Bill O’Reilly is not happy with all the media attention over the missing Malaysian airplane. I'm sure it has nothing to do with how CNN has been beating him in the ratings with the story. But, while whining that the coverage has “corrupt(ed) the news business,” O’Reilly played at taking the journalistic high road - by fear mongering that the media is ignoring a looming World War III.
For the record, I agree with O’Reilly that the missing airplane story is being way over-covered and with sometimes irresponsible speculation. I’ll even grant that his frightening scenario about the aftermath of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine is plausible. In a Talking Points memo called “America in Danger,” O’Reilly said, “we can expect the following unintended consequences:”
A, North Korea, most likely get more aggressive towards South Korea . Last weekend they fired missiles in a provocative way. B, the Syrian butcher Assad will most likely regain control of that country and another blood bath will ensue. C, China will most likely seize a small island chain currently governed by Japan. And worst of all, Iran will most likely ramp up its nuclear weapons activity, knowing that Putin will no longer embrace sanctions once the West starts to sanction him.
President Obama has announced that the G7 will meet next week in Holland to discuss punishing Russia. If the G7 does impose harsh sanctions, Putin will then align himself with Iran, knocking out the nuke weapons negotiations.
So while many Americans are obsessed with a missing jet liner in South Asia they are totally missing the danger that confronts this country. Back in 1979, Iranians took 52 American hostages and held them for about a year and a half. That destroyed President Carter’s credibility. It ruined him.
Later, with Charles Krauthammer (who said, “Today Ukraine, tomorrow Eastern Europe), O’Reilly said, “Iran’s the worst” of all the nightmares he laid out. “This could lead to World War,” he predicted. Putin “sees weakness across the western world. He doesn’t see anybody capable of standing up to him and he’s gonna ride roughshod and you mark my words, Charles. …(W)e better wise up fast.”
In the second part of his interview with Krauthammer, O’Reilly complained the missing plane story is “corrupting the news business.” He added, “There comes a point where it becomes a burlesque show, it becomes a farce. And we’ve reached that point on this coverage.”
Well, OK. Let’s just assume O’Reilly’s right about all this. And that painting a Doomsday scenario has nothing to do with how the ratings-obsessed host has been getting trounced by CNN lately. It’s hard to feel a lot of sympathy for the guy who has done as much to turn news into a burlesque show as anyone else. Let’s not forget O'Reilly is the guy who attacked and smeared a 9/11 victim's son who opposed the Iraq war, sneering theatrically, “I don’t think your father would be approving of this… I hope your mother is not watching this.” Then O’Reilly cut the young man’s mike and misrepresented what he said. I’m including that famous clip from the “Outfoxed” documentary below.
By the way, O’Reilly no longer supports the Iraq war.
But you could at least argue that debating the Iraq war is real news. It’s hard to say the same about O'Reilly's nine-year War on Christmas schtick. Or the way he turned “concern” about African American children into a prolonged war on Beyoncé for being too x-rated.
So I’ll wholeheartedly agree O’Reilly has a legitimate point about the missing Malaysian plane story. The problem is, that complaint just doesn’t pass the “legitimate concern for journalism” smell test. Even worse, it smacks of, “There’s nothing in it for O’Reilly to exploit.” The way he did with Ward Churchill, a professor at the University of Colorado who was fired, after O’Reilly repeatedly demonized him on the air. Or his tragically farcical attacks on abortion provider Dr. George Tiller – murdered in the wake of the notoriety. Or the war on Easter.
So, Bill, if you really want to do your part for the news business, there’s plenty you could do right there on Fox News – before World War III breaks out.
And Ellen isn’t the only way to think that BOR’s complaints are more about his ratings loss than it is the “corrupting of the news business” – Erik at WaPo does too.
Btw, this morning I saw a short but dramatic promo for tonight’s “Kelly File” and “Hannity”. The graphic was dark, cloudy skies over a dark lanscape and the audio was static-filled, crackling pilot transmissions. The changing headlines say, “off course”, “off-line”, “Malaysian Air mystery” and “theories becoming reality?”.
So the FOX “news” talking heads are complaining that CNN is covering the Malaysian Air mystery too much. However, it looks like like those who decide the actual program content at FOX “news” (the producers? the show host?) have decided to take a page from CNN’s playbook and ramp up their own coverage of the mystery – even going so far as to pimp their own shows’ reporting on the matter with an ominous promo. LOL!
Excuse me?! BOR is complaining about the lack of actual news coverage by OTHER news networks? The guy who specifically designs segments just so that he and his guests can call people pinheads? The guy who claims to defend “tradtional values” by airing photos/videos of scantily clad women and who supposedly fights the “culture war” by airing clips of soft porn for the folks to ogle? The guy who sends his toadie, Watters, around the country to do interviews which are then edited to fit BOR’s preordained outcome and biases? The guy who repeatedly denigrates African-Americans and Homosexuals so that he can present them as being the ruination of the American way of life? Add to this the other examples Ellen named and it’s more than clear that BOR does NOT have the high ground on this issue – he’s right down in the farce news swamp with the rest of them. Hope you’ve got some chest waders on, BOR, because your bullsh!t is deep.
When it comes to dishing out critiques directed at other news networks for “corrupting the news business”, BOR needs to 1) clean up his own “burlesque” act first and then 2) have the balls to point out the “farce” on his own so-called “news” network. Then, and only then, he may actually have a shred of cred on the matter (instead of looking like nothing more than an uber-hypocrite and big, fat buffoon).
O’Reilly doesn’t know how to hold ratings without resorting to the Barnyard. He’s been proving that for as long as I’ve followed him, on both TV and when he still did radio.
And regarding Flight 370: It’s become more proof that people like a good mystery than a news story. We’ve known about as much as we’re going to for a while, and all the popular theories have gone as far as they’re going to without hard evidence… But people just want to talk about it. They want to hear about it.
Though I do think WWIII is a bit hysterical to jump to just yet. Russia’s struggling too much economically for this to become a major conflict, and there’s debate on how good a position Iran is to join in. That narrative seems to be Fox-based wishful thinking.