Bill O'Reilly never served in the military which, at the time he graduated from college, was still embroiled in an unnecessary war in Vietnam, so perhaps that might have been a factor. (Pun intended) But that doesn't stop him from carrying the eternal grudge, held by a few right wing veterans, against Jane Fonda whose visit to North Vietnam was considered a betrayal of this country. On Friday night's Factor, Bill advanced the newest right wing "outrage" over Jane Fonda's invitation to speak at the UCLA commencement. Bill, who claimed without a scintilla of evidence, that Fonda was a "traitor," doesn't think that Fonda deserves the honor and that people should protest. But at the same time, Bill dismissed the notion that Condoleeza Rice's Rutgers commencement invite was equally problematic.
Bill began with a Fox/O'Reilly trademark comment about how college commencements speakers are "overwhelmingly liberal" with some being "downright radical," such as Jane Fonda who has been invited to speak at UCLA's graduation. His visual was a photo of a graduation with the words "graduation speaker controversy." He proclaimed, as fact, that Jane Fonda "committed treason," a statement that is O'Reilly's opinion and not fact. If she had been charged with treason, it's highly unlikely that a visit to Vietnam, inflammatory as it may have been, would have constituted "aid and comfort to the enemy."
His guest, Fox News contributor Lauren Ashburn didn't agree but asserted that Fonda has the right to speak at the graduation. Bill engaged in his trademark patronizing: "Here's where you're terribly misguided." After saying that it's an "honor" to be invited to speak at a graduation, Bill noted that UCLA is funded by taxpayers, many of whom are vets. When Ashburn said that the vets and their families should protest, Bill agreed. In putting himself in the place of the chancellor, he said that he wouldn't allow Fonda to speak because "the woman is so dubious, her past is so controversial that even though she is an accomplished actress, I'm not going to offend the people who fund this university, the taxpayers."
When Ashburn started to compare Fonda's invitation with that of Condoleeza Rice, Bill, patronizingly, asked "you're not going to make that equivalency, are you...are you really gonna do that?" Ashburn asked if the kind of treatment which Rice received by Rutgers should be repeated at UCLA. When she said "we are a nation of tolerance" and that she was surprised at Bill's position given that he is a journalist, he talked over her with "I don't want to take anything away from anybody, I just think it was inappropriate to invite Ms. Fonda and to draw equivalency to the actions of Condoleeza Rice, it's not even in the same ballpark, we're talking about treason, here." When Ashubrn invoked free speech, O'Reilly said it wasn't a free speech issue, but an "appropriateness issue" and "this is inappropriate to the taxpayers, many of whom had people who got hurt in Vietnam or died." He said he admired Fonda's film work but "she shouldn't be giving any kind of commencement address."
Bill is correct in that this isn't a free speech issue because colleges have the right to invite whom they want as speakers and students have the First Amendment right to protest. But Bill is being inconsistent with his divinely inspired logic as Ms. Rice, for those taxpayers who opposed a war based on lies and oil, is equally controversial. Bill seems to ignore the reality that Rutgers is a taxpayer funded university and that there are many taxpayers have "people who got hurt in Iraq or died." Oh, right, Rice is a revered figure for the GOP right. OK, I get it. Not all protests are created equal?
So should Jane Fonda. She is definitely not a traitor, and because I was only in ‘Nam for a few days and was getting discharged in ’66, her actions, though misguided, didn’t bother me that much.
But BOR, representing the hypocritical double-standards of FNC, is an asshole, as usual!
And remember this, when O’Loofah graduated from Marist, he taught Catholic school in Miami for a couple of years. And what a surprise, teachers were exempt from the draft (probably the main reason there was a near explosion in males entering teaching in the late 60’s-early 70’s). Don’t think O’Loofah didn’t know that. Damm straight he was a draft-dodger, no different from Shrub.
Besides, who wants to march something that happened decades ago?
Second, Bill O’Reilly is a draft dodger. Just look his history and will agree that he was fit as a fiddle during those draft years and like so many of today’s self-proclaimed patriots he made sure he got the proper status to run away from serving his country.
20-20 hindsight will most often distort the reality of the moment; but there were 100,000’s of us that weren’t sure of the misguided direction of our country back then, but this woman, rather than being an instrument for change in this country at the time, chose to stand by the North Vietnamese, wearing the clothing of our enemy, and ridiculed those of us being slaughtered in the field every day. I just can’t justify that in any way.
She is hardly the person I would respect to have speaking to our youth today, on this momentous celebration of their achievement. Is this the best they could do? Was there no one else so qualified?
And what’s really funny about this whole faux-outrage is even most of the usual right-wing noise machine suspects are HIGHLIGHTING the specific School and they’re completely ignoring it, treating it as though Fonda’s there to speak to the graduates of the entire university. (I don’t know with any certainty but I would imagine each of the college’s various schools hold separate commencement ceremonies.)