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August 21, 2003 7:13 AM   Subscribe

In the latest round in the Bill O'Reilly vs Al Franken grudge match, Mr. O' Reilly attempts to prove that Mr. Franken isn't a satirist. (more inside)
posted by jpburns (60 comments total)

 
"It is simply a sorry joke to see a political activist like Al Franken labeled a satirist by The New York Times. Attempting to smear and destroy the reputations of those with whom you politically disagree is not satire. If that were the case, Richard Nixon's Watergate plumbers would all be writing for "Saturday Night Live."

This is a great example of "the big lie." First of all, It isn't the New York Times that calls Al Franken a satirist, it's pretty much the whole thinking portion of society. Secondly, rather than attempting to prove his thesis, all he does is toot Fox's horn, then whines about the liberal media, but never offers any cogent argument about Franken's credentials.
posted by jpburns at 7:16 AM on August 21, 2003


BTW Franken's book has been released ahead of schedule (probably to beat tomorrow's initial hearing before a judge) and is in stores now. If you're thinking of buying it do so today, in case it gets pulled from the shelves tomorrow!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:21 AM on August 21, 2003


Al Franken *did* write for SNL. Am I missing the logic, or did O'Reilly just disprove his own point?
posted by occhiblu at 7:24 AM on August 21, 2003


Bill sez: "It makes me sick to see intellectually dishonest individuals hide behind the First Amendment to spread propaganda, libel and slander."

Me too, Bill. That's why I avoid your program.
posted by eyebeam at 7:25 AM on August 21, 2003


PST: Thanks for the heads up! I'm definitely gonna have to try to look for it today!
posted by tittergrrl at 7:26 AM on August 21, 2003


This from the same man that claims the Bible says, "God helps those who help themselves." Not only is O'Reilly a genius, but he's a master theologian as well. And those liver spots give him gravitas. Tell me again why his commentary is even worth noting?
posted by insomnyuk at 7:28 AM on August 21, 2003


It's fitting for Bill O'Reilly to identify himself with Tricky Dick. He's got the crass personality, obsession with his enemies, and persecution complex thing down pat. All he needs is to start secretly taping things and hold a press conference vowing that the world won't have Bill O'Reilly to kick around any more.
posted by rcade at 7:28 AM on August 21, 2003


Full disclosure: I am sorta kinda involved in the book retail business, but I won't mention my employer. Just before anybody who remembers that association calls me on it.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:30 AM on August 21, 2003


probably to beat tomorrow's initial hearing before a judge

Or to capitalize on the insane amount of free publicity O'Reilly and company are generating for the book. "The O'Reilly Factor" indeed, what a moron. Should be worth a million or so to Franken.

I'm glad I'm on the smart team!

[wills Cynthia McKinney into a poof of air]
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:31 AM on August 21, 2003


"We don't do drive-by character assassinations, and we don't denigrate opposing points of view by launching gratuitous personal attacks."

They simple cuts the mics on person with said view-point and then call them an idiot....but nothing personal like challenging the dissenting argument.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 7:32 AM on August 21, 2003


We don't do drive-by character assassinations, and we don't denigrate opposing points of view by launching gratuitous personal attacks.


I get it! It's O'REILLY who's the satirist.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:33 AM on August 21, 2003


Some questions:

If FOX is not conservative, how come FOX success shattered the stranglehold the left had on TV news for decades?

If CNN has more ultraconservative viewers than FOX, how come FOX success shattered the stranglehold the left had on TV news for decades?

If FOX does not denigrate opposing points of view by launching gratuitous personal attacks, why does it keep on calling its haters "primarily ultraliberal" (whatever the heck that means - I thought ultraliberals were people like Reagan or Thatcher)?

If facts matter to FOX, why did they sue to be able to lie?

etc.
posted by magullo at 7:35 AM on August 21, 2003


SHUT UP! SHUT UP!

/satire
posted by jpburns at 7:40 AM on August 21, 2003


thought ultraliberals were people like Reagan or Thatcher

that reminds me of a friend who once described a mutual acquaintance (Reform Jewish) as being "so Reform he's practically Nazi."

