A Sedated Bill O'Reilly? I was going through some old unlabeled videotapes that people had used to record TV shows. On one of the tapes was a portion of the show Inside Edition from about a decade ago. Bill O'Reilly was the host and he appeared to be sedated compared to his present cranky old man persona. He was soft-spoken and reasonable; he was like an Irish Alan Colmes. Apparently, when O'Reilly moved to Fox, he knew his new audience of mouthbreathers wouldn't buy that act so he's doing his old man on a barstool act.
Prediction Miami University 30, University of Central Florida 10. If the 16th ranked Miami University RedHawks win and the 10th ranked University of Miami Hurricanes lose to Pittsburgh on Saturday, then it would be the first time since the 1970's that Miami of Ohio is ranked higher than Miami of Florida in the college football polls (click here to see the current rankings).
UPDATE: Actual score: Miami University 56, University of Central Florida 21
2ND UPDATE: Miami University is ranked 15th in the latest USA Today/ESPN poll. Miami of Florida beat Pittsburgh so Miami of Florida is still ranked higher than Miami of Ohio.
Hannity’s Racial Outrage Those of you familiar with my blog know that Dr. Laura and Bill O’Reilly creep me out. Sean Hannity doesn’t; he just irritates me. He’s similar to the character Bob Williams (see addendum) who is a twerpy know-it-all; the big difference is that Bob Williams is entertaining and Hannity isn’t.
Well, this week, when Michael Jackson played the race card by portraying his arrest as racist, Hannity was right to criticize the singer. However, it would have been nice if Hannity practiced what he preaches.
Addendum: Bob Williams is a character who has appeared in recent Chick tracts. He is a nauseating (but amusing) fundy shill whose pat answers have the power of making people go on their hands and knees in prayer in public places (such as the reformed Mason who sees the error of his ways and prostrates himself in a Seinfeldesque diner in the Chick tract "Good Ol’ Boys"; the sinner shouts “God, forgive me! I renounce the ‘Brotherhood’ and I turn my whole heart to You, Lord Jesus! I don’t want to go to hell!”). In "The Nervous Witch", Williams tells an ex-witch (with a straight face: “Samantha, the [Harry] Potter books open a doorway that will put untold millions of kids into hell.”). In "Gladys", Williams greets the unrepentant witch from The Nervous Witch with “Hi, Holly. We’re still praying for you.” In "Sin City", Williams casts out the demon of a homosexual minister, Reverend Ray. To access all of these tracts, go to Chick Publications’ tract list. Final thought on Bob Williams, I wonder when Chick created this character whether he knew about Robert Williams, a prominent underground cartoonist.
GLASS HOUSES: When we saw Shattered Glass this weekend, we were quite surprised by how strong the film is. Yes, there are a few massive flaws, flaws we plan to discuss next week. But we strongly suggest that you see this film—remembering, of course, that Bernie Goldberg is every bit as big a dissembler as Stephen Glass ever was. Why did Glass get canned while Goldberg gets puffed? Good question! Next week, we’ll discuss it. By the way: Ten months after Glass got fired, his former editor, Michael Kelly, wrote “Farmer Al” for the Washington Post. It was as big as any fraud Glass produced—and a thousand times more consequential. But Glass was expendable; Kelly wasn’t. More on these topics next week.
One more thing, Glass's journalistic dishonesty generally was about mundane things. He created stories out of whole cloth for the purpose of benefiting himself. On the other hand, Kelly wrote blatantly dishonest pieces such as the fraudulent "Farmer Al" story to harm others. Kelly will not be missed by anyone who cares about journalistic integrity.
Predictions I got chewed out by a fellow Miami U. alum because I only gave predictions for Ohio State games (I have degrees from both Miami U. and Ohio State). That was fair because the RedHawks are ranked 18th in the country. So here are today's predictions:
Miami University 34, Ohio University 9.
Ohio State 17, Michigan 13
UPDATE: Actual scores: Miami University 49, Ohio University 31.
Michigan 35, Ohio State 21
Giving the Devil His Due If you’re familiar with this site, you know that Bill O’Reilly is not one of my favorite people (scroll down). I think he’s full of it and, on a personal level, he really creeps me out. However, to his credit--unlike Fox News colleague Sean Hannity and others--he didn’t demagogue Ted Kennedy’s “neanderthal” comment; on today's Radio Factor, he simply told the truth; O’Reilly simply said the obvious: that Kennedy used the term to refer to judicial nominees’ philosophy and that it was not a racial slur directed at any particular person. Spinsanity has a good post on the matter.
