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Bill O’Reilly: The power has shifted to Fox News and conservative talk radio

Reported by Julie - September 20, 2009 -

It's nice of Bill O'Reilly to admit that the goofy BS coming from the right is being driven by Fox News. But it's not nice to try to ram a panel consisting of conservative author, Tammy “Michelle Obama is trash in the White House” Bruce (what’s with all the weird faces she makes, by the way?), and far, far, far right-wing radio talk show host Mike Gallagher – the same guy who proposed a “Muslim only” line at airports -- down our throats as “fair and balanced." Hmm, let’s see -- two fringe conservatives on The O’Reilly Factor (9/17/09) to objectively evaluate conservatives. With video.

O’Reilly trumpeted, “The demise of ACORN as well as Van Jones last week demonstrates the power of the conservative/independent media which . . . drove public outrage. Now some liberal politicians are getting very worried -- once again, Nancy Pelosi.”

Roll the tape of Pelosi, urging people to "curb their enthusiasm," and becoming emotional when talking about the rhetoric in the late 70’s in San Francisco which ginned up violence.

"Well," O'Reilly said grimly, "It's not likely to happen as there is blood in the water."

Moving on to the “fair and balanced” panel, O’Reilly said, “Now both of you guys are not, not fans of President Obama, but something has happened in the last three weeks that is really extraordinary because the debate over healthcare, over who should serve in government, i.e., Van Jones, over political corruption, ACORN, has been driven solely by Fox News and by conservative talk radio. The mainstream media had no part in it, at all. So the power now has shifted to us and to talk radio.” Thanks for the clarification that these tea party protests and lunatic town hall protests and racist signs proudly displayed, all with the amped-up Fox News assistance, is a “debate,” Bill – the words that sprang immediately to my mind were more along the lines of “desperate Obama witchhunt.”

Addressing Gallagher, O’Reilly expressed worry that there may be “overkill” on the way, because a taste of power leads to high ratings, which is “almost like a drug.”

“But it’s more than ratings, Bill,” Gallagher said earnestly. “. . . For us it’s idealogy, it’s a mission, it’s a calling . . . .” It’s a cult, it’s the lunatic fringe, it’s petty, it’s racist, it’s . . . sorry.

Saying that the last week has been “extraordinary,” Gallagher talked about when Rush Limbaugh burst on the national scene, and how Rush used to say that “despite his prominence . . . we still had eight years of Bill Clinton . . . this time something has happened. You have over a million people on the lawn in the mall in Washington D.C. Saturday, you have the Van Jones, you have ACORN brought to its knees . . . .” To his credit, O’Reilly did correct Gallagher about the “million people” in DC, noting that the fire department estimated 75,000, but added the disclaimer, “I wasn’t there, I don’t know.”

Gallagher ginned up his own rhetoric, saying, “. . . There is blood in the water but we better be careful in our industry, and I think most of us responsible radio hosts will be . . . it has to be legitimate . . . .”

Addressing his comment to Bruce, O’Reilly said that “if you get a taste of power, then you have to top yourself. Now this ACORN story is a long time, the Beck program and the Factor, we’ve been investigating this, six months, eight months . . . trailed it down in New Orleans . . . then it just popped because of these two videographers who went out and got all the undercover video.” Notice he didn’t say two far-right conservative videographers, eh?

O’Reilly, never one to be concerned with inflammatory rhetoric while decrying inflammatory rhetoric, said, “But now there’s pressure on the right-wing to kind of put Obama away, you see what I’m talking about here?” (Emphasis mine).