I guess ultraliberal fits Reagan and Thatcher if the political continuum has suddenly looped back on itself to form a closed circle. If it had, I assume this would have been on CNN.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:42 AM on August 21, 2003


Is it possible that this isn't a "real" fight, and that Franken and O'Reilly (and the publishers and broadcasters which they represent) have manufactured this whole thing just to gain more publicity? I mean, the fact that the book hits the shelf today and that we're talking about it and all, seems too ... convenient.

And I'm sure none of us want to be duped ... or do we?
posted by crunchland at 7:43 AM on August 21, 2003


Having witnessed the usual media crowd play softball with Hillary Clinton on her recent book tour, I think it is a good thing that we have people like O'Reilly to shake things up a little. I again say that I like O'Reilly precisely because he gets under the skin of most of my liberal friends. O'Reilly, however, is foolish to take on Franken no matter how insufferable, annoying (or wrong) Franken is. Fox and O'Reilly should have ignored him.
posted by Durwood at 8:11 AM on August 21, 2003


The latest survey taken by Mediamark Research finds that more ultraconservative viewers watch CNN than Fox.

Then:

Fox in the cable news world has shattered the stranglehold the left had on TV news for decades.

Which is it, Il Duce?
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:14 AM on August 21, 2003


The accusation that Fox is a conservative network is pure propaganda. Poll after poll has demonstrated that Fox's audience is across the board, ideologically and demographically. The latest survey taken by Mediamark Research finds that more ultraconservative viewers watch CNN than Fox.


He defends the objectivity of the network by claiming that its viewers are diverse. This is just a straight-up logical fallacy. It's like saying that traffic accidents must be beautiful because people of all kinds slow down to gawk at them.

Bill O'Reilly is not a journalist. Fox News is an oxymoron.
posted by Hildago at 8:19 AM on August 21, 2003


Magullo and Mayor Curley: much as I'm willing to pile on Bill O'Reilly, it's not really illogical that Fox news could be "fair and balanced", without being conservative, and break the alleged stranglehold of the left. It isn't accurate, but it's not illogical, either.

As for the ultra-conservatives watching CNN, I just wonder who O'Reilly thinks is an ultra-conservative.
posted by kcmoryan at 8:28 AM on August 21, 2003


The latest survey taken by Mediamark Research finds that more ultraconservative viewers watch CNN than Fox.


Anybody have access to that report? The question isn't really about raw numbers, but about percentages.

There also the understanding that Howard Stern used to such great effect, i.e. 'The people who like him listen 1.5 hours a day. The people who hate him listen 3 hours a day."

A more interesting set of questions would focus on how various groups agree or disagree with the general tone and, uh, bias, of a news channel.
posted by wah at 8:28 AM on August 21, 2003


current amazon sales rank for al franken's book: 3.
posted by callicles at 8:36 AM on August 21, 2003


If I'm Franken, I'm going to try and goad O'Reilly even further, both for the sake of book sales and to make him look even more like the sputtering, red-faced "shocked, I'm shocked!" idiot he already appears to be.

Why do I get the feeling O'Reilly's getting perilously close to pointing out that Franken is a Jew?
posted by kgasmart at 8:40 AM on August 21, 2003


All he needs is to start secretly taping things and hold a press conference vowing that the world won't have Bill O'Reilly to kick around any more.

well, jfk, to some extent, and johnson installed the taping system, RN put in a few more mikes.... but the 'kick around anymore' speech came when he failed to win the california govenors race. (but you knew that) ((good satire))

look, why does this shit post make it and other political threads get axed, is it because of the repetition?....are you members that scared to discuss politics like the big kids? Metafilter used to have mammoth discussion and the posts even made more sense then O'Reilly. I love Al Franken and he is smart. I dont care about his satire concerning politics but i guess some do.

are we to do a Davis here....
:I

the logic of this thread as well as the article is beyond discussion. But i will add my satire....


"The moment I looked at my table, I was aware that someone had rummaged among my papers. The proof was in three long slips. I had left them all together. Now, I found that one of them was lying on the floor, one was on the side table near the window, and the third was where I had left it."