Did You do Your Homework Assignment? Scroll down and read Tuesday's post, "Do I have my head on straight or what?" Call Bill O'Reilly and tell him he is wrong. Bill O'Reilly's phone number is (212) 301-3697. I realize that unless you're in the New York City area, it's a long distance call; however, if you're like me and you have a Sam's Club phone card, it's only about two cents a minute.
The Irony. Oh, the Irony! David Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine has an article by Valerie Plame outer Robert Novak titled "Democrats Ruin the Intelligence Committee." The subtitle: "Playing politics with our national security."
Do I have my head on straight or what? In case you missed it, over the past week or so, Bill O’Reilly has been attempting to portray the publication of books by members of the left (which he calls “defamation books”) as a coordinated dirty tricks operation similar to the Nixon plumber's unit. “So we’re talking about a really dangerous trend,” O’Reilly warned radio listeners today, “where the folks are going to be watching this brutal thing play out and a lot of people who are not well informed are going to be forming impressions based on rank propaganda, defamation, and slander and libel and nobody’s there to stop it.” I assumed that when O’Reilly referred to the smear books, he was referring to recent books by Joe Conason, David Corn, Michael Moore, Molly Ivins, and, of course, Al Franken. O’Reilly has been very vague about the specifics of this “unprecedented” dirty tricks operations such as some of the alleged slanders by these authors.
Last week, I called his radio show (scroll down to my 11/13 post) and tried to address how his current and former colleagues (namely Roger Ailes, Christopher Ruddy, and Joseph Farah) were involved in a real and unprecedented dirty tricks operation that involved transparently false allegations—such as the infamous “Clinton Body Count” and various paranoid conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Vince Foster. Unfortunately, with his mute button, O’Reilly sealed off discussion before it could begin (what a pussy).
Thank God! The Los Angeles transit strike is over! It's been hell for those of us without cars to get around LA. It's tough trying to get a job when you don't have transportation other than gypsy cabs. I'm all in favor of unions but I agree with Calvin Coolidge who said, ".. there is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime."
Instant Analysis: Rush Should Get a Refund I just listened to the first hour of the first day Rush Limbaugh got back from drug rehab. The treatment failed at least when it came to humanizing the talk radio jock: Limbaugh is his same nasty self. He even used some of the psychological mumbo jumbo he learned in treatment to slam Democrats: He said that Democrats hate themselves and that's why they hate Republicans.
That's too bad. At least Limbaugh is marginalized enough that people aren't taking him seriously. I realize a survey showed that loyalty among the ditto-monkeys is almost as high as ever. However, with people outside the choir, it's a whole different story.
Defending The Defenseless? Yesterday, I was listening to Bill O’Reilly’s radio show (the co-host of the day was Fox & Friends’ E.D. Hill) and he asked listeners why Hillary Clinton was so popular. So I called up and was put on hold by the screener (I told the screener I was “Toby from Glendale”). Here is our brief conversation plus O’Reilly’s tiresome diatribe before my call:
O’REILLY: ...I don’t know what the woman [Hillary Clinton] has done. And she talks a good game, you know, but she’s managed. She doesn’t come on The [O’Reilly] Factor or anybody else’s program. She’s managed. And I’m going to myself: Look, forty percent of America is willing to fall on their swords for her. They’ll buy her book [Living History]. The book doesn’t say anything. Come on, it doesn’t say anything, but here’s twenty-five dollars. I’ll vote for you for president. You’ll be the most powerful person in the world—based on WHAT? Toby, Glendale, California, tell me, Toby.
SCOOBIE: Hi. Hillary appeals to moderate Democrats like me because she’s effective at taking on the right. And you’re absolutely wrong that her book doesn’t say anything. For instance, in her book, she does a good job of tearing into your boss, Roger Ailes for his—
[O’Reilly potted down my audio and was able to talk over me (click here and scroll down to O'Reillyus Interruptus). The end of my sentence, which the radio listeners didn’t hear was “hateful conspiracy-mongering.”]
O’REILLY: It’s ridiculous!
SCOOBIE: No it’s not [very faint because my audio was potted down]
[O’Reilly disconnects Scoobie]
O’REILLY: [yelling] That’s what you got out of the book—that she tears into Roger Ailes for a conspiracy?
E.D. HILL: [chuckles]
O’REILLY: [Yelling] You’re a nut, Toby. [calmly] With all due respect.
E.D. HILL: [chuckles]
O’REILLY: [Yelling] You’re a nut. That’s why you like her: because she tears into someone who can’t defend themselves [sic]? Come on. 1-877-9-NO-SPIN. We’ll be right back.
