Monday, March 12, 2012

#308: Bill O’Reilly


No, we couldn’t pass him up. Now, there is of course much that can be said about O’Reilly, even keeping politics out, and some of his failings are summed up here. There are reasons to think that O’Reilly is not always perfectly honest and that he sometimes makes things up. This bit is pretty illustrative in that respect. Well, ok – O’Reilly is the master of just saying whatever he wants to think is on track without any care whatsoever concerning its veracity. He is the stuff Fox News is made of, in other words. Take his infamous reporting, with Fox News’s own “crime analyst” Rod Wheeler on the “Lesbian rape gangs” in D.C.

But no matter how you cut the pie, there is no way around O’Reilly’s by now infamous ‘you can’t explain that’. You can see Ethan Siegel explain exactly that here. Not that it would change anything for O’Reilly’s ilk. Here are some more things Bill O’Reilly cannot explain. Colbert weighs in here.

During the discussions around the health care reform (and O’Reilly’s blatant lying about it), someone pointed out to him that Canada had a higher average life expectancy than America. O’Reilly’s response is a classic (think of it uttered in the classic O’Reilly patronizing voice): “well, that's to be expected […], because we have 10 times as many people as [they] do. That translates to 10 times as many accidents, crimes, down the line."

He also entertains theocrat sympathies. It is unclear whether he just doesn’t know the Constitution or deliberately lies about it, however. And while he doesn’t explicitly endorse creationism here – though he comes uncannily close () – he obviously does not understand evolution (though I don’t suppose anyone expected that).

Diagnosis: O’Reilly is either both astonishingly stupid and ignorant, or he is a disillusioned cynic who sometimes plays stupid just to see how silly claims he can get away with. The two possibilities are not mutually exclusive.


  1. In all fairness, though BillO does occasionally do the right thing and remain the voice of reason, which does suggest that much of his professed ignorance elsewhere is, in part, a game.

  2. I remember an interview with Silverman after the infamous tides incident, he said his now famous facial expression was caused that he realized that the man he was talking to at the moment was not the one he was chatting with before the show, that O'Reilly was putting on a persona. So, his view supports the 'cynic' option.

    1. That's actually a little less comforting than I'd have expected it to hear. Good to know, though.

  3. O'Reilly tries to defend wingnuttery by appeal to Jesus again. In particular, he claims that Jesus wouldn't give food stamps to lazy bums. I am ... not sure what passages of the New Testament he used to back up that one. He also claimed that the press is only covering the Malaysia Airlines incident because it “doesn’t want to cover important stories like the IRS and Benghazi”.

  4. Having never listened to O'Reilly some years back, I got one of his books. After reading it, I realized this man was totally off his rocker. I left my review on Amazon. Maybe he's simply the court jester of the American media.