While most of America, and the world, is focused on painfully real wars and their tragic consequences, Bill O’Reilly is engaging a different enemy, a far more dangerous enemy, in his mind, because it originates in his mind. When O’Reilly said on his radio show that he…
“couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks…“
…he was properly criticized by the public and pundits alike. But O’Reilly has never been known as someone who takes criticism well, and this affair is no exception. Ever since the story broke, he has been obsessively pounding on the media for accurately reporting his racist comments. For four straight days (so far) he has led off his program with this controversy. That’s four days of demonstrating that, so far as he is concerned, there is no story with a higher priority than Bill’s story and his bold defense of himself. That defense consists primarily of offense, and being offensive is an O’Reilly specialty. For reference, wade through this selection of sewage from the past few days: 9/25; 9/26; 9/27; 9/28.
[See also The Collected Verses for more O'Reilly insanity]
When someone criticizes O’Reilly, they are not merely at odds with him, they have “gone over to the dark side,” and they are, “dishonest and dangerous.” The reasons for their criticisms are always suspect and usually have something to do with their own self interest. O’Reilly often cites his ratings as the reason he is attacked by jealous competitors. He believes that his numbers validate his views. But being #1 isn’t everything. Like the #1 restaurant in America, McDonald’s, it only means that he serves up the cheapest crap that is loaded with filler and seasoning designed to appeal to the largest number of consumers with the least sophisticated taste. Still, you have to wonder about his rabid intensity when he already claims that, “FOX News has literally destroyed CNN,” and that, “Both CNN and NBC will never recover from their shameful conduct.” Why is he fighting so fiercely against a vanquished foe?
It isn’t just a pack critics that are riling O’Reilly. It is the whole of the media. He is displaying the classic symptoms of a paranoid fanatic who is convinced that he is the target of a fearsome cabal that is “out to destroy” him. And he isn’t shy about using his bully pulpit to broadcast his dementia and attack his perceived enemies, whom he casts as villains that only he has the courage to face and fight. He is his own Superhero, as he told his audience last Friday, saying that “…there is no enterprise on earth that does more damage to the far left than The Factor”.
In the past four days (and counting), O’Reilly has demonstrated an all-consuming preoccupation with his own tribulations at the hands of fiends. He has accused a broad swath of the media of being dishonest, corrupt, and out to get him. Those explicitly called out include: the New York Daily News, the CBS Early Show, the Chicago Sun Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, ABCnews.com, the Louisville Journal, the Syracuse Post-Standard, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Houston Chronicle, the Calgary Herald, the Guardian of London, and, of course, NBC, MSNBC, Media Matters and MoveOn.org.
In a particularly bizarre episode, O’Reilly played an audio tape of a conversation with Paul Farhi of the Washington Post wherein Farhi says, “please don’t repeat this, because I’m supposed to be neutral…” This is an unsettling spectacle of a reporter confessing his bias to a loudmouthed, TV blathering head, and asking that his remarks be kept in confidence. Of course, O’Reilly then plays them on the air without notice or permission, revealing the unscrupulous idiocy of them both. This is typical behavior from the man who warns America to be skeptical of the media because, “No longer can it be trusted.” So long as he’s talking about himself, I can’t say that I disagree. But he’s talking about everyone except himself, despite his prominent place in the media he so ferociously castigates.
As demented and pathetic as O’Reilly’s cartoonish behavior has portrayed him to be, there are still lines that he had not crossed. Sure, he had invited Al Qaeda to bomb San Francisco; and yes, he sexually harassed an employee; and he dispatched a producer to trespass on a the property of a circuit court judge; and admitted that he doesn’t care about lethal bombings in Iraq; and he compared DailyKos to the KKK and nazis; and he accused Democrats of wanting to lose in Iraq; and he lied about receiving a Peabody Award; but there are still lines…..
Well maybe he has crossed all the lines. But now, in a frenzied tantrum that makes Hitler look like he was merely engaging in a bit of garden-variety hyperbole, O’Reilly aims to show that he means business:
“[T]here is a huge problem in this country and I’m going to attack that problem. I’m going to attack it. These people aren’t getting away with this. I’m going to go right where they live. Every corrupt media person in this country is on notice, right now. I’m coming after you…I’m going to hunt you down [...] if I could strangle these people and not go to hell and get executed…I would.”
These are the rantings of a sociopath whose grasp of reality is paling precipitously. He mused in the September 25 broadcast that his persecutors would soon proclaim him to be “a member of the Manson family.” So as not to disappoint him, I’ll do so now. But I won’t settle for a lowly, suggestible family waif. The truth is that O’Reilly’s hostile ravings sound more like that of the messianic cult leader himself – who also thought the media was out to get him:
- Manson: “The news media has already executed me and buried me.”
- O’Reilly: “[T]hey are going to do anything and everything to destroy me, or try to. And it’s a war. It is a war.”
It is a little surprising that, in the aftermath of these threats, his targets haven’t bothered to stand up for themselves. Media organizations and individuals in broadcast, cable, and newspapers, are all being hammered by this seriously disturbed shill-miester and they don’t seem to have the slightest desire to defend their reputation or professional honor. How can they when they are so busy trying to emulate him. It’s almost as if they are watching themselves and want to protect their shell of denial. Maybe they are keeping a respectable distance because they don’t want contribute to the inevitable meltdown already in progress. Or maybe they just don’t want to get splattered with the blood of the bursting veins and arteries as his over-inflated head loses its structural integrity.
O’Reilly is advancing onto Armageddon and steeling for the battle with his secular-progressive foes. When the ultimate clash commences, he will view himself as a valiant Culture Warrior lashing out at the many-headed beast that imperils children and Christmas and virtue and the traditional values that are so fragile that they can be turned to dust by the wispy breath of Pagans.
But while he envisions himself wrestling with these demons, we will be gathered around his twitching form, fanning and curling on the pavement, wondering if somebody else has already called the paramedics. And all that will be left for us is to watch with a sickly curiosity because he is beyond us now. He has reached that destination about which he cautioned us a thousand times while pointing menacingly. He has finally and irreversibly entered a Zone that is thoroughly devoid of Spin – or, for that matter, reason or sanity. Who’s looking out for you now, Bill?