Holmes stirred for the first time.

"The first page on the floor, the second in the window, the
third where you left it," said he.

"Exactly, Mr. Holmes. You amaze me. How could you possi-
bly know that?"
"Pray continue your very interesting statement."


-A.C. Doyle, from The Adventure of the Three Students
posted by clavdivs at 8:41 AM on August 21, 2003


....are you members that scared to discuss politics like the big kids?

no, politics are for assholes.
posted by angry modem at 8:57 AM on August 21, 2003


Bill O'Reilly is a dicky hickey.
Spoken like a big kid, clavdivs.
posted by ghastlyfop at 9:20 AM on August 21, 2003


From the article:

It makes me sick to see intellectually dishonest individuals hide behind the First Amendment to spread propaganda, libel and slander.

Is this what self-parody looks like?
posted by moonbiter at 9:21 AM on August 21, 2003


I'm intrigued by the news that "there is a wider range of thought and expression available 2-4/7". I know that dates are expressed differently in the US, but do Fox have a diferent programming policy between the 2nd and 4th of July ?
posted by daveg at 9:27 AM on August 21, 2003


Uh, Bill... shouldn't a rebuttal actually rebut something?

Every chance he gets he characterizes what Franken's doing as "demonizing" and "smearing". But not once, not anywhere, has he actually produced an example, quoted or attempted to refute anything Franken says. So all Bill's doing is, um... gosh! Demonizing and smearing. Who'd a thunk it, eh?

Franken should send him a check -- just a token amount -- for marketing and publicity services rendered. Print it up on one of those giant display checks they use in award ceremonies and hold a press conference.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:48 AM on August 21, 2003


Why do I get the feeling O'Reilly's getting perilously close to pointing out that Franken is a Jew?

In one of the C-SPAN BookNotes debates, O'Reilly said something about Franken's "big nose" which, if I remember right, struck me as bordering on anti-semitic. I'd have to watch through it again to get it right, and maybe I'm just incorrect, but I do remember being a little surprised at the time.
posted by Hildago at 10:04 AM on August 21, 2003


Why does anyone let O'Reilly finish a sentence, anyway? He never seems to let anyone else.

Not to mention I don't understand how anyone who worked on Inside Edition, LIED about the honors it received (which happened to be after he left, btw), and admits that he worked at Inside Edition has any credibility whatsoever.

Would it matter to Fox in some way if they just copped to the right wing thing? Maybe if it was out in the open they'd be doing even better.
posted by verso at 10:19 AM on August 21, 2003


In one of the C-SPAN BookNotes debates, O'Reilly said something about Franken's "big nose" ...

Did he really. Wow. I'm it would take just a few more nudges from Franken, and O'Reilly would have a complete, raving, Michael Savage-like breakdown.
posted by kgasmart at 10:20 AM on August 21, 2003


That C-SPAN BookNotes debate that Hildago mentions is, in case you've not seen it, the best possible way to understand the dynamic between these two people. It's great fun to see. Franken trounces O'Reilly utterly, and it's amazingly entertaining to watch the usual bully get bullied so effectively by a reasonably mild mannered individual.
It can be viewed here in Real format.
posted by dong_resin at 10:21 AM on August 21, 2003


O'Reilly's arguments aren't supposed to make sense to us. They're not supposed to be well-reasoned attacks on Franken's writing or facts. O'Reilly is letting loose with a rant that he needs to publicize to ensure the loyalty of his own fans. You and I are going to read O'Reilly's rant and think, "what a load of crap!" However, regular viewers of "The O'Reilly Factor" are going to eat this stuff up and think to themselves, "Damn, Bill really stuck it to that guy Franken! And that Franken guy isn't even remotely funny as Rush Limbaugh!"

Had O'Reilly done nothing, he would have appeared like a wimp to his fans and lost the tough-guy, tough-talking street cred that comprises his public persona.
posted by deanc at 10:39 AM on August 21, 2003


Why would O'Reilly care about being labeled as a bigot? He's already called Mexicans "wetbacks" on his show, and made jokes about black kids stealing his hub caps at some sort of disadvantaged youth fundraising event.

