Bill O’Reilly Takes the Lead from Al Franken in the Nutcase 500

For awhile now, Bill O’Reilly and Al Franken have been running neck-and-neck in the Nutcase 500, but earlier this week O’Reilly took a slight lead through some bizarre comments on his radio show. Discussing a ridiculous ballot mreasure in San Francisco that ultimately put the city on record as opposing military recruiters at public schools, colleges and universities (it is not, as some have falsely claimed, a ban on such recruiting — the measure was entirely symbolic), O’Reilly said,

You know, if I’m the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, “Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you’re not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead.” And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.

That more than beats Franken’s recent lies about his knowledge and role in the Air America/Gloria Wise scandal. We’ll have to just wait and see how Franken decides to trump this.

In the meantime, could Fox please fire O’Reilly already?


Gun, recruiter bans embraced. Mary Anne Ostrom, Mercury News, November 9, 2005.

O’Reilly to San Fran: “If Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it” (AUDIO). The Political Teen, November 11, 2005.

Bill O’Reilly vs. ACLU Over Crosses on Los Angeles County Seal

Personally, the American Civil Liberties Union’s successful effort to force Los Angeles county to drop a small cross from its public seal is exactly the reason I would never even consider donating to that group.

In case you didn’t follow this controversy, the Los Angeles county seal is subdivided into an number of sections and one of those sections features a cross to signify the historic role that Catholic missionaries played in California’s history. According to the ACLU, however, the cross is offensive to non-Christians (though not offensive to this atheist or my Wiccan wife), and violates the separation of church and state. As my wife puts it, perhaps next the ACLU should go after numerous other examples of Christianity embedded in California municipalities,

After this they’ll want to change city names that harken back to the days of the Spanish missions to something less offensive to non-Catholics: Los Angeles … Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Bruno, San Carlos, Santa Clara, San Clemente, Santa Cruz, Santa Clarita, San Diego, San Dimas, San Francisco, San Fernando, San Gabriel, San Joaquin, San Juan Bautista, San Jacinto, San Juan Capistrano, San Jose, San Anselmo, San Leandro, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Monica, San Marcos, Santa Maria, San Marino, Santa Paula, San Pablo, San Rafael, San Ramon, Santa Rosa….Ah, I luve the smell of litigation in the morning!

It’s stupid crap like this cross case that will keep me from ever donating money to the ACLU.

Equally as dumb, however, was Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly is like the conservative clone of Al Franken. If he’s got a good point, it’s not enough to make that point and move on. No, he has to stretch the point past the breaking point and into sheer lunacy. Here’s O’Reilly on the ACLU’s threatened lawsuit (emphasis added),

“Talking Points” wants you to know that we are rapidly losing freedom in America. Judges are overruling the will of the people, and fascist organizations like the ACLU are imposing their secular will.

Fascist organizations like the ACLU? What an idiot.


The O’Reilly Factor Transcript. June 2, 2004.

O’Reilly vs. Franken — Not Exactly a Battle of Wits

The latest round of the O’Reilly/Franken feud features an interview with Franken and Janet Maslin taking pot shots at O’Reilly in the New York Times. O’Reilly, of course, responds in his typical “no spin” rhetoric by accusing the Times of “journalist terrorism.” All this three ring circus needs now is an appearance by Mike Tyson.

O’Reilly doesn’t bother to respond to Maslin/Franken’s best point — that he is a complete hypocrite for his campaign against Ludacris’ sexually explicit lyrics given the tawdry sex scenes contained in a novel that O’Reilly wrote a few years ago.

O’Reilly claims that many of the supposed inaccuracies that Franken’s book “documents” are themselves erroneous. Most of this stuff is so minor that it’s not worth finding out whose right, except to note that Franken and O’Reilly are clearly cut from the same cloth (Franken was on NPR recently pushing the hilarious line that liberals are more intelligent than conservatives, which is why there’s now liberal version of Rush Limbaugh. Apparently he’s never watched James Carville or Paul Begala on Crossfire).

Maslin notes, for example, that Franken has chosen to follow Rush Limbaugh’s lead in sourcing his book,

Mr. Franken and his Harvard elves fuel future arguments by barely annotating much of this book’s data and skipping a closing index entirely.

Apparently liberals are very smart . . . but they’re just too busy to be bothered with minor things like footnotes and references.

