|Home||Switchboard||Unix Administration||Red Hat||TCP/IP Networks||Neoliberalism||Toxic Managers|
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells
August 30, 2002 reason.com
The trouble with Bill O'Reilly
By Cathy Young
To his detractors, Bill O'Reilly, the tough-talking host of the phenomenally popular Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor, exemplifies the meanness and vulgarity of public discourse. The leftist media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting calls his show "The Oh Really? Factor" and takes him to task on a regular basis for mistreating guests and clutching "at any straw to avoid admitting he's wrong."
To his admirers, O'Reilly is a scourge of liberal pieties, a commentator who cuts through elitist nonsense and upholds common sense. As Stanley Kurtz put it in National Review Online, "O'Reilly's plenty smart alright, but his tough-talking, working-class hero persona drives our cultural aristocracy nuts."
Love him or hate him -- or love to hate him -- O'Reilly certainly pulls in the audience. By the most recent figures, his show averages nearly 2 million viewers a night, handily beating CNN's Larry King Live even though the latter is far more widely available.
O'Reilly and his Factor have much to recommend them. (For what it's worth, my sole appearance on the show, in January 2001, was a very positive experience.) He makes an effort to present both sides of an issue and to invite guests with whom he disagrees, even if he does tend to harangue them. He is upfront about his biases. His bluntness can be refreshing -- for instance, when he told cartoonist Ted Rall, who decided it would be provocative to mock the pregnant widow of the slain journalist Daniel Pearl as an attention seeker, that he was making himself look like a jerk.
A wealthy graduate of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, O'Reilly positions himself as a champion of the common man against both economic and cultural elites, and as a champion of common sense against intellectual sophistry. Given the propensity of modern intellectuals to believe in preposterous things, this means that O'Reilly turns out to be right a lot of the time. He also has the guts to take stances likely to alienate a good portion of his socially conservative core audience -- he's against the death penalty, for example, and condemns virulent anti-gay rhetoric.
But O'Reilly's populist conventional wisdom has its limitations. As a result, his "no-spin zone," as he calls his show, sometimes offers a rather bizarre spin on the issues.
Consider a February discussion of the Supreme Court's refusal to review a ban on the display of the Ten Commandments at the Indiana statehouse. O'Reilly asserted that the Ten Commandments do not imply the endorsement of a particular religion but merely support general spirituality and "moral behavior."
His guest, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, pointed out that the Ten Commandments -- which include "Thou shalt have no other God before me" -- belong to Judaism and Christianity. O'Reilly retorted that nothing in them could be seen as contrary to Buddhism: "Buddhism is based upon pretty much the same tenets here, monotheism, one God."
Apart from this peculiar interpretation of Buddhism, which in its various forms either recognizes no personal god or worships many god-like, enlightened beings, O'Reilly seemed to ignore completely the existence of Americans who are not monotheists but polytheists (such as Hindus), agnostics, or atheists.
Just how blinkered and dogmatic O'Reilly's "common sense" can be is most evident in his relentless cheerleading for the War on Drugs. His rhetoric on the subject rarely goes beyond some variation on "drugs are evil" and on occasion descends into outright demagoguery. Earlier this year, Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance appeared on the Factor to discuss the Office of National Drug Control Policy ad that premiered during the Superbowl. The ad, which showed teenagers alternately saying things like "My life, my body" and "I helped blow up buildings," asserted -- much to O'Reilly's approval -- that casual drug users are helping underwrite terrorism.
Nadelmann noted that American teenagers' primary drugs of choice are marijuana and Ecstasy, which are not linked to the funding of terrorism. O'Reilly countered that the Ecstasy trade is "run by Middle Eastern guys." When Nadelmann expressed skepticism, O'Reilly proposed a $100 bet.
The next day, in his "most ridiculous item of the day" segment, O'Reilly cited a government report which mentioned "the involvement of Israeli criminal organizations in Ecstasy smuggling. Some of these individuals are of Russian and Georgian descent and have Middle Eastern ties." He gleefully invited Nadelmann to "send a 100 bucks to Habitat for Humanity in New York City....It would be ridiculous not to do that."
According to Nadelmann, he never did send a check and never heard from O'Reilly again; but of course, he wasn't the one being ridiculous. It's fairly obvious that when people speak of Middle Eastern ties in the context of terrorism, they are not thinking about Russian- and Georgian-born Israeli mobsters.
Confronted with pro-legalization arguments, including the question of what makes illegal substances so different from legal ones such as alcohol and tobacco, O'Reilly tends to bluster his way out. A typical display occurred in his interview with Keith Stroup of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in May.
When Stroup pointed out that Holland, where marijuana is legally sold in coffee shops, has lower rates of marijuana use than the United States, O'Reilly testily replied that this was due to Holland's smaller population. Stroup countered that he was referring to percentages, not numbers.
