The Left Wants Bill O’Reilly’s Head
Still fuming from the embarrassment of watching Brian Williams go down in flames, liberals have decided that the best defense is a good offense. They dare to take down one of ours? Fine. We’ll take down one of theirs. The first missile was launched by David Corn at Mother Jones. Media Matters picked up the ball from there, proudly claiming they had researchers dedicating every waking moment to poring through Bill O’Reilly’s career in search of lies.
Conservatives have reacted to the stories with the only reaction they deserve: a long, drawn-out yawn.
First of all, Brian Williams wasn’t exposed by Breitbart or Rush Limbaugh. He was exposed by a military magazine. Second, fans of The O’Reilly Factor do not hold its host to the same standards as one would expect a network anchor to uphold. O’Reilly’s obligations are to provide viewers with his opinions, entertain them with exaggeration and righteous outrage, and boost ratings for the Fox News Channel. We don’t necessarily want him to lie to us, but there’s a wide gulf between an (ostensibly) unbiased reporter and a talk show host. O’Reilly’s liberal equivalent is Rachel Maddow, not Brian Williams.
The other problem is that we’ve seen this too many times. Whenever a conservative gets to a certain point of popularity, liberals always do this. They go on the attack, using every tool in the woodshed to ruin their careers. Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and many others have found themselves the target of vicious smear campaigns. We’ve even seen conservative-leaning reality stars attacked with the same fervor. The Duggars and Phil Robertson are among those who have been shamed for simply expressing their views.
Is it possible that popular opinion will turn on O’Reilly? Yes, but it will take more than some shifty attacks from sources like Mother Jones and Media Matters. Did the left abandon Lena Dunham when conservative sites pointed out the despicable libel in her autobiography? Not hardly. And the same principle will apply here. Until O’Reilly is exposed by someone with a little more integrity than David Corn, he’s not going anywhere.
In the meantime, maybe this country’s liberals would be better off questioning whether the proper response to the demise of Brian Williams is to launch an attack on a Fox News favorite. Williams wasn’t the only liberal to suffer a hit to their reputation in recent months. The dust still hasn’t settled from Rolling Stone’s awful story about the University of Virginia. Maybe instead of throwing anemic stones at an entertainer, they would be better off making sure their own house is in order. Truth isn’t anything to be afraid of.
Unless, of course, it undermines your entire ideology.