It was only a couple weeks ago when Bill O’Reilly was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Bill was promoting his new book. He and Stewart sparred but there was no meaningful exchanges. It was only a week earlier when Jon Stewart was on the O’Reilly Factor. Stewart mentioned that O’Reilly had become “the reasonable one.” This was true. Over the last two or three years, Glenn Beck is become the wild and crazy face of right-wing politics. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have become reasonable. O’Reilly doesn’t want reasonable. Reasonable does not sell books. So, O’Reilly goes on The View.
Now this was vintage Bill O’Reilly. Edgy, combative, condescending, demeaning were all traits that Bill O’Reilly exhibited over his career and brought to the forefront for this interview. He did not want to Jon Stewart detente type of interview. He wanted more. He wanted something that America could talk about. He wanted something that would fire up those right wing extremists to run out and buy his book. That’s exactly what he got.
In some ways, I agree with Barbara Walters. We should be able to discuss issues without leaving the room. In other ways, this is a throwback to Leave It to Beaver type mentality. We should be able to discuss issues. We should not let conversations deteriorate into shouting matches. These women, on The View, had to know that Bill O’Reilly wanted to start something. They had to know that their show was the perfect venue for him to “misspeak” then apologize. If they didn’t know it, why didn’t they?
Bill O’Reilly, never to let an opportunity go to waste, spent all of his talking points commentary on defending himself. He’s right and they (liberals) are wrong. He basically stated that he said what he said because he was right. The problem, as he sees it, is that America’s fighting Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He doesn’t see that were fighting Muslim extremists. He then expands his argument by noting many in the Muslim world hate the United States. He states the polls clearly show this. Therefore, he concludes that we’re actually fighting all Muslims since they support the extremists. The most interesting thing of O’Reilly’s diatribe is that he doesn’t note that most Muslims do not support extremists. This is key. This is the flaw in the O’Reilly logic. (There are actually many flaws but this is the most glaring.)
Bill O’Reilly ends his rant with one of the most unsubstantiated statements in his whole commentary. But this is an O’Reilly classic. This is one of those statements that most Americans would agree with on the surface. At first glance it sounds great. “If most moderate Muslims would ally themselves with the United States, the jihad would not exist.” What? What kind of blather is that? If most moderate Muslims would align themselves with the United States… Most moderate Muslims do not support violence. There’s a reason that Osama bin Laden is not sipping tea in Kabul, Islamabad or Istanbul. It is because he is not accepted there. There’s a reason that he’s hiding in the mountains in Western Pakistan. There’s a reason that he will not show his face in any major city. Moderate Muslims will not protect him. There’s a reason that we were able to find Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. We got information from moderate Muslims.
Finally, and most glaringly, Bill O’Reilly is distorting the facts, as usual. He puts forth the facts that support his point of view but won’t paint the whole picture. Sure, in multiple polls, Muslims are not in love with the United States. But these polls go further. The majority of Muslims want better relations with the West. They also show that majority of Muslims, the same 70% that Bill O’Reilly quotes, do not support violence against civilians. Let me say that again, the vast majority of Muslims polled in countries like Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia do not support violence against civilians. Bill O’Reilly remains a controversial figure that will not go away. For reasons that are unclear, thoughtful, intelligent conservative Americans continue to embrace this guy. He distorts the facts. He promotes himself relentlessly. He simply wants to sell more books which by the way, will also distort facts.