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06-21-09, 02:11 PM #1
Rogert Ebert: "I am more concerned about the danger he (Bill O'Reilly) and others like him represent to a civil and peaceful society"
Bill O'Reilly has been brought low by the same process that afflicted Jerry Springer. Once respected journalists, they sold their souls for higher ratings, and follow their siren song. Springer is honest about it: "I'm going to Hell for what I do, and I know it," he's likes to say. O'Reilly insists he is dealing only with the truth. When his guests disagree with him, he shouts at them, calls them liars, talks over them, and behaves like a schoolyard bully.
I am not interested in discussing O'Reilly's politics here. That would open a hornet's nest. I am more concerned about the danger he and others like him represent to a civil and peaceful society. He sets a harmful example of acceptable public behavior. He has been an influence on the most worrying trend in the field of news: The polarization of opinion, the elevation of emotional temperature, the predictability of two of the leading cable news channels. A majority of cable news viewers now get their news slanted one way or the other by angry men. O'Reilly is not the worst offender. That would be Glenn Beck. Keith Olbermann is gaining ground. Rachel Maddow provides an admirable example for the boys of firm, passionate outrage, and is more effective for nogt shouting.
Much has been said recently about the possible influence of O'Reilly on the murder of Dr. George Tiller by Scott Roeder. Such a connection is impossible to prove. Yet studies of bullies and their victims suggest a general way such an influence might take place. Bullies like to force others to do their will, while they can stand back and protest their innocence: "I was nowhere near the gymnasium, Sister!" A recent study of school shootings found that two-thirds of all the shooters were victims of bullying, and perceived themselves as members of persecuted minorities.
What are TV shouters telling their viewers? They use such anger in expressing their opinions. Who are they trying to convince? They're preaching to the choir. Their viewers already agree with them. No minds are going to be changed. Why are they so mad? In a sense they're saying: You're right, but you're not right ENOUGH! I'm angrier about this than you are! Viewers may get the notion that there's unfinished business to be done, and it's up to them to do it.
How can one effect change? By sincere debate and friendly persuasion? O'Reilly sets the opposite example. He brings on guests who represent the "enemy," doesn't seriously engage their beliefs, and shouts: Be quiet! I'm right and you're wrong! I stand for good and you stand for evil! I'm not exaggerating. Sometimes those are the very words he uses.
O'Reilly shouts at Jeremy Glick
O'Reilly represents a worrisome attention shift in the minds of Americans. More and more of us are not interested in substance. The nation has cut back on reading. Most eighth graders can't read a newspaper. A sizable percentage of the population doesn't watch television news at all. They want entertainment, or "news" that is entertainment. Many of us grew up in the world where most people read a daily paper and watched network and local newscasts. "All news" radio stations and TV channels were undreamed-of. News was a destination, not a generic commodity. Journalists, the good ones anyway, had ethical standards.
In those days, if you quoted The New York Times, you were bringing an authority to the table. Now O'Reilly--O'Reilly!--advises viewers to cancel their subscriptions to a paper most of them may not have ever seen. In those days, if the wire services reported something, it probably happened. Today the wire services remain indispensable, but waste resources in producing celebrity info-nuggets that belong in trash magazines. Advertisers now seek readers they once thought of as shoplifters. If nuclear war breaks out, the average citizen of a Western democracy will be better informed about Brittny Spears than the causes of their death.
O'Reilly shouts at Phil Donahue
O'Reilly shouts at Geraldo Rivera
O'Reilly shouts at the TelePrompter
The first technique cited on the Indiana list above is Name Calling. In using this practice Bill O'Reilly reminds me of columns Sydney J. Harris of the the Chicago Daily News liked to write, containing lists of terms headed "You say" and "I say." Here are some of mine:
I say Liberal. You say Far Left.And on and on and on. If generally neutral terms were used (Conservative, Liberal, Democrat, Republican) every discussion wouldn't be determined by the terms used to open it. That would lose viewers. Good. It would be healthier for the body politic if they just watched mainstream television
I say Far Right. You say Conservative.
I say Biased. You say Fair and Balanced.
I say Democratic party. You say Lunatic Lefties.
I say Right-Wing Wingnuts. You say Republicans.
I say Creationism. You say Intelligent Design.
I say Environmentalists. You say Tree-Huggers.
06-21-09, 02:55 PM #2
Ebert sucks at judging politics and morals as much as he sucks at picking movies.
It makes no difference how O'Riley or anyone else delivers the message - what makes a difference is whether the message is true or not. Most of the time, I think he is on target.
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06-21-09, 07:30 PM #3Chief Wheaties PisserVerified LEO
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Ebert is even more stupid after the stroke. Why do people who get in front of a camera repeatedly think their political opinion actually carries water?
06-21-09, 07:35 PM #4
I didn't like any of the movies he gave a thumbs up to either......SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM-Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"
"It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
Far from being a handicap to command, compassion is the measure of it. For unless one values the lives of his soldiers and is tormented by their ordeals , he is unfit to command.
-General Omar Bradley, United States Army
06-24-09, 12:06 AM #5
"Civil and peaceful society?" I give Ebert 2 thumbs up - his POOPER!!!
What a fekkin' moron...
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