Bruce began her diatribe, saying, “Bill, I have to tell you . . . we have to wake up in the morning . . . with a goal of what’s best for America. I do my show, I don’t start the show saying, I’m going to get X or I’m going to go after so-and-so . . . like today, Barack Obama announces he’s scrapping the missile defense shield that would protect Poland and the Czech Republic from the Soviet Union on the anniversary of the Soviet Union invading Poland in 1939 . . . every day, this is an issue Bill about governing . . . it’s not about getting anybody. I didn’t get the memo about going to get somebody . . . if you care about the country . . . it’s not being driven by talk radio or even Fox, it’s being driven by the American people.” Is that why Senator Joe Wilson, who yelled, “You lie” at President Obama, is now, because of his outburst, facing a tough re-election campaign – because the “American people” support the right-wing’s tactics?

O’Reilly commented, “For sure there are a lot of American people who do not like Barack Obama and are not going to like him no matter what he does . . . .”

“Now the majority,” interjected Bruce. Now, Bruce, the Fox News poll doesn’t count. According to a real poll, Pew Research, President Obama’s approval rating is still 55%, with 63% of all Americans believing he has brought a new approach to politics in Washington -- or would, if the right-wing obstructionist kooks would give him room to make the changes we elected him to make.

O’Reilly lamented, “. . . That presents another problem though . . . it’s almost like Bush in reverse, President Bush did some good things but you would never know it by the New York Times and NBC News . . . now we’ve got that shoe on the other foot . . . .”

Gallagher pronounced, “The stakes are so much higher, when we talk about nationalization of our health care we’re talking about deficits in the trillions of dollars [yeah, you know, forget Bush’s trillions on the war] . . . the American people aren’t gonna take this. When Nancy Pelosi in the sound bite you played a moment ago complains about the rhetoric that my side is using, just down the street from where I’m sitting right now here in Dallas . . . Cindy Sheehan and her band of crazies are still outside George Bush’s house calling him a war criminal and saying despicable things about him . . . we’re playing tough but we better be fair and we better make sure that the issues are legitimate . . . every day something absurd comes from this White House.” Absurdities from the White House, huh? How ‘bout those birthers, led by extremist Orly Taitz, who just got their case thrown out of court and were threatened with sanctions if she files another "frivolous" suit? How about the Palinsanity death panels claim? How about Michelle Bachmann’s one world currency theory and President Obama re-education camps theory and other assorted completely loony-tunes claims? How about Fox News' own Glenn Beck, calling half-white President Obama a “racist” and consequently losing 62 advertisers?

O’Reilly asked Bruce, “Anything President Obama could do or has done that you like?”

Bruce replied, “Oh sure, oh look, if this man, if we captured Osama bin Laden [is that the same guy that Bush failed to capture in seven years?] . . . if Barack Obama captured those guys or killed them I would be looking at this man slightly differently, but ultimately, it comes down to his inability to govern and the fact that he seems to have . . . some malevolence toward this country which is unabated.” (Emphasis mine).

Not to be outdone by Bruce in the smear arena, Gallagher tossed in, “I think he reads the teleprompter better than you do, Bill.”

What can we make of this segment? Decrying concern about the rhetoric coming from the right, this panel used the word “overkill,” the phrase “blood in the water,” twice, talked about “pressure on the right-wing to kind of put Obama away,” mentioned that “it’s not about getting anybody, referred to a left-wing group as a “band of crazies,” and, finally, Bruce concluded that “he [President Obama] seems to have . . . some malevolence toward this country which is unabated” – the same “he’s not like you and me” coded rhetoric that losing-candidate Palin made during the campaign.

Ginning up the anti-Obama rhetoric is what the right does best. Denying they’re doing it is what they do second best. What they don’t seem to be doing with much success is winning elections (and let’s keep it that way). But I also admit that O’Reilly and Fox News has a toxic influence on the far-right fringe lunatics. And what I have noticed is that O’Reilly’s targets often suffer terrible fates. Following his months-long attack on Dr. George Tiller, Tiller was murdered. Following his months-long attacks on ACORN, ACORN is now in the throes of death. What, then, can we make of the fact that O’Reilly allows his guests to rile up the right-wingnuts by relentlessly attacking our President?