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What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

O'Reilly, Conservatives and Mental Health

I used to like Bill O'Reilly. I was a regular viewer of The O'Reilly Factor back in 2001 and 2002. By 2003 I was enjoying his show less and less, as O'Reilly had become a right-wing shill who spouted the same bullshit propaganda that Sean Hannity would spew an hour later on Hannity and Colmes. Eventually I stopped watching both programs. Who wants to be annoyed for two hours? Especially by Sean Hannity, who isn't even annoying in an entertaining way.

Saturday night I was flipping through the TV channels and saw that O'Reilly was a guest on Tim Russert's show. The other guest was New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. I started watching because Bill O'Reilly was acting crazy. I mean, literally, crazy. And it was bizarre to watch. Paul Krugman tried to remain calm, but O'Reilly would just start yelling every few minutes, babbling on about...well, I'm not sure, he wasn't making a lot of sense. There was the usual ranting about liberals and the New York Times. And occasionally Krugman would make a comment and O'Reilly would react with "that's just a slam" against Fox News or against O'Reilly himself. And what would O'Reilly do next? He'd slam Paul Krugman and the New York Times. Watching this, I wondered, is O'Reilly even aware of what he's saying? In between the yelling and ranting, O'Reilly seemed convinced that people were out to get him (in writing). O'Reilly likes to talk about Al Franken, but O'Reilly calls Franken "Stuart Smalley," the character Franken played on Saturday Night Live. Why? Who knows. Bill's what, in his 50s? How about growing up, Billy? You know, acting like an adult? But no, O'Reilly would rather ball up his fists and throw a temper-tantrum.

Bill's not just out of touch with reality on television. He's out of it on his radio program. For instance, on June 28, O'Reilly stated that Michael Moore thought America was "evil." Here's the transcript, from Media Matters (O'Reilly hates them as well):

O'REILLY: So this is the United States, who has freed the world from communism, freed the world from fascism, from the Axis powers, freed the Pacific from the Japanese -- OK? All of this, but [according to Moore] we bring sadness and misery to places all around the globe. This is Michael Moore. He believes this. He believes that we are an evil country.

A caller asks O'Reilly about his comment that Moore had said America was evil:

CALLER: I'm going to see the movie (Fahrenheit 9/11) Tuesday night with a friend, and you said earlier in -- in your program that Michael Moore was quoted as saying America's bad and America is evil, and I just wanted to know where (overlapping conversations; inaudible) --
O'REILLY: I didn't say "evil." He says -- he calls America a terrorist state, all right?
[...]
CALLER: But you -- you said more than twice on your show -- and you said, quote -- that he said America was bad and America was evil.
O'REILLY: Correct. I didn't say --
CALLER: And I'm just concerned about -
O'REILLY: -- I don't think I use[d] the word, "evil."

Now, O'Reilly has fallen back on the tired old position of "they've taken me out of context." Well, you can listen to the clip and hear with your own ears O'Reilly saying Moore said America was evil. You'll find the link at Media Matters.

O'Reilly's not the only conservative (I think he calls himself a "traditionalist," whatever that is) who has gone crazy. Columnist Michelle Malkin has a new book out defending the internment of 110,000 Japanese in America during World War II, and Ann Coulter, well, she's always been nuts.

What is it about right-wingers that causes mental illness? Could it be all the drinking they do? Some people say conservatives are just plain evil and are puppets to their master, Lucifer. I dunno. More on this in my next column.





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