....LMB: "The Crazy Factor"....

November 09, 2003

I don't usually write about conservative writers and columnists. Why take on them when I can take on the politicians and corporate assholes directly? Well, I do semi-regularly write about these pundits when they really piss me off, write insane shit, or seem to be successfully spreading information that's just wrong.

Today, Bill O'Reilly is pushing button #2. So here we go.

In Friday's "Talking Points" on "The O'Reilly Factor", Bill O'Reilly argues that theft, breaking and entering, illegal surveillance, and slander, is the same thing as selling books.

Yeah.

More specifically, O'Reilly compares the actions of "Nixon's plumber's union" (I presume he means Nixon's dirty tricks squad "the Plumbers") to the selling of anti-conservative books on the Democratic National Committee's website.

Where to begin.

O'Reilly's central argument seems to be that DNC head Terry McAuliffe is using DNC money to hire authors to write books smearing Republicans and then selling those books to raise money for the DNC and attack their opponents. And this is despicable behavior, and we should all be real outraged and stuff.

First of all, O'Reilly doesn't name any of these books. If he did, maybe we could start to agree with him. But without any examples of these smears, we either take his word for it or visit the DNC site. In my searching, I could only find any books for sale on the DNC blog, and those were Nation reporter David Corn's "The Lies of George W. Bush" and comedian Al Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them." Not exactly shadowy hacks hired to do hit pieces.

Are they smear jobs like O'Reilly suggests? Can't speak to the Corn book, as I haven't read it (and I can't imagine a Nation reporter writing anything as entertaining as a smear. Most Nation articles read like stereo instructions). But I've been reading the Franken book. Very anti-conservative, but I don't know that any portion of it is untrue or inappropriate.

Second, O'Reilly suggests that the DNC is hiring these authors to write these villanous tracts, but doesn't come right out and say it. He can't, because there is no evidence to back that claim up (hence the insinuation-only scheme). He then implies that buying copies of these books to sell on the DNC website is akin to hirng the authors to write the books in the first place. Eh. Kinda, sorta, not really.

Third, what's with the focus on McAuliffe? Was this book plan his idea? Did he approve it? Does McAuliffe even know the details of the DNC website?

And McAuliffe "does the bidding of the Clintons"? What the hell is O'Reilly talking about?

This article is equal parts attack on the book sale, and, ironically, a smear on McAullife. Why? I don't know. Maybe O'Reilly ran out of things to be pretend to be outraged about this week and really had to stretch to fill his quota.

Fourth, for fuck's sake, they're books! The Democratic party is selling books that praise Democrats and decry Republicans?! Has the whole world gone topsy -turvy?! Spreading one's political ideas via the printed word is the highest form of treachery. Let's travel back in time and hang Thomas Paine!

I think my favorite bit is this:

A political party jacking up book sales of dubious people is bad enough, but using the publishing industry to advance political power is disgraceful. The bestseller lists are full of political books. And that's fine. My book isn't political, but "Who's Looking Out For You" is an enormous success. So we obviously don't have a problem with the publishing industry putting ideas into the marketplace.

Yes, the fact that a man with a daily television show on one of the nation's largest TV news networks owned by one of the world's largest media conglomerates can get his book published and sell many copies is proof that the "marketplace of ideas" is open to all.

What a prick.

And I agree, using the publishing industry to advance political power can be disgraceful.

I also like the bit where O'Reilly asks why the DNC doesn't sell a nicer liberal book, like the new one from Alan Colmes (who describes himself as a moderate. And is a complete tool). Which is a good question. I think the answer is that for once, the Democrats are actually out to win an election.

So, in conclusion, Bill O'Reilly = ass. No big surprise there.

Posted by Jake at 10:56 PM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Bill's problem is simply that, like most bullies, he can dish it out, but can't take it. He is pissed that Al Franken's book was so successful because it makes Bill look so bad.

Posted by: Woody at November 10, 2003 09:24 AM

Um, just one question about the stuff at the bottom. Is O'Reilly immune from the rules about kids under 13 accessing the web? I see this appeal: "An appeal to all you kids out there. The Factor is putting together a project involving students age 10 to 16. We want to know what the biggest problem is in your life." But nothing anywhere about getting parents permission or any of the usual legal rangling that goes on at places like Disney, etc. Any thoughts on that?

Posted by: triple-e at November 11, 2003 09:28 AM

Um, just one question about the stuff at the bottom. Is O'Reilly immune from the rules about kids under 13 accessing the web? I see this appeal: "An appeal to all you kids out there. The Factor is putting together a project involving students age 10 to 16. We want to know what the biggest problem is in your life." But nothing anywhere about getting parents permission or any of the usual legal rangling that goes on at places like Disney, etc. Any thoughts on that?

Posted by: triple-e at November 11, 2003 09:28 AM

Um, just one question about the stuff at the bottom. Is O'Reilly immune from the rules about kids under 13 accessing the web? I see this appeal: "An appeal to all you kids out there. The Factor is putting together a project involving students age 10 to 16. We want to know what the biggest problem is in your life." But nothing anywhere about getting parents permission or any of the usual legal rangling that goes on at places like Disney, etc. Any thoughts on that?

Posted by: triple-e at November 11, 2003 09:28 AM

Um, just one question about the stuff at the bottom. Is O'Reilly immune from the rules about kids under 13 accessing the web? I see this appeal: "An appeal to all you kids out there. The Factor is putting together a project involving students age 10 to 16. We want to know what the biggest problem is in your life." But nothing anywhere about getting parents permission or any of the usual legal rangling that goes on at places like Disney, etc. Any thoughts on that?

Posted by: triple-e at November 11, 2003 09:29 AM

Um, just one question about the stuff at the bottom. Is O'Reilly immune from the rules about kids under 13 accessing the web? I see this appeal: "An appeal to all you kids out there. The Factor is putting together a project involving students age 10 to 16. We want to know what the biggest problem is in your life." But nothing anywhere about getting parents permission or any of the usual legal rangling that goes on at places like Disney, etc. Any thoughts on that?

Posted by: triple-e at November 11, 2003 09:29 AM

Doi. I hit post about 12 times before I realized it was posting and not refreshing my page. Apologies to all.

Posted by: triple-e at November 11, 2003 09:30 AM

Funny O'Reilly says they shouldn't promote or sell David Corn's book, considering Corn is a regular on Fox News.

I will cite Jack Nicholson's famous line from "A Few Good Men": You can't handle the truth!

Posted by: David at November 12, 2003 12:22 PM

I watched a meeting for Youth Repubs the other day. Tom Delay spoke with the most vile garbaged mouth hate possible I couldnt believe this guy is in such a high position. And these are the ones crying.

Posted by: Keith at November 14, 2003 03:32 PM
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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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