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I watched Bill O’Reilly’s show last night. You can’t explain that! (well, you can, but…)

Like most sensible people, I try to avoid Bill O’Reilly whenever possible. Last night, though, I watched a bit of his show so that I could see his interview with Richard Dawkins. And, you know, I knew it would be painful. I knew O’Reilly would be a loud sneering bully. I knew he’d spin the hell out of it (right there in that “No-Spin Zone” of his). I knew he’d turn it into an “ATHEISTS R COMIN FOR YR CHILDREN, GOOD PATRIOTS OF AMERICA!” kind of thing. And indeed he did. But it was much, much worse than I had expected. Oh my god, it was painful.

A few notes:

1) O’Reilly took full advantage of the pre-taped interview format, adding in this “SEE, AMERICAN PATRIOTS? SEE? ATHEISTS R EVIL!! LOOK AT THEM! AND THEY’RE A’COMIN FOR YR CHILDREN!” image overlay. Seriously!:

Oh, Bill. What subtle rhetorical flourish you have!

2) So, you know how O’Reilly loves to claim that his show is a “No-Spin Zone”? Yeah… Because this headline from his site isn’t “spun” at all. Nope. No spin here. None whatsoever: “O’Reilly Crushes Atheist Richard Dawkins“. “Crushes“? No, Bill. No. You didn’t “crush” anyone. You came off as a mean sad little wannabe tyrant.

More on that “No-Spin” thing. Take a look at this, from his site. Oh the irony, it burns. It burns!:

Richard Dawkins has a new book that explains science to children, and warns them against religious “myths” about how the world works. He entered the No Spin Zone to explain why he wanted to deliver his atheist message to kids.

Well, except for the book isn’t an atheist book at all (it’s a beautiful book about science), and it’s certainly not delivering an “atheist message to kids”. But O’Reilly isn’t fond of facts or science, of course. He was determined to spin this into an “ATHEISTS R COMIN FOR YR CHILDREN, GOOD PATRIOTS OF AMERICA!” thing, and that’s exactly what he did.

Seriously, this “spin” thing of his just slays me. Is “rhetorical hypocrisy” a thing? If it is, he’s the All-Time World Champion of it. His entire show is one big exercise in “spin”, all carried out within a “No-Spin Zone”.

“Spin” “spin” “spin”. Take it away, Inigo Montoya!:

3) Appropriate LOLs are appropriate:

4) It dawned on me last night that O’Reilly is a 21st century Roderick Spode (a P.G. Wodehouse character). Take it away, Bertie!:

“The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting ‘Heil, Spode!’ and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: ‘Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?”

5) “Y U NO” Guy, I cede the floor to you:

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53 Comments
  1. wunelle #

    I admire your fortitude. I purged him years ago as a laughingstock, an anti-journalist. Worse than simply partisan, he’s blundering and incivil, a bully. I admire Dawkins for (like The Hitch) wanting to take the battle to the front lines of angry ignorance, but my only interest in seeing the altercation is a gladiatorial one, and I know that nothing RD can say will gain a concession of any kind from Billo. Science has already triumphed and this is just another instance where we get to see the troglodytes deny it is so. I’ll continue to take a pass. (though thanks for writing about it!)

    October 6, 2011
  2. Giancarlo Fruzzetti #

    He’s just spinning for the Fox audience to keep up ratings, an audience he knows are mostly rubes and ignoramuses. I’ll bet BillO is a bigger atheist than Richard Dawkins. Bigger even than Pol Pot. It’s all for the paycheck.

    October 7, 2011
    • That’s really sad if it’s true.

      October 11, 2011
      • Giancarlo Fruzzetti #

        Only Hannity is the genuine article. He’s like so many hard ass Catholic dudes I’ve run across, somewhat nice on the surface, but extremely judgemental and rotten to the core inside, kinda like Rick Santorum. Creepy people. Bill O on the other hand is just a big gas bag.

        October 16, 2011
        • Giancarlo Fruzzetti #

          Meaning that I’d have a beer with BillO, but I’d stay miles away from Hannity/Santorum and their ilk.

