The O’Reilly Procedure

Roger Ebert on Bill O’Reilly’s bully tactics:

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.

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.

New York Anti-Letterman Rally Draws Dozens

From The Village Voice:

We dropped by that Fire David Letterman protest across the street from the Ed Sullivan Theater. The Daily News says there were about 50 people there, but we put it closer to 100 if you include the rubberneckers. Indeed, there were about four or five times as many protesters as reporters and cameramen, who competed for pearls of wisdom or lunacy from the crowd. “I have a conservative blog!” one nice young man in a button-down shirt offered. “Women are being debased, Christians are being degraded! Anything’s funny now!”

I wish I had time to protest against the evil that is late night talk shows. ๐Ÿ™

N.C. State Student Accused of Creating a ‘Monster’

This guy is my new hero:

Raleigh, N.C. รขโ‚ฌโ€ Raleigh police arrested a North Carolina State University student last week who was accused of creating a “monster” out of construction barrels and placing it on the side of the road.

Authorities charged Joseph Carnevale with larceny for taking materials from a construction site at a roundabout project to create the monster.

(Thanks Critic)