One of the most over-hyped (and idiotic) stories of 2014 was the spleen-venting offense that was taken over remarks by Jonathan Gruber, an M.I.T. economics professor who consulted on the drafting of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Gruber had told a conference that it may have been “the stupidity of the American voter” that contributed to the tortured way the health insurance reform bill was written. That’s actually an accurate point, but not a particularly savvy way to express it.
The result was a tsunami of miffed conservatives busting blood vessels at the thought that anyone would insult the universally recognized genius of the American public. At Fox News, of course, the issue took over the network’s programming with a force that made Benghazi look like a cat-rescued-from-a-tree story. An analysis by PolitiFact found that mentions of the Gruber affair in the following week occurred 779 times on Fox News. That’s once every fifteen minutes, 24 hours a day, for eight straight days.
Well, last night on the O’Reilly Factor, Uncle Bill delivered his Talking Points Memo to open the show. His topic was the 2016 presidential race, for which he appeared not to have much respect for the process or the voters. At one point he lamented that “The media will play a huge role and unfortunately the press has been corrupted in America by money, the Internet, and ideology.” Then he almost immediately contradicted himself, playing down the influence of the media:
O’Reilly: Informed voters will not be swayed by media coverage, but millions of Americans are simply uninformed.”
What? How dare he insult the intelligence of the people whose intelligence he was previously so upset about somebody else having insulted. How is it any different to say that millions of Americans are uninformed when it comes to the patriotic act of voting, which millions of Americans do, than it is to say that some of the American people are stupid with regard to the process of drafting legislation, which almost none of them do?
Later in the program O’Reilly brought in Monica Crowley to speak for conservatives and phony liberal Kirsten Powers to pretend to take the other side. Crowley and O’Reilly made the case that the media is predominantly liberal because “the brightest conservatives go into business and the brightest liberals go into entertainment and the media.” Setting aside that ludicrous notion, O’Reilly next turned to Powers who wavered on agreeing with that and then demonstrated why she is a flagrantly anti-liberal representative of the liberal position on Fox News:
Powers: I think there are a lot of different things that play into it and now also what’s happening is that it’s reinforced by these left-wing groups like Media Matters that harrass these media outlets every time they cover anything that isn’t positive.
That could not have been said better by Ann Coulter. Powers has long been disparaging Democrats (including President Obama) and progressive enterprises, although she has yet to provide any substantive support for her complaints against Media Matters, a watchdog group that doesn’t do much more than document the biases and dishonesty of the conservative media. And true to form, Powers had nothing to say about O’Reilly’s insult to the intelligence of the American people. I guess she agrees with that too.
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