"That statistic's skewed," O'Reilly shot back. "If you...ask the government of the Netherlands to tell us about how many kids get caught, they won't tell you. I don't believe them for a second."
When all else fails, there's the tried-and-true tactic of invoking the children: "In America, where we have...such a substance abuse problem, if you legalize another intoxicant, that intoxicant inevitably is going to find its way down to the kids of America," O'Reilly told Stroup. Based on this logic, one would presumably see no problem with banning alcohol to protect the kiddies, either.
The tendency to invoke "the children" as the ultimate rationale for any dubious social policy is a trait O'Reilly shares with one of the public figures he most despises: Bill Clinton. The focus on children has led O'Reilly to do excellent hard-hitting programs on issues ranging from abuses in the child welfare system to child molestation by clergy. But it has also led him to chide politicians for not pressing for the resignation of Catholic cardinals who have covered up claims of sexual abuse, brushing aside constitutional issues of church and state by saying, "I want to see the big boys out of there for the sake of the kids and for the sake of justice."
At its worst, O'Reilly's black-and-white approach to complex issues translates into a tendency to demonize the opposition. After his appearance on The Factor, Nadelmann received an obscenity-laden e-mail accusing him of promoting drug use and threatening to "break every bone in your worthless useless body." While O'Reilly is hardly responsible for the ravings of his less stable fans, Nadelmann believes that "he does play to such sentiments."
The Factor will undoubtedly continue to draw plenty of thoughtful and intelligent viewers -- as well it should. But I would worry about any member of the audience who doesn't want to yell at O'Reilly at least as often as she wants to cheer him on.
Contributing Editor Cathy Young is a columnist for The Boston Globe.
On July 31 2000, CanWest Global Communications Inc. transformed itself from a Winnipeg-based private television network into the most influencial media company in Canada. They bought all of Conrad Black's Canadian newspaper assets. These included Global Television, Canada's 2nd largest private TV network which reaches over 90% of Canadian households, The National Post (one of only two national newspapers), 14 metropolitan dailies in every major city except Winnipeg and Toronto, 126 smaller papers all over Canada, Canada.com ( canada's 3rd most popular internet portal), and various specialty cable TV channels and production companies.
CanWest is controlled by the Aspers, a very powerful and politcally connected family from Winnipeg. Their personal agenda is now the shared obsession of all its media outlets: support for Isreal, opposition to the Palestinian cause, blind loyalty to Canada's governing Liberal party, and blatant cheerleading for globalization.
Basically what we hear through the media is controlled by them. We hear what they want us to.
Reporters have had stories rewritten to match the companie's views and have been threatened with dismissal when they disagreed, columnists' ''wrong'' opinions have been edited or elimenated and over a dozen have been fired or quit. The publisher of the Ottawa Citizen was fired after allowing a column that criticized the Prime Minister at the time, Jean Cretien, to be published in the paper.
CanWest has even gone as far as to open a centralized news desk in Winnipeg with an internet based datebook system to allow them to track every reporter on every assignment, while ''bat'' phones give them direct entry into every newsroom in the chain.
Although a parliamentary committee has expressed concern at Canada's media problem and asked the government to ''issue a clear and unequivocal policy statement'' nothing has been done. The Aspers have too many friends in high places.
Now this all just sucks doesn't it? Our media should not be allowed to be controlled like this! We could be being fed lies and and....-=shakes fist at Can West=- this makes me so mad. Don't believe everything you here in the news.
with a gun for a lover and a shot for the pain inside
Google matched content
Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers : Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy
War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotes : Somerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose Bierce : Bernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes
Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law
Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds : Larry Wall : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOS : Programming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC development : Scripting Languages : Perl history : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history
The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-Month : How to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite
Most popular humor pages:
Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor
The Last but not Least
Copyright © 1996-2018 by Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov. www.softpanorama.org was initially created as a service to the (now defunct) UN Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) in the author free time and without any remuneration. This document is an industrial compilation designed and created exclusively for educational use and is distributed under the Softpanorama Content License. Original materials copyright belong to respective owners. Quotes are made for educational purposes only in compliance with the fair use doctrine.
FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to advance understanding of computer science, IT technology, economic, scientific, and social issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided by section 107 of the US Copyright Law according to which such material can be distributed without profit exclusively for research and educational purposes.
This is a Spartan WHYFF (We Help You For Free) site written by people for whom English is not a native language. Grammar and spelling errors should be expected. The site contain some broken links as it develops like a living tree...
|You can use PayPal to make a contribution, supporting development of this site and speed up access. In case softpanorama.org is down you can use the at softpanorama.info|
The statements, views and opinions presented on this web page are those of the author (or referenced source) and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of the author present and former employers, SDNP or any other organization the author may be associated with. We do not warrant the correctness of the information provided or its fitness for any purpose.
Last modified: February, 19, 2018