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« "Cats do what they do" | Main | Looking for a knight in shining armor »

November 29, 2004

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Thanks for an explaination of O'Reilly's sickening article. I find him pretty uninteresting and seldom watch him. I thought maybe he had something since he was on Fox, but now he seems a loud mouth.

O'Reilly's treatment of the mothers of children kidnapped by Saudi fathers who had unfortunately trusted the State Dept. to act in the interest of the children was just as self-serving and loathesome as this recent article defending Dan Rather. O'Reilly had colluded with the Saudis and their US representatives, the US State Dept., to publicize a limited and controlled few minutes of access to the children in a UK hotel room in order to bolster the Saudi public image in the US. The mothers had been led to believe their children were being returned to them. No such thing occurred.

Sounds like Mr. O'Rielly is hamming for the CBS anchor job.

O'Reilly's take on Rather is indefensible and I don't agree with it. I think that here he's taken his own personal experiences and transferred them--inappropriately, and with unwarranted magnification--to the Rathergate/Bush National Guard fake documents scandal. It's not justified but here's my opinion on why, in part:

O'Reilly is someone who truly has been victimized by the worst-case excesses of irresponsible amateur internet commentators. As a high-profile target to those who will stoop to anything in order to discredit him, he's taken a lot of low blows. His every word is documented, databased, searched and subject to recombination and recrimination in or out of context, for any purpose, at any time.

This has hurt him and unfairly so (of course, he's not the only one this happens to). For example, I recall one instance where he said on TV that he had never advocated a boycott of French products--I'm paraphrasing from memory only--but his detractors were able to find his utterance of the word "boycott" and therefore... Aha! O'Reilly is discredited as a liar and phony for all time! QED!

The substance and meaning of his remarks were lost to the insignificant fact that he did at least once say the word "boycott." It's like inadvertently failing to sign your tax return and getting a life sentence for Enron-scale intentional fraud as a result.

Multiply this by several orders of magnitude, day in and day out for many years, and it's not hard to understand someone developing a hard line of resistance toward those who doggedly aim to destroy based on minutiae.

Add in the numerous opportunist and/or justified harassment/victim/etc. lawsuits that all high-profile people are subject to and I can see how O'Reilly and others similarly attacked have grown big defensive shells out of necessity.

The problem is that O'Reilly's defense of Rather fails to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate criticism of a media figure. He seems to have gotten so turtle-like that all kicks to the shell are equivalent, regardless of the actions of the reptile within. O'Reilly seems to have abandoned the notion of personal responsibility in favor of media-herd self-preservation.

I for one am disappointed. I expected more objectivity from O'Reilly based on his past work.

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