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Cole writes: "Bill O'Reilly is off the airwaves, but it doesn't really matter. The despicable strategy of presslord Rupert Murdoch of orienting his Fox Cable 'news' toward the nativist far right in the United States will continue."

Bill O'Reilly. (photo: Fox News)
Bill O'Reilly. (photo: Fox News)

Top 5 Ways Bill O'Reilly Gave Us Trump and Cheapened America

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

20 April 17


ill O’Reilly is off the airwaves, but it doesn’t really matter. The despicable strategy of presslord Rupert Murdoch of orienting his Fox Cable “news” toward the nativist far right in the United States will continue. They’ll just find another O’Reilly. Worse, there is more or less an O’Reilly in the White House now, with the nuclear codes. Murdoch and O’Reilly in many ways gave us the Trump presidency, running the Republic into a brick wall.

1. Trump’s ridiculous and very expensive plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico? That was an O’Reilly idea. I remember seeing O’Reilly trot it out in an interview with the late thriller writer Tom Clancy after 9/11:

O’REILLY: Now, I’ve been banging this drum for more than a year, and I did a “Talking Points” tonight on it, is that the borders are so chaotic and they’re not secured, and we’re very vulnerable from both Canada and Mexico for people who want to bring stuff in and come in here, and the INS can’t control it. Am I wrong there?

CLANCY: No, it’s one of the problems of, you know, one of the consequences of living in a free and open society. You know, the Statue of Liberty invites people in. She’s not holding a machine gun to keep people away.

Clancy wasn’t exactly left wing. But he tried to warn O’Reilly that crackpot plans like the Wall were a long step toward the US becoming a new Soviet Union. The latter, he said, had failed. Now we have a president with squirrels running around in his cranium, who saw O’Reilly push this nonsense and wants to charge us billions in taxes to build it.

It all comes out of a wounded white nationalism, buffeted by globalization, where African-Americans and immigrants are allegedly stealing jobs (they aren’t).

2. O’Reilly beat the drum nightly for George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. He repeatedly alleged that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was behind al-Qaeda, with the implication that Iraq blew up New York and Washington, D.C. He repeatedly alleged that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” and that he was training al-Qaeda operatives in chemical weapons use at Salman Pak. There is no evidence that that was the case. Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda and was clearly afraid of it. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

O’Reilly had said that if there turned out to be no WMD in Iraq, he would become more skeptical of the Bush white house. But despite the collapse of the case against Iraq, O’Reilly went on cheerleading for Bush/ Cheney.

3. O’Reilly said on “The View” that “Muslims hit us” on 9/11. Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walked off the set when O’Reilly doubled down on his hate speech and gross generalization. When Trump said last fall “Islam hates us,” he was just echoing O’Reilly.

David Pakman: “Bill O’Reilly Gets Whoopi Goldberg & Joy Behar to Walk Off The View”

4. O’Reilly has repeatedly said racist things, and his current troubles began when he said of senior Congresswoman Maxine Waters that he could not get past her “James Brown wig.” In a famous incident on his now-defunct radio show, O’Reilly had professed himself shocked, on eating at a restaurant owned by African-Americans, that the patrons seemed perfectly respectable. He had recently said that Trump won’t be able to help African-Americans because “ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads.”

Then there was all the other bigotry, as when he compared gay marriage to Goat Marriage.

5. O’Reilly’s denial that any practical measures need to be taken to limit CO2 emissions, because they would disadvantage American corporations. Climate denialism is the original fake news, and O’Reilly & Fox were one major source that Trump scans for news like this.

He’s a mean, mean man. And a bad historian, which yours truly holds against him, hard. He managed to cheapen my America and then he made millions writing “fake history.”