The truly disturbing item in this whole mess, however, is the revelation, affirmed by Maslin, that Franken had at his disposal 14 researchers from Harvard. I’m assuming that means he had student runners going to the library and online for him to pull books, magazine articles and transcripts.

Did Franken pay those assistants out of his own funds, or did he receive them as a perk during his brief stay at the university? If the latter, does Harvard plan to provide this sort of level of support for all comedians who plan to write non-scholarly, partisan books? If Chris Rock decides he wants to write a book-length attack against Gretta Van Susteren, is Harvard going to open its doors to him? When Chevy Chase gets around to drafting his opus about Shepard Smith, will Harvard be there to hold his hand?

As for O’Reilly, the man needs to get a grip. He’s complained that Franken is deranged, but stuff like this indicates that O’Reilly might be losing it, too,

I knew that once I took on The New York Times the paper’s character assassins would take dead aim on me. That is why few journalists will ever criticize The Times — they know the paper will come after them in a very personal way. Therefore there is no check on the power of The New York Times — it prints what it wants with impunity.

Ohmigod — a newspaper printing whatever it wants with “impunity.” What is the world coming, too? I guess that explains why you’d never see the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz criticize the New York Times. Nope, they’re just quaking in their boots in fear of the New York Times in journo-world.


Franken Retorts, You Decide. Janet Maslin, New York Times, September 1, 2003.

The Culture War Heats Up. Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, September 3, 2003.

The Moron Factor

So last night I had the television on for background noise because the wife and kids were still in Tennessee visiting her sister. I really wasn’t paying attention until I heard Bill O’Reilly launch into his hilarious Talking Points Memo trying to justify Fox’s lawsuit against Al Franken’s book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

I should say that I can’t stand Franken. His book about Rush Limbaugh was almost as pathetic and annoying as Limbaugh’s own books. It is disturbing that people like Franken, Ann Coulter, Limbaugh, and Michael Moore can move so many books.

The title of Franken’s book, however, is clever — a bit too clever for Fox which is suing the comedian arguing that the book infringes on its trademark for the phrase “Fair and Balanced.” Not only is this a frivolous lawsuit, but it is a stupid public relations move by Fox. Could there be more of a whiney liberal thing to do than sue somebody who says mean things about you and mercilessly parodies you?

And Bill O’Reilly just compounded that problem with a ridiculous monologue that was laugh-out-loud funny,

The main point here is that trying to hurt a business or a person because you disagree with what they say is simply unacceptable in America. And that message has been sent by FOX. There’s a principle in play. Vigorous debate is embraced by us, but smear campaigns will be confronted. It is simply a joke for The New York Times to editorialize that fabricated personal attacks are acceptable under the banner of satire.

Mommy, Al’s using satire again. Make him stop!

You can’t try to hurt a business or person simply because you disagree with what they say? Then what the hell was O’Reilly’s campaign to get Ludacris fired as a Pepsi spokesman about about? Apparently O’Reilly can dish it out, he just can’t take it.

It gets funnier on the satire issue,

I wonder if The Times thought that Donald Sagretti was funny when he manufactured dirt to hurt Richard Nixon’s political opponents. I guess The Times editorial board would be yucking it up if their pictures appeared on a book cover accompanied by the word “liar.” Satire, my butt.

Just in case it isn’t clear, O’Reilly here is actually claiming that Franken is guilty of defamation for calling O’Reilly and others at Fox liars. Of course this is the same O’Reilly who called Franken an idiot. I suspect a judge in either case would find that each charge is true and therefore not subject to libel or slander statutes. (It’s not like you have to dig especially hard to find instances of O’Reilly dissembling or Franken acting like an idiot.)

And what would a pointless rant be without an absurd finish that cites a well known authority about how to deal with one’s opponents,

But once again, that’s not the issue here. The point is accountability. We are shining a spotlight on the haters and the enablers. You can decide if that spotlight is aimed in the right direction.

Talking Points cannot understand how people could side with the defamers and their pals. But it’s important to know just who these people are. For as Don Corleone once said, “kept your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

Okay, when you start pulling Godfather quotes into the mix, you’ve really gone off the deep end. The effect of watching O’Reilly deliver this speech was to question his mental stability. He looked and sounded like someone who was on the verge of losing it — and all because of an insult by a nobody like Al Franken. God forbid Dana Carvey says anything mean about O’Reilly!


