In a segment preposterously misnamed “Reality Check,” Bill O’Reilly has once again tread on territory that only highlights his hypocrisy and dishonesty.
For months O’Reilly has berated General Electric and its CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, for the poor performance of the stock. O’Reilly, with an undisguised disgust, asserts that Immelt is a “despicable human being” who should not be running any business due to his incompetence. But O’Reilly conveniently neglects to mention that News Corp, the parent of his employer, Fox News, has performed even worse in the stock market, presumably placing Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes lower on the scale of competence than Immelt. We already know they are more despicable.
Yesterday, O’Reilly attacked GE and Immelt again, citing a Barron’s article with the results of their survey of the 100 Most Respected Companies in the World. The article noted that GE had slipped from its top 10 position in each of the last four years (#1 in 2005), to #43 this year. O’Reilly summarizes saying…
“In short, Barron’s is saying Immelt is a disaster. But the fact that man has remained in his position for eight years says our financial system is rigged and Americans should be very wary about buying stocks in this environment.”
Actually, Barron’s isn’t saying anything. It is a survey of the opinions of money managers, most of whom have been severely burned by the recent market collapse. Even so, if Immelt is a disaster for placing his company at #43 out of 100 companies worldwide (not bad, really), what does that make Murdoch and Ailes for not making the list at all? It certainly makes O’Reilly a propagator of misinformation for failing to tell the whole story.
Perhaps worse than O’Reilly’s faulty reporting is his admonition that Americans “be very wary about buying stocks.” Not that that isn’t always safe advice, but O’Reilly is associating it with what he calls a “rigged” system. He is using fear to dissuade the folks from investing in an already troubled market. The problem here is not whether his financial analysis is sound, it is his hypocrisy. He often assails others for bad-mouthing America, which he asserts will do harm to the nation. But he doesn’t have any problem with his own rhetorical assault, which if heeded, could worsen or prolong our current economic crisis.
Why does Bill O’Reilly hate America? Maybe because most of the country has no respect for him whatsoever.
Update: Immelt has declined to take bonuses for 2008 due to the performance of the company. I wonder if Murdoch or Ailes will do the same.