Jeff Cohen is a real cut-and-run liberal. Really, O'Reilly, realize that on your show, to your face, time after time, Cohen has cut your mess to pieces and then ran circles around your arrogant ass. All you did was get cross-eyed, tongue-tied and knocked-brain while Cohen gave you a good old-fashioned thrashing. No wonder it is that you haven't invited the lad back on the Factor, Billy boy. You might not be ticking too well but at least you have got enough sense to stop taking a licking.
No surprise, it is then, that Cohen has received no response from you regarding his muckraking expose of the down and dirty in Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media. Fair and balanced, Fox News and you co*k-a-doodle-do from the henhouse. But Cohen says it's a fixed fight, the shouting matches which pass for civilized debate on the cabal news channels. Such spectacles have always seemed more like barroom brawls started by some dumbass saying something stupid like:
"I submit to you that George W. Bush is the closest modern president to what the Founding Fathers have in mind.""I'm telling you that President Bush is doing just what Jesus would have done [in invading Iraq]."
If you don't remember, Bill, it was you who off-gassed those two stinkers. What Cohen writes in his book is that even the folks who work with you at Fox News know the whole thing about fair and balance is a heavy load of malarkey. Cohen quips that a better slogan for Fox News than "We Report. You Decide" would be "We Opine. You Recline."
Furthermore, Billy boy, for all intents and purposes, in his book Cohen basically accuses you of being a cowardly bully who picks on the weak and runs from the strong. "[O'Reilly] had an intimidating presence at Fox, like the schoolyard bully; I always thought he'd just received too few hugs along the way. . . .O'Reilly is a roaring contradiction: abundantly bright [I object, your honor, to that characterization- RM] but meagerly informed. A strong debater and interrogator, but consistently underprepared. A voice of the little guy who treats those around him as inferiors." My favorite line about you is that "When O'Reilly bears a grudge, the gloves are off - as are the facts."
Add what Cohen wrote me, Bill: "O'Reilly is always roaring about this or that advocate or celeb not having the guts to appear on his show. He now apparently doesn't have the guts to invite me."
Those are fighting words, Billy boy. Yet, you give the lad no response. Are you going to dance the same old dodge and duck, shuffle and jive steps as with Media Matters and your other critics? Gloat like a gadfly and sting like a flea? Have you gone soft, great culture warrior?
These are very serious charges that Cohen makes in his book. The longer you wait to respond, and the more you ignore him, the more it looks like you and the media moguls have something to hide. People might start to wonder if Cohen is right that corporate media serves Mammon and not the greater good. In other words, they might catch on that making a buck is more important than the truth to corporate media.
You also have to consider Cohen's reputation among liberals, Bill. Cohen is a legend. Way back when, Cohen founded FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the well-known progressive media watchdog. Since the 1970s, Cohen has been involved with the progressive movement as an articulate critic of the establishment press. Cohen has proven admirably and repeatedly that he is not intimidated in speaking the truth to power. He has been co-host of CNN's Crossfire and a regular panelist on News Watch on Fox News. Cohen was a senior producer on Donahue before the show was yanked on the eve of the invasion of Iraq.
Why don't you invite Jeff Cohen back on The O'Reilly Factor, Bill? Americans want strong liberal voices like Cohen. They have started getting this notion that our present troubles have been caused in large part because of a lack of proper debate on the airwaves. People have started to realize that when it comes to freedom of speech, they had better use it or they are going to lose it. And right now, people are saying that channels like Fox News, and the O'Reilly Factor in particular, only present a progovernment, one-sided view and that is how the public got suckered into going along with Iraq.
So, finally, Bill, don't be surprised to start receiving emails at Oreilly@foxnews.com from motivated liberals who want liberals like Cohen on cable and mainstream news so that our airwaves can truly be fair and balanced. Can't wait to hear from you, good buddy, about when I can tune in to watch Cohen on The O'Reilly Factor.
Richard can be heard frequently live on the Bob Kincaid Radio Show (7-10 pm EST) on Head-on Radio
Tags: Bill O'Reilly, Jeff Cohen, Cable News Confidential, O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly, Fox News, FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Conservative media bias, Media bias, Cable news, Phil Donahue