REALITY: My statement and O’Reilly’s nonresponse raise some important issues. First things first, here is what Hillary wrote about the defenseless Roger Ailes in Living History: “...Roger Ailes, then President of CNBC and now running Fox, accused the Administration of ‘a cover-up with regard to Whitewater that includes...land fraud, illegal contributions, abuse of power...suicide cover-up—possible murder”(ellipses in original). This statement was not an anomaly. Far from it: it was part of a pattern of behavior by Ailes and other O’Reilly associates during the Clinton administration. As I’ve pointed out numerous times on my blog, Roger Ailes was an important component of what journalist Trudy Lieberman called, “The Vincent Foster Factory”—a dirty-tricks operation in which operatives acted like impartial journalists to spread the paranoid tale that the Clintons were responsible for the death of Vince Foster (Lieberman’s article for the Columbia Journalism Review focused on the activities of two Scaife-paid alleged humans, Joseph Farah and Christopher Ruddy, both of whom, like Ailes, have written paychecks to O’Reilly; O’Reilly’s column used to be carried by Farah’s WorldNetDaily and is currently carried by Ruddy’s Newsmax). Also, Ailes was executive producer of Rush Limbaugh’s short-lived television show in which the host fanned the flames of paranoia surrounding Foster’s death. Ailes also appeared on Don Imus’s radio show and touted Ruddy’s laughably incompetent “journalism” on the Foster issue: "The guy who's been doing an excellent job for the New York Post [Chris Ruddy]...for the first time on the Rush Limbaugh show said that...he did not believe it was suicide.... Now, I don't have any evidence.... These people are very good at hiding or destroying evidence." Let me get this straight: I am to be considered a nut for exposing Ailes’s loony conspiracy theories?
...[T]he DNC is also peddling some of the smear books that defame Americans in the worst possible way... Now the danger is that DNC Chief Terry McAuliffe is using and paying professional hit men to demean and denigrate political opponents. That's exactly what President Nixon did when he used the plumber's union to harass his opponents.
As far as I know, O’Reilly hasn’t named any of these alleged smear books, but I’m guessing that O’Reilly considered the following newly released books in the smear category:
1. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right by Al Franken.
2. The Oh Really? Factor by Peter Hart (I just read this book; it’s fantastic).
3. The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception by David Corn
4. Joe Conason’s Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth 5. Michale Moore's Dude, Where's My Country? 6. The Great Unraveling by Paul Krugman.
Could someone let me know what basis O’Reilly had for calling me a nut? Perhaps it was my words. Or perhaps it was that he could sense in my voice that he really creeps me out (click here; O’Reilly also kind of reminds me of the relative everyone has met at family reunions as a kid who said things like, “When I was your age, I used to walk in snow fifteen miles each way to school and my parents were too poor to buy me boots”). I also do have to confess that O’Reilly’s whole essence pisses me off--especially when he jerks people around with his “no-spin zone” bullshit. Hank Hill summed up my feelings when he said he didn’t have a problem with anger; he had a problem with idiots. In fact, I’ve made the case previously that mocking the hard right is a sign of mental health.
Finally, on the topic of people who can’t defend themselves, is it possible to make a nuttier claim than the one O'Reilly made about Ailes not being able to defend himself against Hillary Clinton’s allegation in Living History? Roger Ailes is the king of slime and defend. Fellow right-wing operative, the late Lee Atwater, said that Ailes had “two settings: attack and destroy.” Ailes is now the nation’s most powerful political operative who runs the nation's most-watched cable network. If Ailes had a legitimate beef with what Hillary wrote, he possesses a huge microphone to blast her. However, Ailes didn’t bother to address what Mrs. Clinton wrote. It reminds me of the situation that occurred with David Brock when he came clean about his involvement with the right-wing smear machine in Blinded by the Right; at first, operatives like David Horowitz tried to slime him, but when those efforts backfired, they ignored what Brock wrote and hoped that he went away.
If anyone wants to know O’Reilly’s attitude about people who truly can’t defend themselves, here’s part of the transcript of Al Franken’s recent speech before the National Conference of Media Reform:
Bill O’Reilly was on Terry Gross’s show Fresh Air and he walked off. He said he was treated unfairly. He was asked tough questions. [mocking O’Reilly in a whiny voice] Teacher! Teacher! Defund them!
He went on the air the next and said that PBS and NPR get a billion dollars from Congress.
He just makes things—is this on the radio?--makes stuff up.
He just pulls it directly from his bum.
