Bill O’Reilly, the frighteningly popular conservative pundit on the Fox News Channel, is fond of crusades against liberals, porn stars and thug rappers. His latest victim is the Pony shoemaking company. Apparently, the Pony Company hired porn star Jenna Jameson to appear in its shoe commercials, and is, according to O’Reilly, “hoping that hard core sex will lead to the purchase of sneakers.” O’Reilly would no doubt be shocked if he actually watched some of Fox’s own programming, including Joe Millionaire, which featured the fetish artist Sarah, or Fastlane, which, in one particularly deviant episode featured (gasp) two women kissing each other in a hot tub. I won’t even mention Melrose Place.
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.