against o'reilly hail this 'nail in the coffin' that will finally prove his craziness to everybody; while those disposed towards o'reilly shrug off his behavior and instead focus on the (extant!) bad behavior of franken.

(not to plug anyone or any ideology, but jon stewart does a much better job of taking mass-media assertions at face value--and he's a lot funnier than franken, to boot.)

while we're on the subject of bias, here's some MMC 101 discussion questions to think about.

what was the bias of the front page post? how apparent was this bias? did the writer provide sufficient evidence for any assertions made? was the tone appropriate? were any logical fallacies used? if so, which? what was the overall effectiveness of the writer's rhetoric? what net effect did that rhetoric have on the tone of the discussion that followed? is metafilter better than the o'reilly factor?
posted by kjh at 8:15 PM on June 6, 2003


jon stewart does a much better job of taking mass-media assertions at face value

that should have been "...LESS THAN face value."
posted by kjh at 8:17 PM on June 6, 2003


what was the bias of the front page post? how apparent was this bias?
Well, certainly against O'Reilley but not really delving into his politics. All the out right negative points brought up in the FPP were specific to O'Reilley. The 'Stuart Smalley' reference was, I think, more of an invitation to the slack-jawed locals who guaffed at the Smalley character to come on in and post (which they did).

&gt; how apparent was this bias?
I'd say it was pretty bold faced and out front about it. I've seen Michael Jackson treated worse on a FPP - but not many others.

did the writer provide sufficient evidence for any assertions made? was the tone appropriate? I'd have prefered a couple more links to articles but the comments quickly piced up on that. I think the tone was fine though, I mean if you're going to be one sided - then come out and say it. Metafilter is not 'bias-free zone;' we're not journalists - we *link* to their stuff.


were any logical fallacies used? if so, which?
Well well - something to read this weekend...

what was the overall effectiveness of the writer's rhetoric?
78 comments thus far. I think the video really helped. Although someone should have mentioned that the interesting part started at about 42 minutes. Of course - the entire Franken speech had me chuckling.


what net effect did that rhetoric have on the tone of the discussion that followed?
It kept it interesting for a bit with nice after-post-factual links. Lot's of O'Reilley bashing. Someone called him an asshat!

is metafilter better than the o'reilly factor?
I dunno - I never watch O'reilly for more than about 30 seconds.
posted by DragonBoy at 11:06 PM on June 6, 2003


78 comments thus far. I think the video really helped.

the effectiveness of a writer's rhetoric is not to be found in the quantity of discourse that it generates (after all, it is the rhetoric of o'reilly that has fundamentally generated this discussion) but in the quality of it--that is, were your readers convinced by what you had to say?

Metafilter is not 'bias-free zone;' we're not journalists - we *link* to their stuff.

what's the difference?

bias is an impediment to meaningful discourse. we see that in the diatribes of bill o'reilly--and we see it in the diatribes of al franken. franken let his emotional bias take charge, and the result was a shouting match worthy of 'the factor' itself.

bias instantly polarizes readers into 'pro' and 'anti' factions--an immediate false dilemma, a fallacy under which all further discussion labors.

bias is not the enemy of journalists; bias is not the enemy of editors; bias is not the enemy of the logistically elite: it is the enemy of all who communicate through language.

how many were willing to entertain o'reilly's point of view, no matter how poorly presented? how many were willing to believe that his confusion of 'peabody' for 'polk' was an honest mistake? how many wondered--if o'reilly was really such a reprehensible liar--why franken, who surely has access to tape or transcript of o'reilly's program, couldn't find a better example of such than a little resume-padding preening? so o'reilly got a little head--oops, i mean, didn't get a peabody award--and then lied about it: who cares?

i'm sorry if this seems pedantic and irrelevant, but the problems of 'the o'reilly factor' aren't limited to that television program, and if they must be rooted out from there, they must be rooted out from everywhere.

this we believe.
posted by kjh at 12:20 AM on June 7, 2003


This discussion of bias is nearly irrelevant. We're not talking about bias, we're talking about lies.

bias is an impediment to meaningful discourse.

You haven't made this case. Bias, or advocacy, is at the heart of all formal debate including, I might point out, our judicial system.

Bias should not be exhibited on the part of a moderator of a discussion, but it's perfectly acceptable and normal for a participant in a discussion -- if they didn't have a position, they wouldn't have anything to talk about.

Bias is also the enemy of news reporting. Nobody's complaining about O'Reilly's bias as a commentator, they're complaining about his bias as a host. They're also complaining about something else: his untruthfulness, his distortion, alteration, and ignorance, wilful or otherwise, of the facts, his willingness to disseminate and perpetuate falsehoods... in a nutshell, lying.

bias is an impediment to meaningful discourse. we see that in the diatribes of bill o'reilly--and we see it in the diatribes of al franken. franken let his emotional bias take charge, and the result was a shouting match worthy of 'the factor' itself.

Did we watch the same video? Franken was not "biased": he was making a case. O'Reilly was not "biased", he was defending himself. (Poorly, but the indefensible is tricky that way.) Now if Pat Schroeder had exhibited bias, that would have been a problem. But we neither know nor care about her bias because she didn't actively intervene.

bias is not the enemy of journalists; bias is not the enemy of editors; bias is not the enemy of the logistically elite

Bias is the enemy of journalists whose job it is to report the facts. Bias is the enemy of their editors -- except when a piece is explictly opinion. I couldn't say whether bias is the enemy of the "logistically elite" because I have no idea who that is.

it is the enemy of all who communicate through language

Bias is involved when you take a position or defend an interest, which every one of us does every day. It's not the culprit. There are those whose job and responsibility it is to avoid bias some or all of the time. But one form of bias is called advocacy, and it is both indispensible and inescapable.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:02 AM on June 7, 2003


George_Spiggott: You're my hero today.
posted by Cerebus at 5:30 AM on June 7, 2003


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