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Bill O'Reilly--Newsman or News-menace?

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   After dining at a famous black-owned restaurant in Harlem, Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly made the following statements:

 ·        “I 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… There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, ‘I want more iced tea… [T]here wasn’t any kind of craziness at all.”-- The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, 9/19/07

      These statements inspired me to write a column to expose Bill O’Reilly as a racist buffoon; but after doing a little research I realized that Bill O’Reilly is not a racist buffoon. He is something much worse.

      Bill O’Reilly’s television show is the top-rated cable TV news show, with an audience of about two million viewers--twice that of his nearest cable competitor, Larry King on CNN. O’Reilly’s syndicated radio show is heard on more than 400 stations. He has written three best-sellers and even a book for children (you can’t start molding those minds too early). Add a syndicated newspaper column to all this, and you have a one-man propaganda machine--which is exactly what Bill O’Reilly is, and why he is so dangerous.

      Bill’s shtick is that he is just a regular working-class guy, dedicated to looking out for you and fighting for truth, justice, and the American Way.

 ·        “We’re the only show from a working-class point of view. I understand working-class Americans. I’m as lower-middle-class as they come.”--The Washington Post, 12/13/00 (All quotes are from Bill O’Reilly, unless noted otherwise.)

    Bill claims to have grown up in Levittown, NY, a working class suburb on Long Island. He recalls a life of used cars, a one-bathroom house, schoolmates ridiculing his clothes, and a father who never earned more than $35,000 a year.

    Bill’s mother says that Bill actually grew up in Westbury, Long Island--a “middle-class suburb a few miles from Levittown”. Both he and his sister went to private school. Bill went on to Marist College (a private college), then attended the University of London for a year before graduating with Master’s degrees from both Boston University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. When Bill’s father retired from his position as a currency accountant for an oil company in 1978, his $35,000 salary was the equivalent of $92,000 in today’s dollars-- putting him in the top 10% of earners in his day (The Washington Post, 12/13/00).

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      Within days of being appointed President, George W. Bush voiced his desire to attack Iraq--all he needed was a “good” reason. Then came the attacks on 9/11. Iraq had nothing to do with it, but three days later, Bill O’Reilly began his assault on reason:

 ·        “Saddam Hussein...I believe is involved with this World Trade Center and Pentagon bombing. I believe that you’re going to find out that money from Iraq flowed in and helped this happen.”--9/14/01

     While President Bush pretended to ponder an invasion of Iraq, O’Reilly assured his listeners:

 ·        “We hope you depend on [Fox News] for the truth, because we're going to report the situation in Iraq without an agenda or any ideological prejudice.”--1/17/03

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 But, he warned….

 ·        “Once the war against Saddam begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if they can’t do that, to shut up.”--2/26/03

      Now--four and a half years later; as the idea of victory in Iraq becomes a fading fantasy; as more American troops die, as suicide bombings and sectarian atrocities turn daily life in Iran into a living nightmare--Now… O’Reilly and Fox News don’t see the Iraq war to be particularly newsworthy.

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Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a Christian, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been aroused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.

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