          October 16, 2011
  3. MrPickwick #

    This is the first time I regret having read one of your posts Miranda. That 4 minutes O’Reilly dose has been VERY painful. Not nice. :-)

    October 7, 2011
  4. I agree. Spode and O’Reilly have much in common. I’d just as well see that he’s not created the 8th Earl of Sidcup, however. He has quite enough pomposity as he is, thank you.

    October 7, 2011
  5. Your analysis of Mr. No-Spin is spot on. I don’t know how anyone can watch anything on Fox News. It boggles the mind.

    October 7, 2011
  6. I admire your fortitude. I can’t stomach Bill O’Reilly even for a minute. When religionists bring up Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot and sometimes Hitler as examples of atheism (In spite of the fact that Hitler was NOT an atheist), they always seem to leave out all of the atrocities in history committed by devout Christians, often in the name of “Christ” (torture of “heretics”, the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Thirty Years War, slavery, the extermination and dispossession of indigenous peoples, etc., etc…). The Christian cross belongs right up there with the Swastika and the Hammer and Sickle as symbols of inhumanity.

    October 7, 2011
  7. I watched part of the interview. The full retard was just too much for me and I stopped about a quarter of the way through. I need my IQ points.

    October 7, 2011
    • I know, I wonder how many brain cells I lost by watching that?

      October 11, 2011
  8. Colm #

    I lived and worked in the States for a time back yonder in the noughties(amounts to little more than murder and primed sectarianism on a corporate scale) and I distinctly remember first seeing and hearing that braying asal, I said to the uncle “Whats the story with that yoke?” he answered disparagingly in passing “Don’t mind him, he’s not the full dozen” this is pre 9/11 and that fool and his ilk got centre stage afterwards. You’ve your Koch brothers, Alex Singers, plus plethoras of narcissistic hobbled lobbies and we have the same. The MSM is a savage joke played mindnumbingly out to inculcated plebs.

    October 7, 2011
  9. Pieter B #

    My first time here, due to a random Facebook link, and what do I see? A quote from Wodehouse. I am smitten.

    October 7, 2011
    • It’s a fluke, and we’ll be having a stern talking to with Miranda about any further flashes of literary curiosity.

      October 7, 2011
    • This post is pretty much just an excuse to post memes, LOLcats, and Wodehouse :)

      October 11, 2011
      • Pieter B #

        Two outta three ain’t bad; I’m not big on all the latest memes.

        October 12, 2011
  10. pete #

    Mario, Luigi and their mushroom friend are all atheists! I’m totally taken aback by this info. I hope the princess knows who’s saving her next time…

    October 7, 2011
  11. bric #

    he has a bit of the Podsnap about him too . . . ‘As a so eminently respectable man, Mr Podsnap was sensible of its being required of him to take Providence under his protection. Consequently he always knew exactly what Providence meant. Inferior and less respectable men might fall short of that mark, but Mr Podsnap was always up to it. And it was very remarkable (and must have been very comfortable) that what Providence meant, was invariably what Mr Podsnap meant

    October 7, 2011
  12. Ooh! I forgot to link to the video of Bill’s notorious freak out at an intern back in his Inside Edition days (he was an entertainment reporter back then). The original clip actually creeps me out. His hair-trigger temper is really quite scary. He’s a total bully. But the clip is also really hilarious.

    Anyway, here’s the original (language NSFW):

    Here’s the “dance remix” (seriously insanely catchy. I’ve found myself singing this at the most inopportune times). (Language NSFW):

    And here’s Family Guy‘s parody of it, with Stewie as Bill. Totally spot-on and hilarious. (language NSFW):

    October 7, 2011
    • Joe Norman #

      Love these. As if his TV personality wasn’t bad enough; his true personality is worse!

      October 9, 2011
      • Seriously! And damn, that dance remix is catchy. I find myself singing it at really inappropriate times.

        October 11, 2011
  13. it was interesting to hear o ‘reilly invoke the buddha as a source of peace and restraint.wonder if billo knows the buddha was an atheist.

    October 7, 2011
    • I imagine that he was thinking something along these lines:

      “Okay, I mentioned Jesus…. and God… and who else is there? Allah? Oh noes, I can’t mention that one! Um, who’s that guy that the hippies like, the one with the big belly? Oh yeah, Buddha! I’ll go with Buddha. That’ll pwn him!”