Now the NPR ombudsman was so scared that he criticized Terry Gross for asking too tough questions. And I don’t’ know if he listened to the same interview I did or maybe he just doesn’t know O’Reilly because O’Reilly lied throughout the interview. And I’ll give you—and one that made me kind of angry. She asked him about this Harpers article where he had interviewed Jeremy Glick. Amy Goodman talked about the people in the World Center and Jeremy Glick had lost his father in the World Trade Center and signed a petition against the war in Iraq--and that really made O’Reilly mad. He said, “I want this kid in here. I want to talk to him.” So he had Jeremy Glick on, who’s a Ph. D. candidate at Rutgers and Jeremy was against the war and he said that Bush had ... funded the mujahedeen and those kind of things. O’Reilly got very anger and told him, “Shut up! Shut up!” Sound familiar? [Franken earlier in the speech mentioned how O’Reilly told him to shut up at the book fair in Los Angeles]
And he turned off the kid’s mike and that was end of the interview. This is on radio, right? He said according to Glick, who told Harpers and O’Reilly hasn’t denied this—he told Jeremy, “Get the f out of here or I’ll f-ing tear you apart!”
Now Terry Gross asked him about this and O’Reilly said, “Did you read the transcript of the interview?” [Gross] said, “I read the Harpers thing.” [O’Reilly responded] “Yeah, well that’s what the elite media does. They didn’t have the whole transcript. They took it out of context--that’s what they did. You see, this kid said some outrageous things. He said that...Bush the Elder and this president had orchestrated 9/11. Well as a journalist, it was my duty to ask if he had any proof and he didn’t. [huffily] And that’s defamation.”
Well I had written about this in my book and I read the transcript and Jeremy Glick never said anything of the sort...Jeremy is a Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers who makes his money by writing...He e-mailed me and said it’s hard to get a gig when people think you’re a conspiracy nut. Here’s a guy who’s a powerful guy who attacks a kid with no platform. The question is: What do we do about that? It’s why I wrote my book.
We have to take what they say and expose it and use it against them. My job is to do ju-jitsu. When they lie, use it against them. Hold them up to scorn and ridicule. Because what they want us to do is, “Shut up!” They want you to “Shut up!” But don’t shut up.
[Audience applauds loudly]
Don’t shut up! Stand up! Stand up and fight! Stand up and fight! Everyone here: stand up and fight! Thank you!
[Audience applauds loudly]
Note: for an audiotape copy of Franken’s entire speech, call Democracy Now at 1-800-881-2359 and order the audiotape of the 11/10 show.
I'm Back--With a Vengeance In case you were listening to Bill O'Reilly's Radio Factor, I was the caller "Toby from Glendale." I will have a transcript later (teaser: O'Reilly called me "a nut" for pointing out factual information). I was able to get two and a half sentences in before the grumpy old dude hit the mute button (what a pussy). The important thing is that I was able to get my point out to listeners.
I had difference plans for reentering the blogging world. I had planned a different--and more spectacular--stunt. With luck, that will occur in the near future.
So check out the site later. And if you enjoy the site and haven't contributed to the site, how about throwing me a few bucks (I haven't got a job offer yet but I have some good prospects--see previous post).
A Note to Fans of Scoobie Davis Online I’m going on hiatus out of necessity. My flunky job is ending and the real job I was expecting has not been offered to me. Plus, the last check I received was not as big as I thought it would be. So right now, I’m scrambling to get a gig.
That hurts because blogging is one of my joys in life. Obviously, a lot of you out there like my site because October was my biggest month for hits (I exceeded my previous record by over 17,000 hits). What I am asking is that if you have found this site to have been of use to you, then please do the following: Click here and contribute to my Amazon Honor System account. A small contribution will go a long way.
I’m retooling for 2004 and I have big plans to throw some monkey wrenches in the hard right’s smear machine on a level that goes way beyond my previous efforts—trust me, I have big plans. For those of you new to this sight, let me tell you a little about what I have done and who I am.
If you’re not familiar with this web site, here are just a few of the highlights:
Prior to 2002, I was a well-paid administrator who came to Los Angeles because I was writing, acting, and doing other creative projects. I have always been interested in politics, but during the 1990’s, I found that hate radio and Scaife’s “journalists” were engaged in a massive effort to smear Bill Clinton that extended to his family (at the risk of sounding like an ad hominem argument, I suspect that at least part of the reason for Rush Limbaugh’s drug addiction was his inability to live with himself—I know if I were in his shoes, I couldn’t). During the 2000 race, I was appalled at the way in which the right’s smear machine was trying to portray Al Gore as a pathological liar—with the help of members of the supposed liberal mainstream media. Seeing the beneficiary of media bias, George W. Bush, carrying Bernard Goldberg’s absurd book Bias (read comments about it in Al Franken’s Lies and Alterman’s What Liberal Media?) added insult to injury.
