"I'm sad that I'm not on television anymore" -- Bill O'Reilly
Re: Talking Points Memo:
I have to believe that even his fans always felt that there was something a bit strange about Bill O'Reilly. It is based solely on the high likelihood of each of them knowing they worship a man who can't tell his "loofah" from his "falafel."
But if, indeed they'd sensed O'Reilly to be a cranky, strangely-confused odd fellow whose hubris would eventually send him down in flames, they probably assumed he'd flame out Howard Beale style -- straight-jacketed and ranting -- rather than go out the way his pal Roger Ailes would have if life was a bit more fair; leg irons and a long overcoat over a pair of boxer shorts.
And that goes double for the ones who've consistently doubled down on the claim that there's absolutely no angle to the spin O'Reilly put forth each weeknight for the past 20 years from a TV soap box he'd have us all believe was a "No-Spin Zone." I speak of the ones totally at home with the thought that the sanctimonious windbaggery he delivered on his show was pure, non-partisan, middle-of-the-road "political analysis," and not just his own interpretation of cultural conservatism's philosophical litmus test.
The fact is "The Factor" -- like a preposterously puffed up resume -- was always far less fact than fiction. At least the "no-spin" part of it anyway. Each weeknight Bill O'Reilly would warn us: "CAUTION. YOU'RE ABOUT TO ENTER THE NO-SPIN ZONE! Yet, we never seemed to get there. Rarely has a segment tease gone the way of the recent Fyre Festival fiasco by promising so much yet delivering so little. It was like being handed a manuscript said to be "good and original" only to find that the good stuff isn't original and the original stuff isn't good.
Perhaps that's because the possibility of a "no-spin zone" in an outfit with journalistic cred as yellow as that of the Fox News Channel is nothing but raw spin from its top spin-doctor -- Bill O'Reilly. As it turned out, the contrition-free exit statement he released just after being fired for sexual harassment only added to the incredulousness of O'Reilly's clumsily-honed straight-shooter character narrative.