O’Reilly has had success with his personal crusades before. Last August, he was outraged when the hip-hop artist Ludacris signed an endorsement contract with Pepsi. He called for “all responsible Americans to fight back and punish Pepsi for using a man who degrades women, who encourages substance abuse, and does all the things that hurt particularly the poor in our society.” Of course he later insisted that he did not encourage his viewers to in fact boycott Pepsi, but by then the damage was already done—Pepsi dropped Ludacris the day after O’Reilly’s program. Ludacris’ replacement, Ozzy Osbourne, a man who has bitten the head off of a live bat and strangled his wife in a drug-induced stupor, was apparently fine by O’Reilly’s standards.
But then again no one, especially not O’Reilly’s hard-core fans, expects the man to be consistent or coherent. O’Reilly’s demagoguery has found a starving audience in TV land: people sick of the “liberal” media and who seemingly find our current president too moderate. As leader of this motley crew, O’Reilly is constantly on the lookout for more outrages, more remnants of our liberal past to suppress. The time of the “free love” Sixties and the reign of Jimmy Carter left their indelible marks on society, and O’Reilly and friends are thankfully here to clean them up.
I’d like to think I have a following as well, so to you, John Q. Harvard, I propose the following: I am boycotting O’Reilly and everything on Fox News Channel. Fox News, or as I like to call it, “state-run television” (the televisions in the Bush White House are tuned to it), commits the cardinal sin of deceit every time they flash the slogan “Fair and Balanced” or “We Report. You Decide.” O’Reilly himself lies to his viewers every night by posing as an “independent” who resides in the fantasy land of the “no-spin zone.” I don’t know about you folks, but I am drawing the line here and tuning out this harmful programming.
—Erol N. Gulay is an editorial editor.