I don’t do it very often (I have standards) but when I do, I enjoy it. I make a habit NOT to watch FOX news (or sitcoms, or whatever they happen to be broadcasting) on principle. Any allegedly fair and balanced news network that makes an agenda out of not being fair or balanced, does not deserve my eyeballs. However, I have to admit that I will occasionally watch Bill O’Reilly (although, FOX advertising department, take note: It’s usually via online video clips stripped of all ads). His attempts to be charming always bring a chuckle, and his smarmy interviewing demeanor always gives my heart muscle the workout I usually fail to achieve on the treadmill. It’s nice to know that the problem of evil, the biggest hurdle to swallowing theistic dogma, is given front and center at FOX news.
I took particular delight in reading this review of O’Reilly latest book, by Alan Dershowitz, the nationally known attorney and Law Professor, published today in the Washington Post. What, you ask? He just published a weightless tome giving his opinions on everything, how could he write another, so soon? Well, this time he’s written a children’s book. Not just any children’s book, but a book called Kid’s Are Americans, Too: Your Rights To A Good, Safe, Fun Life in which he attempts to educate children in the right wing version of what it is to be an American. Apparently, his
commentary preaching to adults was not enough, and, following in the footsteps of the Jesuits, who believed that if they had the child, they had the adult, he aims at the more impressionable Americans to lie to tell it like it is.
Please read the review. I have not read the book, nor would I be likely to do so under any circumstances, and I generally have a high respect for Dershowitz, so I have no reason to disbelieve what he says. His opinion of the book is one thing, but the examples of some of the statements O’Reilly attempts to foist on children is egregious at best, and despicable if even remotely true.
As a lawyer, I would think that O’Reilly would have actually tried to read the cases he cites to the children for the lessons he wants them to learn. For instance, he tells his young readers that there was a case
in which the ACLU allegedly persuaded the Supreme Court of the state of Washington that the “constitutional rights” of a girl named Lacey had been violated when her mother surreptitiously listened in on a phone call between Lacey and her boyfriend, during which the boyfriend admitted to a purse snatching.
However, the case, (uncited in the book) was found by Dershowitz, and once read, actually stands for the the exact opposite of what O’Reilly claims it stands for. While trying to convince children that the Founding Fathers did not want the Federal Government to become monolithic, specifically putting much of the responsibility for governing us on the states and local governments, this case was not an example of the Feds imposing themselves on our rights to privacy, but
It was the state legislature — precisely the institution that O’Reilly contends should make these kinds of decisions.
So he lied. Will wonders never cease. Interestingly, he apparently wrote the book with someone else, a Charles Flowers, who was willing to lend his name to this screed, but apparently not his expertise, whatever that may be. He could have at least done some fact checking.
Dershowitz cites a number of other hypocritical statements by O’Reilly, which simply confirmed my dislike of him. (OK. So I’m not impartial. Shoot me). However, I’ll still watch him, on occasion, whenever my heart needs a workout.
As a short aside, for your entertainment, you might enjoy this short clip of a part of an exchange between O’Reilly and Al Franken at Book Expo a few years ago. I looked but couldn’t find the entire, funny story that Franken told about O’Reilly that led up to this exchange, though I had seen it previously. O’Reilly has a bit of a short fuse. If you can find it, it’s long, but worth the watch. The late Molly Ivins was on the panel also.