      October 11, 2011
  14. Greg Peterson #

    Honestly, and to my shame, I had no idea this guy was that stupid. I had heard that he was popular, and I knew he got a lot of money and stuff, so it never came into my head that he could possibly be this idiotic. How very embarrassing for the people who watch him. Or…do they not realize this for themselves?

    October 7, 2011
  15. Oh, Miranda. You so crazy. Of course, why Dawkins went back to that cesspool of anti-intellectualism escapes me. Is it really costing him that much to pay for childcare?

    If it’ll spare Dawkins the indignity of having to deal with O’Really [sic], i’ll buy two of each of his books!

    October 7, 2011
    • I think that media appearances are usually scheduled by the publishers. I wish they could/would have got him on The Daily Show instead. Or Colbert again.

      October 11, 2011
  16. I had no real idea about O’Reilly until your blog today. Wiki says that he’s 62yo & yet his views seem more like the father or grandfather of a 62yo. An extract from a recent long piece in the Daily Beast HERE by Peter Boyer Bill O’Reilly’s Civil War interests me:

    …O’Reilly is not strictly doctrinaire except for a slavish adherence to what might be called the Ideology of Bill: a set of certainties derived from his Roman Catholic upbringing in a working-class home in Levittown, on Long Island, where the values of the 1950s and early ’60s were indelibly imprinted upon him. “Truth be told, I liked my country better pre-Vietnam,” he wrote in his memoir. “It was more fun. The [age of**] Aquarius deal was too confusing”

    [** I’m assuming that’s what he means by Aquarius]

    O’Reilly is frozen in time & he harks back to an age that never existed. I have no doubt that in his world The Magic of Reality & the The Dawkins are an existential threat. I can imagine he’s been angry, bitter, ‘shouty’ & bullying every day since The Pill, Mary Quant & Woodstock.

    I’m glad he’s not on my side of the pond

    October 7, 2011
    • That piece looks interesting. I’ll check it out soon. & Yes, he reminds me of Bill Donahue. They’re both reactionary jerks who encourage ignorance and do whatever they can to stay in the spotlight.

      Also, here’s a LOLbill that I missed before:

      October 11, 2011
    • Pieter B #

      O’Reilly claims to be working-class, noting that his father “never earned more than $35,000 a year in his life.”

      His dad retired in 1978 from his job as an accountant for an oil company. According to the inflation calculator, $35,000 in 1978 has the buying power of $121,611.58 in 2011 dollars. That’s not exactly “working class” money.

      http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=35000&year1=1978&year2=2011

      October 12, 2011
  17. Love you holding up a mirror for O’Reilly, Miranda! Unfortunately, he is too much of a narcissist to look at it. What a pathetic excuse for a news commentator! Are we back in the Middle Ages, for cryin’ out loud? This was not an interview, it was an inquisition in the finest tradition of O’Reilly’s precious Catholic Cult.

    I had actually watched this segment two nights ago online, and immediately dispatched the following e-mail to O’Reilly. Somehow… I doubt he’ll read it on the air, let alone respond.

    =============================

    Bill:

    I was appalled by your interview of Professor Dawkins, which was supposed to be about his latest book, “The Magic of Reality.” Rather than discuss how the book illustrates, with wondrous examples, how science reveals truths far better than myths from all over the world, you immediately asserted: “The judeo-christian philosophy isn’t a myth, it’s a reality.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I thought the No Spin Zone, by very definition, insisted upon evidence! Unless you can produce evidence of the “reality” of judeo-christian beliefs, you are spinning an unsubstantiated claim.

    October 7, 2011
    • Good letter! Even if he did read it, though, he’d find a way to “spin” it in the nastiest way possible, of course.

      October 11, 2011
  18. Grania Spingies #

    :D

    Miranda, you do scathing take-downs so well!

    October 7, 2011
    • :) I owe it all to the memes & LOLcats, really. Plus, Bill makes it SO easy.

      October 11, 2011
  19. Dave Ricks #

    My takeaway from O’Reilly’s meltdown video is not to wag my finger and say, “O’Reilly was bad” (that he lost control, and said “fuck”) — but that when the direction from off camera told him to, he snapped back into his role and nailed his last take.

