More Mail: Left & Right

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Andy on O'Reilly from my anti-FOX days:


I just stumbled across an article of yours written July 30, 2003, so I'm a little late, I realize! But I was just so offended by something in it (something O'Reilly said, nothing you said!!) that I wanted to contact you.

O'Reilly says Ann Coulter is clearly not a total idealogical, bilious, nutjob since she is friends with Bill Maher. Franken, on the other hand, whom Bill calls a "vile human being" three times in just as many sentences, is totally critical of anyone less left than he. Let's look at the following from the most recent edition of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them:

p. 19 (Ch 3) "Though it may surprise you, I have a great respect for many conservatives in the media. Terry Bradshaw, for example."

on p. 309 (Ch 25) he mentions "David Brooks, who works at the Weekly Standard but is nonetheless a terrific guy" (I agree, by the way, although sometimes Mr. Brooks's articles make me tear at my hair. Don't know anything about Bradshaw.)

In Ch. 21 and again in Ch. 23, he talks a good deal about moderate Republican John McCain. He is very deferential talking about said John McCain, and his descriptions of him in Ch. 23 are even adulatory!

In Ch. 31, he expresses his guilt at having played a prank on the ultraconservative, fundamentalist, non-accredited Bob Jones University: "...we realized we had learned something...about ourselves. We'd come to Bob Jones expecting to encounter racist, intolerant homophobes. Instead, we found people who were welcoming, friendly, and extremely nice. A little weird, yes. And no doubt homophobic. But well-meaning. Kind of." (p. 284)

And here's what he has to say about O'Reilly, ironically (Ch 13): "I think Bill O'Reilly unquestionably has talent...And I'll admit I sometimes find his program entertaining...But at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if it's worth the emotional capital necessary to try to change Bill O'Reilly. I believe it is...When the last lie had been apologized for, the world would see a new Bill O'Reilly: fair, open-minded, genuinely impartial...." (p. 85) (Even though it's hard to distinguish jokes ever now and again in a satire, the tone of this struck me as quite sincere and even moving. O'Reilly is still a jerk, though.)

On the contrary to Andy's first comment, this is a timely article considering Franken and O'Reilly are always making the headlines. I remember that episode, when O'Reilly cleared Ann Coulter of any hard-right label because of her close friendship with Bill Maher. It was a big blunder, and I'm sure O'Reilly has since taken it back, especially since just last week Ms. Coulter criticized O'Reilly for not taking a position on the Swift Boat controversy. In a recent on-air commentary, O'Reilly has called Coulter "hard-right" and doesn't buy her claim that the Iraq war is going swell. I know, I know; the earth is round.

As for the chapters Andy pointed out, it shouldn't be a surprise that Franken does in fact have conservative friends just as Coulter has liberal pals. The chapter on Bob Jones is just ridiculous, because associating hard-right Christianity with moderate conservatism (about half the country) amounts to associating moderate liberalism with green-faced tree huggers.