On tonight’s edition of the O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly resumed his repulsive assault on homeless veterans. This would be a despicable act under almost any circumstances, but O’Reilly engages in his slander in an attempt to defend his own tattered ego.
The trigger for his onslaught was the delivery of a petition signed by 17,000 people who believe that O’Reilly should apologize for his misstatements and disrespect for homeless veterans. The signatures were gathered by producer Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films. In the plaza in front of the News Corp. headquarters, the group was met by O’Reilly’s producer, Stuttering Jesse Watters. They were not allowed into the building to deliver the petitions.
On his program tonight, O’Reilly led off by mocking Greenwald for a film he made 30 years ago. Admittedly Xanadu was not a box office bonanza at the time of its release, but it has since become something of a cult classic and it didn’t lose money either, earning $22 million and ranking #28 amongst all films released in 1980. That put it between Raging Bull and American Gigolo. Its soundtrack, however, was a bona fide hit reaching #4 on the album charts and spawning 5 top 20 singles. A stage adaptation is presently in its 7th hit month on Broadway where it broke opening day records for the Helen Hayes Theater. Consequently, O’Reilly’s snide sarcasm about Greenwald not being able to find a job is really just another example of his own mean-spirited and dishonest boorishness. And that’s aside from the fact that it is entirely irrelevant to the sad and serious matter at hand.
O’Reilly goes off on another tangent to criticize Steve Capus, President of NBC News, because his office couldn’t (or wouldn’t) respond to a query as to why NBC sent a crew to cover the event. O’Reilly then advised Capus to “pay attention to his job.” However, the job of the president of a news network is not to trace the steps of hundreds of news personnel in the field. Maybe O’Reilly should ask Roger Ailes if he knows where all of his crews are at any given moment. Then O’Reilly asserts that the reason that Capus is “going after” Fox News is because “we’re kicking their butt around the block.” That is, of course, an unmitigated lie. NBC News is currently the #1 news network with the #1 nightly news program and the #1 morning news broadcast. O’Reilly may have meant to limit his hyperbole to cable news networks, but he specifically referenced only NBC, which he has maligned in the past as a failure even though the opposite is true. He never mentioned MSNBC, which is trailing Fox News in the ratings, but is growing much faster. But again, how does this help homeless veterans?
Eventually O’Reilly got around to expressing his true feelings by seeking to ridicule the participating vets because they did not watch his program and didn’t hear his offensive remarks themselves. It must not have occurred to him that homeless vets may not have televisions or cable TV subscriptions. To the contrary, he believes that they all have color TVs and DVD players and air conditioners and cars and more. He said as much on his program last month in a diatribe riddled with falsehoods and faulty analysis. So because these troubled vets were told about O’Reilly’s insensitive and false comments, rather than seeing it for themselves on their nonexistent sofas in their nonexistent homes, O’Reilly now claims to feel sorry for them. Not because they are living on the streets of a country that seems to have forgotten them, but because he thinks that they are being exploited by the people who are, in fact, trying to help them.
O’Reilly has stated several times now that he would provide help for any homeless vet if only he knew where one was. He has since had numerous responses, including one from Keith Olbermann that included a precise location in New Orleans where more than 200 suffering souls could be found. I wouldn’t put much faith in O’Reilly’s empty promises, though. I hope they’re not waiting for him to show up with blankets and sandwiches and vouchers for shelter. I would rather rely on the incompetence of FEMA than the sanctimony of Bill O’Reilly.