I’ve always liked Bill O’Reilly–which is weird, because I don’t agree with the majority of his political views at all.  His bombastic style is definitely not “real journalism”, but I’ve always found it entertaining–a lot like John McLaughlin.  People say he’s a bully, and I can’t really disagree, but his manner reminds me of my Irish family members–they’ll yell and swear and browbeat somebody in an argument, and then afterwards shake hands and say “great to see you”.

Yeah, I guess I’m probably in a tiny minority as a liberal who likes O’Reilly and can’t stand Olbermann.  I like to be different.  I once read that Robert Frost said “A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.”

Anyway, so O’Reilly has been caught misrepresenting his role in various events–saying he was present in “a war zone” during the Falklands conflict, when in fact he was not; saying he was knocking at George de Mohrenschildt‘s door as de Mohrenschildt committed suicide, when O’Reilly was not even in the state at the time.  Coming so soon on the heels of the Brian Williams scandal, people are calling on Fox News to suspend him, just as NBC suspended Williams. Of course, Fox has not done that.

The reason for this discrepancy is that O’Reilly is an entertainer, whereas Brian Williams is a news reporter.  People who watched Williams expected to get factual information, and when he didn’t deliver, they got mad.  People who watch O’Reilly just want to be entertained.  Some love him, some hate him, but they all just want to see what he’s going to do next.  Whether any of it resembles truth is not relevant. This was proven quite conclusively when O’Reilly totally screwed up the history of the Malmedy massacre, saying the Americans committed the atrocity against the German SS prisoners, when actually it was the Germans committing it against the Americans. That’s a pretty pathetic error to  make.

But who cares if O’Reilly doesn’t know history?  He’s an entertainer.  Hence the comparison to McLaughlin–no one knows what he’s talking about half the time, even the other panelists, but it’s fun to watch, by golly!

That’s why NBC had to punish Williams, but Fox doesn’t need to punish O’Reilly: they’re not really in the same business.  In NBC’s business, credibility matters.

Stop the presses!

I know you’ll think I’m crazy, but I saw it with my own two eyes, I did!  He was being interviewed by Brian Williams of NBC, who said something like “an anonymous Romney staffer said you were planning to pick a boring white guy for VP”.  And Romney chuckled and said something like “you told me you weren’t interested.”  UPDATE: The verbatim quote from Romney was: “You told me you were not available”.  Same thing, really.

Now, it’s true that minutes earlier, Williams asked him something about a gun control law he passed as governor, and Romney answered with a barrage of weasel words and non-answers the likes of which I’ve seldom seen.  And even more pathetically, Williams totally let it go without follow-up questions.  But still, you have to give Romney credit: he made a joke that wasn’t awkward or forced, which is pretty rare for him.  And after all, “likeability” is what wins elections!

Really, it happened!  I tried to get the clip, or at least a transcript for you  at NBC’s website, but I can’t get the clip to embed, or even play correctly on my computer.  It might be here.  Or that might be an interview with Kathy Griffin.  For some reason, I was having a heck of a lot of trouble with navigating their site.