O'Reilly is the definition of a hypocrite. He rants and raves about the unfairness of attacking someone for their political view points, yet he's the same person attacking Jacque Chirac on a daily basis since March for his political views. He thinks of himself as the "common man" from "a poor background", yet he has a Harvard degree, makes upwards of four million dollars a year, and he grew up in fucking Westbury, Long Island.

Not to mention I don't understand how anyone who worked on Inside Edition, LIED about the honors it received (which happened to be after he left, btw), and admits that he worked at Inside Edition has any credibility whatsoever

Not only did Inside Edition never win a Peabody, which O'Reilly claimed they did, later took it back and said he never said it and defied anyone to find a transcript of him saying it, it was discovered that IE won a Polk award long after O'Reilly left the show.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:42 AM on August 21, 2003


Anyone got a link to the C-Span debate in a format other than the "Real" format?
posted by sharksandwich at 10:43 AM on August 21, 2003


BTW, just to be clear I see I mislabeled the Book Expo debate as the Booknotes debate because when it originally aired, it used two Booknotes segments as... well, as bookends.

Nevertheless, this is the thing to watch.
posted by dong_resin at 11:12 AM on August 21, 2003


If that were the case, Richard Nixon's Watergate plumbers would all be writing for "Saturday Night Live."

Of course not.. they just get their own right-wing political radio shows... kind of like... Mr. O'Reilly?
posted by Space Coyote at 11:26 AM on August 21, 2003


Both parties in the dispute are lying about themselves. Mr. O'Reilly claims to be a journalist (and therefore trustworthy) and Mr. Franken claims to be a comedian (and therefore funny).

It's mildly amusing watching the spat happen though.
posted by clevershark at 11:55 AM on August 21, 2003


"If Fox News crashed and burned tomorrow, these people would toast marshmallows in the flames."

I'll bring the graham crackers and chocolate, yo
posted by emptyage at 11:56 AM on August 21, 2003


Well I already went out today and looked for Franken's book, but it's not here in the DC stores yet. I'm looking forward to yet another good read from Franken.
posted by Red58 at 12:03 PM on August 21, 2003


It's not in NYC yet, either.

At least not in the Barnes & Noble in Midtown. Although I did sneak a peek at the screen, and it looks like they have almost 300 copies on order.
posted by bshort at 12:04 PM on August 21, 2003


I just watched the whole debate. the clear winner was molly ivins. she rocks the house.

o'reilly invited franken over to his house for a 'bagel' so that he can see how poor he is.
posted by goneill at 12:16 PM on August 21, 2003


I again say that I like O'Reilly precisely because he gets under the skin of most of my liberal friends.

I actually would like him much better if:
1: He actually employed a fact checker.
2: He would be straight-up and honest about his political bias rather than hide behind a facade of "objectivity".
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:16 PM on August 21, 2003


I just watched the above-linked C-Span Book-show, whatever it's called, and I didn't hear O'Reilly talk about Franken's "big nose," but he did invite Franken over to O'Reilly's mom's house for bagels. That may be a, perhaps less than subtle reference to Jews and their reputed bagel eating.

Is this a Jewish stereotype around the world, by the way?
posted by crazy finger at 1:23 PM on August 21, 2003


Mr. Franken claims to be a comedian (and therefore funny).

I think he's funny.
posted by mcsweetie at 2:58 PM on August 21, 2003


Al Franken is funny, anyone who's seen his Stuart routine should know that.

O'Reilly is a bag of wind who should be popped.

I'd watch him but what's the point, you can't penetrate that dense skull of his, he doesn't care what anyone else thinks or says because he already considers himself the smartest man alive. When he's really just a doorknob.
posted by fenriq at 4:57 PM on August 21, 2003


Red58: I got it today at the Olsson's near MCI Center in DC. They had like five copies and I got the first one. Whee!

It sounded like they may have had it at Barnes and Noble but were not willing to put them out when I visited earlier in the day.

