Fair, Balanced, and Whiny

So you may or may not have heard the interview of known Fox News jackass Bill O’Reilly by Terry Gross of NPR’s “Fresh Air.” (If you’d like to listen to it before continuing to read this, you can listen to it by clicking the link above.) Among frequent NPR listeners, it’s been a hot topic this week, as O’Reilly ends it with typical decorum by whining about how biased NPR is and actually storming out of the interview.

I listened to the entire interview as it was aired; there may have been more of it than I heard, as “Fresh Air” tapes very long interviews, usually an hour and a half or so, then edits them down to the most interesting stuff.

The middle of it was kind of interesting. After the first ten minutes or so, wherein Terry Gross challenged some of his more retarded public assertions (among them that he won a Peabody Award while working for “Hard Copy,” or some crap show like it; Gross actually did win a Peabody Award for “Fresh Air,” but this is no doubt due to liberal bias by the good folks at the Peabody Awards), prompting him to deny obvious facts, she kind of gave up on that tack and asked him about what growing up was like for him, which was actually kind of interesting to me. In the way asking, say, Jeffrey Dahmer about his childhood would be.

By the end, though, he got all incensed about how she was being harder on him (a political commentator, who bills himself as such) than she was on Al Franken (a political satirist, who bills himself as such) when he was on the show. He did so without letting her finish a sentence, except when he kept yelling the question, “WERE YOU THIS HARD ON FRANKEN? WERE YOU THIS HARD ON FRANKEN?” in a way that made me fear for his children, if he has any. He capped things off by blustering about how biased NPR is, and, as mentioned before, leaving.

I understand there’s some stuff on O’Reilly’s Web site about the interview; I haven’t investigated, as the second I opened the site up I felt like I was entering some horrible, forbidden corner of the web. (Seriously, I’ve seen porn pictures of a woman taking a dump in some guy’s mouth, and I felt about equally dirty typing “www.foxnews.com” into my browser.) At any rate, it’s all basically to say that the interview went about like you’d expect it to.

If anything, I thought Terry Gross was too easy on him at the end, when he started bellowing at her like a drunk dad, and that she didn’t push her rebuttal about Franken being a satirist far enough. But she’s always been a soft touch, and very nonconfrontational, so I imagine she was a little rattled by the whole thing. It’s worth listening to if you’re looking to irritate yourself on a Saturday afternoon; they’re replaying the interview on “Fresh Air Weekend” this weekend, so if your local NPR affiliate carries the show you can hear it there.

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I work for KWGS, Tulsa’s NPR affiliate. I tried to work for Fox News, but they muttered something about my “lack of trainability.”

5 thoughts on “Fair, Balanced, and Whiny

  1. Don’t the interviews tend to run about 49 minutes? And didn’t he walk out precisely at the 49 minute mark? Sounds to me like O’liely planned all along to have this little of hissy fit. No SPin indeed. Fucking dick.

    Also, word to Brian.

  2. Here was my favorite part of the interview :

    “I never said I won a Peabody award at any time. That’s the fact and I mislabeled a Peabody a Polk. My former program Inside Edition won a Polk and I called it a Peabody. Twice on the Factor I corrected that . That was two and a half years ago. So by saying in her review that I said I won a Peabody, that is an absolute lie.”

    But wait a sec…he just said that he made an untrue statement, but two sentences later he call someone a liar for pointing out this fact. Not only is he completely glossing over this whole incident (He said “we”, not “they”, won a Peabody), but he’s making no damn sense. This is like O.J. saying “I never said I killed anyone. Sure, I may have lost it a little and stabbed a couple people to death, but I went on trial and was found ‘not guilty’. For someone to say thast I’m a ‘murderer’ is an absolute lie”

  3. I listened to the interview too and as much as I hate him, I had to agree with O’Reilly. He was invited there to talk about his book, not Al Franken’s (which I am currently reading). He spent the entire time defending himself and of course collecting more ammo to justify hating NPR.

  4. Yeah, I have to admit that she didn’t spend a lot of time asking him about his book, which seemed to be the object to a degree. Though I only heard him say he was invited exclusively to talk about his book; I didn’t hear Terry Gross agree with him. As a producer (not an experienced one, but still), I’m thinking that when you invite somebody like Bill O’Reilly on your show, you’re not planning on *just* talking about his book, and that they probably told him as much. That’s just me speculating, though.

    One other thing I noticed was that he kept talking about reviewers writing reviews of him, and not his book. While this is a valid complaint, consider this: When you turn yourself into as polarizing, iconic and outspoken a figure as he has, or as Michael Moore has, for another example, eventually people aren’t going to be able to separate you, the public figure, and the book you’ve written. Also, people wouldn’t be buying O’Reilly’s book if he wasn’t who he was — if he was just some schmoe without a national talk show, he’d be a run-of-the-mill psychopath who happened to pound out a book. Rather than a famous psychopath.

    Finally, after hearing him repeat how his book debuting at number one on the NYT bestseller’s list knocked Franken to #2 (after being #1 for six weeks), it gave me much pleasure to see that — oh my! Franken’s back at #1 this week. Bumping O’Reilly to #2. Ah well. He had a good run.

  5. “I never said I won a Peabody award at any time. That’s the fact and I mislabeled a Peabody a Polk. My former program Inside Edition won a Polk and I called it a Peabody.”

    Um, sounds like he is admitting that said he won a Peabody.