    6) O’Reilly is Senator John Iselin, a meat puppet doing what he’s told.

    October 7, 2011
  20. I love listening to Richard Dawkins, but with O’Reilly? I clicked on PZ’s link and as soon, as FOX showed up, I had to shut it down. Like Wunelle, I can’t watch O’Reilly, but am also grateful to individuals who can and then report in detail the bellicose inane rant that is O’Reilly’s trademark. I’m completely awed by individuals like Dawkins and PZ that can listen and respond to these closed mental loops masquerading as individuals. So thanks for sharing, and letting us know Fox still is for kids, who missed adulthood.

    October 8, 2011
    • £eslie #

      stephen s…”closed mental loops”…that’s priceless! I am confiscating it as my own…hope you don’t mind.

      October 8, 2011
      • Thank you and your welcome to it, Leslie: Share this Icon.

        October 8, 2011
    • I’m not sure how long I could watch it for. Like, could I watch for an hour? More than an hour? Would I go crazy after two hours? I would put myself through that experiment, but I do enjoy 1) my intelligence, and 2) my sanity, so I’d better not :)

      October 11, 2011
  21. Pieter B #

    I think Dawkins missed a great opportunity by not bringing up the Inquisition and the religious wars of 16/17th-century Europe when O’Reilly opened the door with his mention of jihad. If that were dismissed as ancient history, there’s the more recent “Troubles” in Ireland.

    However, that might have precipitated the shouting match he said he wanted to avoid, and since the interview was being taped in advance, editing might have been employed to make it appear that Dawkins was somehow at fault.

    re: Roderick Spode, is it possible that O’Reilly also has a Eulalie in the closet?

    October 8, 2011
  22. Ciaran #

    I’d be careful bringing up the Troubles in Northern Ireland; both Hitchens and Dawkins got that wrong. There’s way too much history between Britain and Ireland to pin the troubles on religion; there’s ethnicity, nationality and memories of ethnic cleansing of the Irish by the English crown in there that they didn’t mention. I’m not saying religion’s not an issue but the Irish were dealing with English invasions when both countries were Catholic.

    October 9, 2011
  23. Nice one, Miranda:)

    Followed link from WEIT, and found that we had some small acquaintance already.

    Bill really is the epitome of the blustering buffoon.

    October 9, 2011
    • A blustering bufoon indeed! & Here, u can haz lolz:

      October 11, 2011
  24. I have watched a few of the interviews that he has done with Dawkins. He never actually talks about the books’ content. He only babbles incoherently about atheism being evil.

    Every. Single. Time.

    I like that he has Dawkins on to help sell books, but the interviews are tedious and admire Dawkins’ ability to sit through them without grabbing Billo by the shirt collar to get him to listen.

    October 9, 2011
    • The only way to get under Dawkins skin is insisting that he pose with you for a picture.

      October 30, 2011
  25. beerslayer #

    I suspect I know what motivates Richard Dawkins to appear on O’Reilly’s dog-and-pony show, despite the hostility: Dawkins is genuinely motivated by the cause of improving the image of atheism in the US and elsewhere. O’Reilly’s show has many viewers that I suspect Dawkins knows full well he’d never gain exposure to any other way. His hope must be that out of the thousands of “closed mental loops” (love the phrase, stephen) who watch O’Reilly’s show, he might plant seeds of rationality in one or two that he could never have reached any other way. If even one viewer comes to his/her senses, perhaps it’s worth all the abuse to him.

    October 16, 2011
  26. beerslayer #

    p.s. The only way O’Reilly could possibly “crush” Dawkins would be to sit on him.

    October 16, 2011
  27. ” Asshat ” Interesting. Can’t say I’ve heard that word here in Australia but ,having viewed your Blog and clips I can definately confirm that we have our share.

    October 18, 2011
  28. Warhol said it doesn’t matter what is written, just count the inches. The show will sell Dawkins’ book, thank you Billy boy.

    October 24, 2011
  29. If god exists, why is there still dust?! Answer that one, Christians!

    October 24, 2011

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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