The O’Reilly Factor is dead. But Fox will just go on polluting the airwaves. your social media marketing partner


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+6 # elizabethblock 2017-04-20 21:56
Yes, I'm afraid that the evil men, and governments, do lives on after them. When a bad government gets voted out, the new one is likely to go right on doing the same awful things. "They got away with it, why shouldn't we?"
+7 # Wise woman 2017-04-20 22:12
Since I never heard this guy except when he was on the View promoting one of his books, my opinion of him was formed that day when both Whoopie and Joy walked off the stage. Since I like both of them, their disappearing act made me think twice about this guy and my thoughts weren't good ones. Turns out I was right.
-16 # eduardoben 2017-04-20 22:31
Juan Cole. Stop deceiving yourself. You and your Clintonite associates need to come to grips with the truth. It wasn't Bill Reilly who gave us Trump. It was the deep corruption and the complete moral and ethical failure of the DNC and the Democratic Machine and its zombie-like followers who gave us Trump.
+15 # eduardoben 2017-04-20 22:34
PS: Bernie Sanders has some serious problems. But he was then and is now the most popular politician in the United States. If not for the corruption and cowardice of the Democratic Party 'leadership', Sanders would be president today and Trump would be a bad memory.
+10 # Observer 47 2017-04-21 08:24
I have to agree with Cole that O'Reilly and his ilk created and promoted an atmosphere that allowed for the rise of Trump. Their continual hate speech, coupled with their success, made bigotry and racism seem "OK" to many in this country.

All that said, Trump's election win itself was, YES, due to the fact that the Democratic leadership insisted on rigging their nominating process so that Hillary, the corporate shill, represented their party. Polls at the time indicated that Bernie would have easily beaten Trump, so there's no getting around that fact that the Dems' willing enslavement by the corporatocracy cost them the election.
-5 # Texas Aggie 2017-04-21 00:31
While there are some who are weeping that poor Billo won't have a job now, if Sean baby keeps up the good work, he's due to follow Bannon on the WH shit list. Then Billo would be the perfect replacement.
+14 # Wise woman 2017-04-21 04:08
Talk about cheapening America, he also cheapened men by behaving in the worst possible way a man can. All decent men should be screaming from the rooftops that this sort of behavior won't be tolerated in their America.
+3 # librarian1984 2017-04-21 07:29
Sarah Palin on CNN last night hinted that she also had experienced sexual harrassment at Fox.

Interestingly, she spoke in non-gibberish, which makes me wonder if she was abusing drugs for the past decade. I haven't seen her speak so coherently since her run as VP. Is there another explanation for the change? It was quite noticeable.
0 # eduardoben 2017-04-23 15:41
She's being groomed for further political and electoral (mis)adventures by some group that is providing her with professional high dollar public relations entities that are coaching her on what to say and how to speak? Hell, if Trump can get elected... Be well.
-1 # elkingo 2017-04-21 11:44
Love Tom Clancy - that delicious shitty chauvinist prose. Thrill writer: my ass! Military Groupie. And danger from Canada? Right on! Them Canuks is woise prostitutes and druggies, woise because they ain't even Beaners! They's traitors to the Race!!!!!

And Ms. Liberty ain't got a machine gun??? Goddamn right and good idea! Lets start a movement to replace the torch with an AR-15!
(OK Gun Nuts: technically that's an assault rifle and not a machine gun, but what the hell, ah?)
-3 # elkingo 2017-04-21 12:07
lizblk: Right. Trumpy continues Obomber's barbarism. We need wholesale global cultural revision. ISIS are still Nazis, as is Israel.

WiseWom: Right!!! We feminists with cocks must not be silent!

eddob: Right, but wrong. Both Billo AND the Demofarts gave us Trumpie. Not mutually exclusive, pleurally determined, as they say in science or philosophy. Hills for not deferring to Bernie (yeah right?) and the Demofool electorate for not voting for
Jill Stein.

ABOVE ALL BIG BRAVO/BRAVAS!To Juan, Whoopie and Joy. And as Juan and John Kiriaku (sp?) are ex CIA, they ought to be Pres.and VP (a toss-up which is which. A sinner redeemed....Esp . right guys momentarily deluded.
0 # 2017-04-30 17:46
Trump has upstaged George W. Bush!! Not an easy task, no? If you want to know what is happening, ask a comic!!

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