Bill O’Reilly and Bernie Goldberg ridiculed film critic Ann Hornaday’s Washington Post column tying Hollywood movies to Elliot Rodger’s horrific shooting rampage in Santa Barbara. I’d have no beef with that were it not for O’Reilly’s repeated complaints about the evil influences of Beyoncé’s music and videos lately. Which history he rewrote during this segment.
Over the weekend, Hornaday wrote:
Indeed, as important as it is to understand Rodger’s actions within the context of the mental illness he clearly suffered, it’s just as clear that his delusions were inflated, if not created, by the entertainment industry he grew up in. With his florid rhetoric of self-pity, aggression and awkwardly forced “evil laugh,” Rodger resembled a noxious cross between Christian Bale’s slick sociopath in “American Psycho,” the thwarted womanizer in James Toback’s “The Pick-Up Artist” and every Bond villain in the canon.
…How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like “Neighbors” and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of “sex and fun and pleasure”? How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, “It’s not fair”?
I’ll state at the outset that I find the column unpersuasive, ponderous and precious. And I agree with Goldberg’s complaint that Hornaday “has no clue” as to whether her hypothesis is true or not. “She doesn’t offer a shred of evidence, not a single quotation, that would indicate that those movies should be linked at all to those terrible murders,” Goldberg added. No quarrel from me there, either.
But I do have a quarrel with O’Reilly’s dishonest attempt to distinguish his own attacks on Beyoncé.
O’Reilly said Goldberg made “a very, very good point” when he asked why, with the millions of young men who watch the movies Hornaday cited, “we don’t have hundreds of cases where they go out and kill people?”
“Because it’s a myth, that’s why,” O’Reilly replied. He and Goldberg agreed that mental illness is the real key. And then O’Reilly brought up Beyoncé:
I made a campaign, a mini-campaign about Beyoncé’s videos affecting young girls, unsupervised children, in a negative way, in my opinion. But I didn’t do what Hornaday did. I didn’t say that Beyoncé caused anybody to do anything. I just said that I believe this has a deleterious effect on these children and they perhaps may act out.
This is a cause and effect. I mean, this is serious when a Washington Post film writer says that Judd Apatow and Seth Rogan, just by appearing in the film, they’re somewhat responsible for this guy. I don’t blame these guys for being teed off. I’d be furious. Because I’ve been attacked the same way.
If you understand the difference between having “a deleterious effect” that children “perhaps may act out” and “a cause and effect,” please explain it to me. Meanwhile, I know for sure that O’Reilly did say that Beyoncé causes people to behave badly. Or he darned well suggested it:
- Discussing President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, O’Reilly complained, “But it doesn’t address cultural deficits that we see. Not only in black precincts but in poor white precincts and Hispanic precincts. With children unsupervised, are doing things that are harmful to them. Beyoncé’s part of that problem, I believe.”
- O’Reilly asked Russell Simmons, “She puts out a new album with a video that glorifies having sex in the back of a limousine. Teenage girls look up to Beyoncé, particularly girls of color. She’s an idol to them. I’m saying, why on earth would this woman do that? Why would she do it when she knows the devastation that unwanted pregnancies… and fractured families – why would Beyoncé do that?”
- Later, in the same interview, O’Reilly said,“I believe that an entertainer like Beyoncé and a mogul like you have an obligation to protect children, not put out exploitive garbage that you know harms impressionable children.”
- O’Reilly explained his gripe about Beyoncé to David Letterman: “Right now, in the African American community, 72% of babies are born out of wedlock. Back when Motown was hot, in the 60s, it was like 10 or 12 percent. So what we’re seeing then is a deleterious effect on American society.”
The Daily Show got the message. In a hilarious segment mocking O'Reilly, Jessica Williams got pregnant while watching a Beyoncé video.
Goldberg, who was never a part of any of the Beyoncé discussions, as far as I know, accepted O’Reilly’s distinction between his arguments and Hornaday’s.
But Goldberg went on to attack Hornaday for disingenuously “just asking”:
She is saying, “I never said that (Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow) were responsible. …Oh, I didn’t blame them, I’m just raising questions,” is what she says. …You cannot escape the conclusion that these films that portray women in certain roles and men who don’t get the girl as feeling that the world is against them and life is unfair. And guess what? One of them went out and killed a whole bunch of people. You can’t help but concluding that she is linking – and absolutely linking it, not blaming – the film on the murders.
In the first place, that’s pretty much what O’Reilly had just copped to about Beyoncé. But more importantly, as media critic Godberg ought to know, “just asking” questions that all but hand you a conclusion is Fox News’ stock in trade.
Jon Stewart did a whole segment about that, too.
Yes, I’m certain the clown that wrote that was George “Maddox” Ouzounian under a pen name. Almost as certain as that Fox News would be singing it’s praises if Republicans weren’t clamoring so hard for the women’s vote.