The Best Defense Is a Good Offense. Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, August 14, 2003.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

As I’ve said before, I just fail to see why some of my conservative friends are so impressed by Bill O’Reilly (remember, this is a guy who interviewed Gene Simmons about the Kiss founder’s views on terrorism). And this bit seems to really show O’Reilly losing it,

Nearly everyday, there’s something written on the Internet about me that’s flat out untrue. And I’m not alone. Nearly every famous person in the country’s under siege.

Today’s example comes from Web sites that picked up a false report from The San Francisco Chronicle that said a San Francisco radio station dropped The Radio Factor. If anyone had bothered to make even one phone call, they would have learned that Westwood One made a deal with another San Francisco radio station, weeks ago to move The Radio Factor. Thus the word “dropped” is obviously inaccurate and dishonest. We’ll see if The Chronicle runs a correction, but you can bet you won’t be seeing many corrections on the net.

Okay, lets get this straight. A newspaper incorrectly reports on O’Reilly’s show. That newspaper story gets cited on the web. Aha, see — O’Reilly told us that Internet was evil and there’s the proof. What sort of insidious technology gives people the ability to quote newspapers? Hell, the next thing you know web sites will be citing television broadcasts and maybe even books.

Plus the error seems to be a relatively minor one for Bill to be upset about, except that he’s clearly a fame whore. O’Reilly wants us to feel pity for him and his fellow famous folks. Gee, Bill, why not get together with Barbara Streisand over coffee and kvetch about how difficult it is to be a celebrity these days.

And then it gets worse, with the article devolving into the “the Internet’s a bunch of child molesters” nonsense,

The child molestation people have now figured out a way to chat about their crimes without being charged with obscenity. And the Supreme Court actually helped these people by ruling that virtual child porn, computerized images of kids being raped, are legal, an extension of free speech.

Apparently O’Reilly hasn’t taken his gaze away from the mirror long enough to notice the numerous busts of the folks who use the Internet to facilitate child pornography. And, of course, he gives the usual O’Reilly spin to the Supreme Court decision on virtual child porn which was eminently sensible.

Moreover, (emphasis added)

So all over the country, we have people posting the most vile stuff imaginable, hiding behind high tech capabilities. Sometimes the violators are punished, but most are not. We have now have teenagers ruining the reputations of their peers in schools on the Internet. Ideologues accusing public officials of the worst things imaginable. And creeps gossiping about celebrities in the crudest of ways.

Ohmigod. Ideologues making accusations against public officials. Holy crap, somebody call out the National Guard and lets put a stop to that right this minute!

I guess the lesson is you can take O’Reilly out of the tabloid but you’ll never take the tabloid out of O’Reilly.


Sex, Lies and Videotape on the Internet.

Finally, My Dream Has Been Answered — KISS on Terrorism

My conservative friends rave about Bill O’Reilly, but I have yet to see any evidence the man is actually conscious. For example, what sort of person whats to know what Gene Simmons would do about terrorism? Yeah, that’s so much deeper than the tripe on Larry King Live.

And the most amusing thing is, it’s not a one-off comment where O’Reilly simply asks him about “the recent events” and lets Simmons babble out some stupid answer. O’Reilly gets involved in a serious conversation with Gene Simmons about the ins and out of counter-terrorism, Israel, and the conflict with the Palestinians.

O’REILLY: Now, the Mossad is feared. It is a secret police and agency that is given assassination. We don’t have that in the United
States, although President Bush, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), he did an interesting thing, I don’t know whether you’re aware of this. He took a U.N. resolution that allows assassination in defense of a country, and that’s what…

SIMMONS: It’s time.


SIMMONS: Yes, it’s time, because the United Nations is the wonderful place of civilized people and civilized countries to have civilized
discussions. We and Russia — look, America and Russia, I’d be hap — proud to be considered part of the we. Russia and America had the back and forth of, You shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that. Background, there
was some dirty stuff going on. But ultimately it was a conversation.

These guys are not interested in the conversation. So the result is very simple. It’s not even eye for an eye. The old book says eye for an eye times seven. You take out my eye, punitive damages are also allowed.

O’REILLY: Right.

Gee, what’s next Bill? When do we get to hear Britney Spears’ opinion about political unrest in Sri Lanka? How about N’Sync conduct a roundtable on Japan’s economic problems?