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Bill O'Reilly taking credit for new GI Bill

Reported by Chrish - February 7, 2008 -

Since Bill O'Reilly, in taking one of many swipes at Democrat John Edwards, stuck his foot in his big mouth on the issue of homeless vets in America, he's been doing damage control and promising a big announcement. Well, O'Reilly's much-trumpeted declaration came today. Apparently he spilled it on his Radio Factor program this afternoon and told the teevee crowd in his Talking Points Memo tonight 2/7/08: "Sen. John Kerry and Rep. Peter King will work with us to pass legislation that will reward our servicepeople."

It's safe to say that most people agree that our returning vets should get the best healthcare and educational opportunities - many of them are so young when they're sent they've only just completed high school - and this bill will also propose low-interest mortgages. O'Reilly's role? Talking Points (his alter ego) is going to put on the journalist hat and keep an eye on the legislation, informing viewers as to its progress.

Too bad he (and the rest of the FOX crew and much of the SCLM) don't keep an eye on and keep us informed about all the other thousands of bills in Congress. We know all about Natalee Holloway and who welled up on the campaign trail - well, at least when the girl does it - but we're woefully underinformed about things that affect us personally. Did you know that now when you rent a car you have to tell them where you're going, and if you change plans you have to call it in? All in the name of national security, of course. Where was BillO on that little gem?

But I digress.

Later, in the "Unresolved Problem" segment, O'Reilly hosted King (R-NY) and Col. David Hunt and played a clip of him and Kerry on the radio earlier. O'Reilly said to Kerry that he (Kerry), King, Webb and everybody else'll sit down and then we ("The Factor") will handle the opposition.

Does this sound thuggish to anyone else? He pronounced "this is the first time ever a media operation has partnered up with lawmakers to try to get something done in Washington." Hmm, the lead-up to the Iraq war springs to mind - there seems to have been some collusion there. I don't know that I want O'Reilly going to Washington DC and shoving Congressmen, yelling "Don't block the bill! You're blocking the bill!" on my behalf.

He clarified that the Factor's role is simply oversight, to keep viewers informed about the bill's progress and to monitor any opposition. Does this really warrant the big weeks-long lead-up and announcement, that the number one cable news program (we KNOW already!) is going to actually be doing some journalism? Or was this the best he could scramble up for reputation rehab, tagging himself onto ongoing legislation?

Just like with Jessica's Law, O'Reilly jumps on the bandwagon, claims the cause as his own, and when it inevitably succeeds because people want it, he can boast to have shepherded it through - another victory in another contrived war.

Introducing King and Hunt he acknowledged that it's been in the works for a while already, and he's not going to "micro" it; he's not even offering any suggestions because he's not smart enough, but he wants it and the American people want it. King said the updates will provide better education and housing aid, job training, and provide parity to reservists and Guard members who are called up to serve in combat.

The only anticipated opposition would be over the cost, but King assures O'Reilly that they can come up with the money when they need to: they do it all the time, the stimulus package, bridges and tunnels, and if any cause deserves it, this one does. (In other words, just do it and worry about it later.)

Hunt thinks this will help recruitment, and O'Reilly says that's good because we're fighting the WoT alone here. He jabbed his finger at the camera and told King that he wants to know if anyone is blocking it, because he and Hunt are coming to their house.

Great, we need an update to the GI bill; the treatment of returning vets has been spotty and in too many cases disgraceful. Glad to see bipartisanship in Congress; this is an American issue, not any one party's. But do we really need Bill O'Reilly posturing and basking in the reflected glow?

Towards the end of the program, ironically right after he labeled Paris Hilton a pinhead for getting free publicity, he crowed that he won - big! - in a Harris Interactive Poll of most popular "news person." However, he also showed that he came in second in the least popular category as well. O'Reilly additionally showed a brief clip of John McCain on The Today Show this morning where he mentioned O'Reilly's name (as a big name in the media who defended him, which BOR hastily denied.) He repeatedly refers to himself as "your humble correspondent" but only in between self-aggrandizing citations of ratings and importance.

So that's the scoop - Congress is working on an update to the GI Bill of Rights and O'Reilly is going to check its progress monthly, probably praying for someone to oppose it so he can have another Moses moment.