I was sick and tired of how the hard right has been riding roughshod over decency during the past decade and how the right-wing smear machine had not been meaningfully addressed by the media (e.g., Ann Coulter’s intellectually dishonest Slander received favorable reviews in The New York Times, Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times). It was right after the publication of Bias that I told my boss I didn’t want to work there anymore and I turned to blogging. I see myself in the role of doing the job that Howard Kurtz is paid to do (but is not doing). It’s been a rough two years financially, but I think I’ve made a difference. Doing flunky part-time jobs and taking public transportation in LA (which I can’t do now because of the transit strike) is not glamorous but not too many other people out there are doing what I’m doing. I live in the McArthur Park area of LA (and if I don’t come up with next month’s rent, I’m going to be living in McArthur Park). Nevertheless, I’m glad I made these choices in my life.
Does This Memo Outrage You? I'm back and I'll have an important post tomorrow. I listened to the last part of Sean Hannity's radio show today. Hannity's panties were in a bunch because he received what was allegedly written by a Democratic member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:
We have carefully reviewed our options under the rules and believe we have identified the best approach. Our plan is as follows:
1) Pull the majority along as far as we can on issues that may lead to major new disclosures regarding improper or questionable conduct by administration officials. We are having some success in that regard.
For example, in addition to the President's State of the Union speech, the chairman [Sen. Pat Roberts] has agreed to look at the activities of the office of the Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, as well as Secretary Bolton's office at the State Department.
The fact that the chairman supports our investigations into these offices and cosigns our requests for information is helpful and potentially crucial. We don't know what we will find but our prospects for getting the access we seek is far greater when we have the backing of the majority. [We can verbally mention some of the intriguing leads we are pursuing.]
2) Assiduously prepare Democratic 'additional views' to attach to any interim or final reports the committee may release. Committee rules provide this opportunity and we intend to take full advantage of it.
In that regard we may have already compiled all the public statements on Iraq made by senior administration officials. We will identify the most exaggerated claims. We will contrast them with the intelligence estimates that have since been declassified. Our additional views will also, among other things, castigate the majority for seeking to limit the scope of the inquiry.
The Democrats will then be in a strong position to reopen the question of establishing an Independent Commission [i.e., the Corzine Amendment.]
3) Prepare to launch an independent investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation of the administration's use of intelligence at any time. But we can only do so once.
The best time to do so will probably be next year, either:
A) After we have already released our additional views on an interim report, thereby providing as many as three opportunities to make our case to the public. Additional views on the interim report (1). The announcement of our independent investigation (2). And (3) additional views on the final investigation. Or:
B) Once we identify solid leads the majority does not want to pursue, we would attract more coverage and have greater credibility in that context than one in which we simply launch an independent investigation based on principled but vague notions regarding the use of intelligence.
In the meantime, even without a specifically authorized independent investigation, we continue to act independently when we encounter footdragging on the part of the majority. For example, the FBI Niger investigation was done solely at the request of the vice chairman. We have independently submitted written requests to the DOD and we are preparing further independent requests for information.
SUMMARY: Intelligence issues are clearly secondary to the public's concern regarding the insurgency in Iraq. Yet we have an important role to play in revealing the misleading, if not flagrantly dishonest, methods and motives of senior administration officials who made the case for unilateral preemptive war.
The approach outlined above seems to offer the best prospect for exposing the administration's dubious motives.
Hannity was waving the bloody shirt on his show, mentioning that troops were in harm's way. One important thing to keep in mind: this is the same Hannity who regarded the act by senior administration officials of outing an undercover CIA analyst as a "nonstory." So let me get this straight: the act of exposing an individual responsible for preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is no big deal, but pushing for an independent investigation of this and other administration misdeeds is the worst form of treason. What a hack.
Note: I got the transcript of the alleged memo from the wing nut web site Newsmax
Every Democrat Should Read This Review In The New York Review of Books, Paul Krugman reviews Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose's Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America and Joe Conason's Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth. While all of it is must reading, here is the paragraph of Krugman's review that grabbed me:
Incidentally, some squeamish liberals have condemned Conason for these tales, saying that we should limit ourselves to policy, not go after personality and past history. But I'm completely with Conason on this. After all, today's right wing flourishes in part by using the personal to distract voters from policy. Is a conservative politician a reliable friend of the privileged and well-connected? Never mind, let's talk about his sterling family life. Is a liberal politician spectacularly successful in his conduct of economic policy? But he had an affair! Even if you think that public debate ought to be about policy, not persons, it's necessary to defeat this strategy—and if exposing the dissonance between personal pretensions and reality is what it takes, go for it.