Don’t Quote Me: O’Reilly’s Fear Factor

So on the July 9th Factor, Bill threw Wheeler under the bus in a discussion with GLAAD’s Senior Director of Media Programs, Rashad Robinson. “We don’t want to make mistakes, and we don’t want our analysts making mistakes,” said O’Reilly. “Detective Wheeler apologized and put it on his website.”

O’Reilly’s apology? Don’t hold your breath, because according to Bill, Wheeler was not entirely off the mark. “I’ll grant you that Detective Wheeler got a little carried away,” he told Robinson. “But here in New York City a group of lesbians attacked a man. Then in Tennessee there was a lesbian gang, another one in Philadelphia. There’s no question there are some gay gangs, primarily lesbian, causing trouble. We reported it, and we should have reported it.”

Oh, I get it.

You’re traveling through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind …

Twilight Zone; No Spin Zone. Same thing.

I admit, The O’Reilly Factor is entertaining — so entertaining, in fact, that I truly believe that Bill O’Reilly has a future in Vegas opening for Criss Angel: Mindfreak. But — and I hate to keep harping on this — it’s far from a respectable news program.

Yet I can’t tell that to Bill’s fans.

Despite pages and pages of proof that Bill O’Reilly repeatedly sensationalizes and misinforms, and that he has nothing but contempt for journalistic ethics, his fans are convinced that he’s a credible newsman who is committed to making America safe for them. They believe him when he says that our country is embroiled in a culture war fueled by a liberal media plot, and that Fox would never air a story that was not fact-checked.

And that makes my skin crawl. I itch from the inside out, just like I did when the verdict was read in the O.J. Simpson trial.

Night after night, O’Reilly chokes the life and purpose out of journalism, and Fox News chief Roger Ailes does nothing but pucker his chapped lips as Bill bends over. Ailes’ failure to insist that O’Reilly report every story accurately, comment responsibly and honor even the most basic standards of ethics is a shameful and grotesque abuse of power.

But, hey, the sky is falling!

Be afraid, people. Be very afraid, because the minute you don’t feel terrorized is the minute you’ll stop tuning into The O’Reilly Factor and get a life — one that isn’t dreadful. And there will be none of that.

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