I'd check Olsson's, tho.
posted by tittergrrl at 5:14 PM on August 21, 2003


I loved a comment from this thread - Space Coyote likened O'Reilly to an asshole drunk at a bar who pisses his pants and then bellows "SHUT UP!!!" in an effort to make everyone stop laughing at him. This analogy is also entirely appropriate for the article posted above, or indeed for Bill O'Reilly's character in general.

When it comes to people like Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter I'm quite torn as to how to deal with them - do I ignore them and concentrate on doing something constructive in hopes that they'll wither up from lack of attention, or do I actively combat them?
posted by orange swan at 7:06 PM on August 21, 2003


Yeah, but who would win in a fight?
posted by pemulis at 7:10 PM on August 21, 2003


Burns, thank you for this precious piece. None of us here could ever illuminate O'Reilly's foolishness better than he has done himself in this article.
posted by caddis at 7:26 PM on August 21, 2003


It must be tough, being your own worst enemy and all, the way O'Reilly is. No wonder he's so angry with anyone who challenges him... "Hey, fuckwit, I can make me look worse than you ever will so just go on home."
posted by orange swan at 7:52 PM on August 21, 2003


What a sad, sad man. I just don't think it will ever sink in to O'Reilly that to greater or lesser degrees some of us kind of "grew up" with Franken. To watch SNL as an adolescent was in many ways part of how we became adults. Franken's work (especially his Stuart Smalley character, as he mostly wrote) is pretty much inseperable from how we see the humorous side in ourselves. I just don't think dense O'Reilly even fathoms this. It's really quite sad how stupid he is.

I taped that BookNotes event and have watched it a few times. It is simply astonishing the shallow petulance of that man O'Reilly. Simply astonishing. And I mean that. All I can say, is if anybody is at all entertained and/or feels "informed" by that man, they must not have watched much Saturday Night Live growing up. He literally is a caricature of himself.
posted by crasspastor at 9:16 PM on August 21, 2003


I just watched the above-linked C-Span Book-show, whatever it's called, and I didn't hear O'Reilly talk about Franken's "big nose,"

There were a couple of different debates. Could have been on the second debate, or I could just be wrong. Actually, I'm 95% sure the phrase "big nose" showed up, what I'm not sure about is whether the intent was more along the lines of "don't stick your big nose into other people's business", which I would consider an idiom, not necessarily bigoted.

I don't know if C-SPAN has the second debate posted online, maybe someone will do my work for me and find out.
posted by Hildago at 9:54 PM on August 21, 2003


Unlike O'Reilly's radio show, I'll bet Franken's publishers don't have to "pay" to have stores carry his book.
posted by RavinDave at 11:27 PM on August 21, 2003


When it comes to people like Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter I'm quite torn as to how to deal with them - do I ignore them and concentrate on doing something constructive in hopes that they'll wither up from lack of attention, or do I actively combat them?

Do the former. O'Reilly and Coulter live in two dimensions and feed off your attention. They can't escape the curse of unhindered vanity, it governs the content of their thoughts and the quality of their arguments.

You know what they're about now. Shut off the TV sky and they're erased forever. These are pundits; their opinions point only to themselves in the end.
posted by attackthetaxi at 1:30 AM on August 22, 2003


Perhaps you're right, attackthetaxi. O'Reilly and Coulter only become powerful with attention to them and to their ideas. Active fighting should be saved for those whose power is intrinsic to their position, like elected officials.
posted by orange swan at 7:16 AM on August 22, 2003


... and then Franken goes and does a boneheaded thing like this!

Geez! Talk about feet of clay...
posted by jpburns at 7:36 AM on August 22, 2003


the boneheaded thing you're referring to is the apology, right?
posted by soyjoy at 9:19 AM on August 22, 2003


More that he did something worth apologizing for (misleading Ashcroft). The apology is the only graceful thing about the episode.
Can you imagine O'Reilly apologizing about anything?
posted by jpburns at 9:27 AM on August 22, 2003


Franken wins; judge calls case "wholly without merit."

via This Modern World.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:46 PM on August 22, 2003


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