We mere mortals are so blessed to have Bill O'Reilly share his deep thoughts with us in his daily colliloquy otherwise known as "The Tip of the Day." Last night, while pimping his new book, America's great sage told his viewers that even if you disagree with somebody, you shouldn't cut off all communication with them. While that sounds so noble, it does, once again, expose Bill's hypocrisy and inability to practice what he preaches in his pearls of wisdom.
Despite a past "Tip" about being kind to people, Bill engages in personal attacks on those with whom he disagrees. He was recently called out on this by former Clinton Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, Robert Reich whom O'Reilly has referred to as a Communist. Reich wrote an editorial, in the NY Times, which referred to Bill's "Communist name-calling as an example of the kind of ad hominem incivility that now passes for political debate in America -- of which O'Reilly is a part." As Newshounds Ellen reported, this upset O'Reilly who, despite his "Tip" to "ignore guttersnipes," took great umbrage with the editorial and used The Factor to further slime Reich who subsequently challenged O'Reilly to a debate.
On last night's Factor, Bill took us back in time to an O'Reilly appearance on The View during which Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walked off the set after Bill said "Muslims killed us on 9-11." In characteristic narcissistic fashion, O'Reilly asserted that he "kept the door open on The View because I got my say and got my point across." He said that, yesterday, when he was on "The View," the tone was "different." He plugged his book, Killing Jesus, with the comment that the women on The View had read the book and "apparently liked it." He played some video of the conversation about his *"history" book. Naturally, he played the part of the video in which he explains how he was divinely inspired.
He segued into his "Tip" - "Even when you disagree with someone, don't cut off communications unless the person is destructive. Detente can usually be reached with rational people. Once again, I appreciate the View promoting my book and having me on, it was good segment, we got a lot done."
OK, so grow some balls, O'Reilly and debate Robert Reich. Take your own advice and don't "cut off communication." If you're as smart as you claim to be, it shouldn't be problem.
*I ran across Killing Jesus, at the discount table at BJ's Wholesale Club. I perused it but didn't buy it. It seems to be a dramatic rendering of what is in the gospels which aren't historical given that there are, apart from some comments by the Jewish historian Josephus, no contemporary references to Jesus. The gospels were part of various faith traditions which were made part of the official "cannon" three hundred years after the fact. Last week, on his show, O'Reilly claimed that Pontius Pilate's "discourse" with Jesus was "well documented." That's wrong. There is only one document, Josephus' "Testimonium Flavianam," which is a contemporary description of the crucifixion of Christ. Scholars question whether the Jesus sections were later interpolated. There is only a short mention of Pilate whose "discourse" is not quoted.
The book's first chapter begins with the "slaughter of the innocents" which, according to scholars like the bible scholar and former priest, Dominic Crossan, has no basis in fact. O'Reilly also wrote that Jesus said he was the son of God. According to Reza Aslan's far superior and far better researched "The Zealot," Jesus used the terms Son of Man and Son of God to designate himself as an earthly, mortal messiah and that's what really got him killed. The idea that Jesus was biologically connected to God was developed by St. Paul and formalized as the Trinity doctrine much later.
O'Reilly's claim about Jesus being upset about "taxes" levied at the Temple is also incorrect as the money taken in was for purchase of animals to be sacrificed and other fees which the Roman supporting high priests enriched themselves with. In discussing his book on Fox & Friends, O'Reilly said that the Jewish High Priest, Caiphas, was concerned that Jesus would fulfill the scriptures of the resurrected Messiah and thus carefully guarded Jesus' tomb. Judaism had no such scriptures.
While there is some interesting background material based on some research, the book is unsourced, except for a reference in the afterword, to a couple of authors. It's light reading. As Notre Dame divinity professor, Candida Moss says, "Killing Jesus has all the critical rigor of your local church’s Nativity play." If you want history, there are better and more detailed sources. But hey, I skimmed Killing Jesus so you don't have to!
We encourage all the masses to write letters to blogs and newspapers telling the world that Billy is scared to debate Reich.
Use these examples:
“Why is Bill O’Reilly Afraid to Debate Robert Reich?”
“Bill O’Reilly Would Lose in a Debate Against Robert Reich”
“Bill O’Reilly Hiding Underneath His Desk To Avoid Debating Robert Reich”
Tell every person you meet that Billy is too frighten to debate Reich. Tell your friends, colleagues, co-workers, teachers, strangers, babysitter, telemarketers, etc. Also post on Twitter and Facebook.
NOTE TO BILLY
You are a coward. No wonder Maureen dumped you.
“OK, so grow some balls, O’Reilly and debate Robert Reich.”
I agree with you 100% Priscilla — but alas, let’s face reality: an O’Reilly vs. Reich debate will NEVER, EVER HAPPEN, because O’Lielly KNOWS DAMN WELL Robert Reich will ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY KICK HIS A*S the same way Sen. Al Franken did ten years ago on C-SPAN — that’s the main reason why O’Lielly ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HATES SEN. FRANKEN’S GUTS!
It should be noted that “contemporary” is a very flexible term when writing about Josephus and any of his commentaries on Jesus. As most Biblical historians set the date of the Crucifixion sometime between 25CE and 35CE (this presumes the account that Jesus was crucified at or around the age of 33; the dates of Jesus’s birth range from an early date of 7BCE to a late date of 2CE), and Josephus was born in 37CE, it would have been VERY difficult for Josephus to write a truly contemporary account. In fact, the only work in which Josephus makes a mention of Jesus is in “Antiquities of the Jews,” which dates from about 93 or 94CE—roughly 60 years AFTER Jesus’s ministry and crucifixion.
What is more likely is that Josephus was relying on a number of stories that were being passed around by the early communities of Christians (the Passion narrative was in fairly wide circulation by the middle of the 1st century CE and many of Paul’s letters were being sent around the same time) and he included some of what he’d heard in much the same way that Longfellow wrote “Paul Revere’s Ride” (the ride took place in 1775, the poem was written in 1860; while Paul Revere DID ride to warn of the impending British attack, much of the rest of the poem is historically inaccurate but most people know the poem’s account far better than the reality).
Also, Josephus isn’t really a good, unbiased reporter. Much of “Antiquities” is aimed at a Greek (and even Roman) audience, trying to put Jewish history in a frame that credits Abraham with teaching science to the Egyptians and describing most of the great Bible heroes (like David and Solomon, even Moses) as examples of Plato’s idealized “philosopher-king.” It would be like having Thomas Sowell writing a book where all the great African-American anti-slavery and later civil rights leaders should be held up as paragons of modern GOP conservative ideology. It would go over well with FoxNoise and the right-wing noise machine but would raise holy hell with most real historians over the absurdity of the premise.