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Boulder Student, Mansur Gidfar, Shares Some Thoughts About Appearing On The O'Reilly Factor

Reported by Deborah - June 14, 2007 -

Guest Blogged by
Mansur Gidfar
Boulder Valley High School Student

Last night, I was invited on The O’Reilly Factor to discuss the Conference of World Affairs panel mess in Boulder, Colorado. I hope that my readers will keep in mind that I am still sixteen, and that one thing that’s never quite been my forte is writing a decent introduction. Once I’ve taken up a line or two with a useless disclaimer about my writing abilities, the paper opens up and I can stop wasting everyone’s time and get to the point. with video

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I’ll start at the beginning: on June 12, I received a call from a Fox News producer in New York asking if I would be interested in appearing on The O’Reilly Factor the following evening, and also stated that they would have some interest in speaking with Patrick Garrett as well. At the school board meeting later that night, Jesse Lange spoke with a Fox News producer who was covering the event who also expressed an interest in having him on The Factor

After the school board meeting finished at ten, Jesse, Patrick, John Yates (A BHS graduate who is currently a freshman at Yale), and myself got together to talk strategy and came up with this pre-game analysis: O’Reilly generally likes to have two types of people on, those he sees as weak enough to be easily defeated in a debate or those who’s opinions are so radical that they effectively discredit themselves with little or no effort on O’Reilly’s part. There are, however, occasional exceptions. Once in a while O’Reilly will have someone well articulated slip through or be forced to interview someone since they are the head of whatever organization he is currently crusading against, but in both cases can win out by talking/yelling over his opponent. This put us at a unique advantage, since in covering this story Bill had to at some point have a student or two on, but as even his producers recognized, it looks terrible for even Bill O’Reilly to get in a shouting match with a bunch of high school kids. With this in mind, we divided areas of discussion amongst ourselves as well as spent an extensive amount of time digging for our silver bullet, which turned out to be, ironically enough, “The O’Reilly Factor For Kids”. And so we were ready to face O’Reilly the next day, hoping to nail him right off the bat with his own quote and confront him on his wildly inaccurate coverage from there.

The next morning however, things took a rather unpleasant turn. I received a call from the same producer informing me that the interview would be split between a disgruntled parent and myself. Upon asking where all this left Patrick and Jesse, the woman replied “well, we’ve had first contact with you so we figured we’d keep you on and have the parent as an opposing viewpoint.” This complicated things quite a bit, and was actually a brilliantly low strategic move on their part. Here’s my guess as to the rational behind the switch: by bringing on a disgruntled parent, they hope to turn the interview into a point-counterpoint argument between me and a parent I was neither equipped to nor interested in debating. The idea was that by disagreeing with some poor woman and her righteous moral anger, I would effectively discredit myself and the student body I represented, negating the view of every student except those of course who support the anti administration agenda.

Naturally this turned our plan on its head, as originally we had counted on being able to back each other up as well as actually having and opportunity to debate our town and administration before bringing up his book. However, given the fact that parent now made it two to one and I was on my own with very little given time, we decided to throw the quote at the first opportunity, which effectively cut the interview short before it could come to a debate between me and Mrs. Lake as I doubt Bill wanted to run the risk of “The O’Reilly Factor For Kids” coming up again.

There were several things I didn’t get to say that I very much would have liked to. For one, after reading the O’Reilly quote, I was cut off before I could finish “so what I’m wondering is how you can possibly justify criticizing the panel, school, and community when according to this you agree with Joel Becker”. There were also several other quotes regarding drugs that are a long way off from saying there is no such thing as safe experimentation as O’Reilly is currently suggesting.

There was also an argument coined by John Yates that I wanted to make on the subject of administration punishment when he cut me off and said that his question was for Mrs. Lake. The point is this: you can screen those panelists as much as you want, but the fact is you simply don’t know what those people are going to say. To punish the administration in this would be like me making shocking and offensive comments on your show and you being held accountable.

Another point I wanted to get across was an excellent argument raised by Jesse Lange about the now infamous Antonio Sacre quote: “That’s the thing they don’t tell you about condoms. If you’re lucky enough to get them on, and you still stay hard, it’s hard to stay hard. (laughter from audience) And it doesn’t feel as good.” What O’Reilly leaves out is how Sacre continues to describe how he got an STD, his girlfriend was forced to have an abortion, and how he has had a hole in his heart ever since. How is that in anyway a ringing endorsement for unprotected sex?

Finally, I also intended on raising Patrick’s point about how the one’s being hurt here are the students, not by the panel but by people like O’Reilly who completely undermine the incredible achievements of Boulder High’s students by burning the administration and community at stake on national television night after night. The students have worked hard to make Boulder High 168th out of thousands of schools across the nation, and that work is being lost in a desperate scrabble to stir up controversy where there should be none.


By going on the factor, which surprisingly included the entire fifty seconds I was allowed to speak on air (although they have since pulled my interview segment from the FNC website), we hope to use the clip to switch focus from our town to O’Reilly’s incompetence and hypocrisy. We’re working contacts at MSNBC, NPR, and The Daily Show/Colbert Report in the hopes that they’ll find the idea of O’Reilly having one of his own quotes thrown in his face by a sixteen year old that looks like Frank Zappa as funny as we do.


And so, in tribute to Keith Olberman’s tribute to Edward R. Murrow, I’ll leave you with this:


Good night, and good luck.

~Mansur