If it were a boxing match, it would have been stopped. Bill O’Reilly kept trying to clinch, interrupting nearly every sentence Fox News contributor, Ellis Henican threw that wasn’t going the way Bill wanted - which was pretty much every one of them. Bill O’Reilly was bloodied to the point he had to be bleeped - "torture, my ass." The only thing that saved Bill was the commercial bell.
"Stop, just answer my questions," Bill said as he stopped Henican from answering one of his questions.
They were discussing torture, though Bill refused to call it that, which Ellis called him on. Bill had done what every right wing talk show has done this week when discussing the recently released Bush torture memos - minimize the torture as mere fraternity horseplay, saying that it is only Henican’s "opinion" that waterboarding is torture. I’m sure the Japanese wish Bill was in charge of their trial when they were convicted for torturing our guys with the "opinion."
Bill called the effort to investigate those who ordered torture, a "show trial." Henican called it "the pursuit of truth," and asked Bill "why are you afraid of the facts?" No he did-ent. Yes he did. They should have stopped the fight right there.
Discussing waterboarding, Bill said "(National Intel Director Dennis) Blair said we had to do it." Henican said that's not what Blair said. Blair said that we don't know if it could have been done a different way and the torture was wrong. But why let actuality get in the way of a no-spin point.
Henican said that we should let the courts decide. Bill said that "(Attorney General Eric) Holder isn’t qualified to handle it" and alluding to 9-11"if anyone should be prosecuted, it should be (Holder.)"
Bill claimed that the torture/waterboarding worked because "we’re still alive." O’Reilly tends to build his arguments on the, "see, it works. There’s no elephants in the room" sales method.
Of course Bill ended with his template for anything that Obama does that Bill disagrees with saying that if Obama allows a trial of the those who ordered the torture and we get hit again, "it’s the end of Obama’s presidency."
Still, you have to give O’Reilly credit. He regularly books Henican, as well as Temple University’s Professor Marc Hill, both of whom pummel Bill with flurries of facts and clear-thinking logic. And it’s not like Henican or Professor Hill do it once or twice. Booking these guys and getting TKO’d nearly every time, one might conclude that O’Reilly has become punch drunk from his ratings.
Whatever the case, Henican and O’Reilly...that, Mr. Cavett, is entertainment!
If you'd like, you can link onto the video at the bottom of my website here
Award-winning TV writer Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful...Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Steppingstones to Success" (www.greatfailure.com) and blogs at the appropriately named steveyoungonpolitics.com