Is anyone else on American television as rude as Bill O’Reilly? I don’t watch TV, so I can’t be sure, but I can’t imagine why anybody watches this rude and pompous guy.
In was in a restaurant last night that was turned to Fox News and O’Reilly’s show was on. Both televisions in the place were on the same channel and it was loud, so I didn’t have much choice but to hear it. I heard O’Reilly start interviewing Dave Silverman, the president of American Atheists. The group is suing to stop some activity or other that it considers an illegal government involvement in a religious holiday. Actually, it wasn’t as much an interview as it was a patronizing attack.
The guest tried to be polite and civil from the beginning, but O’Reilly wasn’t interested. He quickly cut off any polite talk and went on the offensive. He asked the man why his group was suing and the man replied that the atheists believe the case is about government involvement in religion.
O’Reilly asked what religion is involved. The atheist looked a bit puzzled before answering that it’s Christianity. O’Reilly cut him off quickly.
“[Christianity] is not a religion,” he said. “That’s a philosophy.”
I couldn’t tell whether O’Reilly was stupid enough to believe what he was saying or if he knew he was being disingenuous. I have to assume he was being intentionally dishonest, because I can’t believe anyone is that stupid. O’Reilly was rude and intellectually dishonest for the rest of the interview parts that I saw. At one point, he referred to the atheist as “You and your merry band of fascists.”
I eventually had to put my earbuds in and turn Laura Veirs on as loud as I could stand the music.
I’m not an atheist and I also don’t think it’s a big deal if Christmas is a federal holiday. I think Silverman and his group are wrong-headed in a lot of what they’re pursuing. But O’Reilly is a rude, arrogant and dishonest man who comes across more like a cartoon figure.
But there are a lot of rude and dishonest people. What I’d like to know is why so many otherwise-decent people watch him and are willing to overlook his gross rudeness.
This isn’t anything new for O’Reilly. He’s constantly rude on the air to guests. He’s combative and ugly when he appears in other places. And he’s a nightmare to work for, according to those who’ve been willing to talk. Who can forget this classic video of him freaking out in anger on the set of Inside Edition because he didn’t understand what a phrase on his TelePrompTer meant? (Be warned that the language is very coarse.)
Do you watch O’Reilly? Millions of people obviously do. Otherwise, he would have the ratings he has and he wouldn’t be paid the millions of dollars he’s paid. I just can’t figure out why decent and otherwise-intelligent people are willing to justify the rudeness and intellectual dishonesty that he routinely puts on the air.
Regardless what you think of the politics he espouses, his behavior should embarrass you, especially if you’re a conservative.