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O'Reilly says America getting more selfish; TB Guy Speaker is evidence

Reported by Chrish - June 4, 2007 -

Bill O'Reilly's Top Story Friday night 6/1/07 was titled "Is America becoming a 'me-first' country?" All this angst was caused by lawyer Andrew Speaker deciding to put fellow travelers at risk as he successfully returned to the USA from Europe, despite being on a Homeland Security no-fly list. Rather than fret about the ease with which this man circumvented procedures supposed to keep us safe from terrorism, O'Reilly exploited the situation, twisting it into a battle in his ridiculous culture war.
With video.

Guests Dr. Andrea Macari, a clinical psychologist, and Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist, had different takes on the subject. O'Reilly reiterated his Talking Point that Speaker was lying and his wife was telling the truth, but Macari wasn't so sure about that.

She introduced the premise that there are no unselfish deeds, and O'Reilly immediately countered with the standard bearer (as everyone who's ever had this discussion knows), what about Mother Theresa? She explained that selfishness does not always mean grasping at fame and fortune, it also includes seeking personal gratification and satisfaction.

O'Reilly made it personal, asking if she would have done what Speaker did. When she cleverly replied that one can't know, he grandly insisted that he would do the right thing and stay in italy. She responded the it's that type of judgment and self-righteousness...and he cut her off, chin thrust out, to deny that he was being self-righteous. He then proceeded to self-righteously claim that had he been told he had a communicable disease, he would ask where to go so he wouldn't hurt his wife and other people. He looked indignant as he asked her if she found that hard to believe. She said that when you're wealthy and have all the resources in the world, it's easy to make that decision, and O'Reilly argued that Speaker wasn't "some poor shnook" and had plenty of money and connections. (Note to self: "folks" = "shnooks").

Ablow addressed Macari's opinions rather than the issue, saying he heard psychological equivocating on her part. Speakman (sic), he said, was putting himself first, and very rarely is one event we hear about on the world stage the entirety of a man's character; he thinks Speaker has invited further personal scrutiny of his past character with his action.

For once, O'Reilly didn't want to tear someone down personally. He wanted to use Speaker's action as a symbol of what's wrong with America. (Comment: O''Reilly's whole traditionalist vs. secular progressive war story is based on the premise that traditionalists love America as is and S-Ps don't, and want to change it. Yet his arguments supporting this premise usually, as in this case, rest on a perceived wrong in America that he, the T-warrior, wants to change. )

Macari wasn't playing along, though. She denied that the country has gotten more selfish since WW2, as BOR suggested; rather, we have always been selfish and those genes are survivors. Again, Ablow attacked Macari's response and O'Reilly had to put him back on track.

O'Reilly wrapped it up by reiterating that he would not have gotten on that plane and asked Macari again if she would have. Honestly, she said she doesn't think anyone can know until they're in that position.

O'Reilly is just fomenting more discontent and divisiveness with this piece, which came on the heels of his TPM which assumed Speaker is of the S-P persuasion. This was a self-promotional bit that successfully distracted from exploring the How the hell did he get in? question that might make the Bush "war on terror" look ineffective.