Saturday, March 28, 2009

Distancing Bill O'Reilly: Walking Away From Hearst Journalism Tactics

Remember the movie Citizen Kane? It's always listed as one of the top 10 great movies. Millions of people have seen it. But there was a time when it wasn't shown in certain theaters. The reason: it came too close to the image of someone still living - William Randolph Hearst, at one time, the most powerful man in America. Hearst's newspapers barely mentioned the flick. Theater chains were afraid to present it.

People are going to pillory me about this analogy, but, in a way, I don't really care. Kane was about a personality who became larger than life. William Randolph Hearst WAS larger than life.

Here's an oft-repeated story (but true): Famous artist Frederick Remington worked for Hearst newspapers and was sent to Cuba to view and send back drawings of the "conflict" there. "Mr. Hearst," he wrote back, "there's really nothing here. No battle, no conflict, no war. I'm trying to be considerate to the newspaper budget when I suggest I come back to the states to work on something else." Hearst shot back: "Do not leave! You provide the pictures. I'll provide the war!"

In a sense, this is what O'Reilly does. He piles on loads of misinformation, works up a subject, then tries to suppress dissent. HE will spout about something, build it up (as Hearst did) then make sure that people will be too afraid of his harassment to put things in the proper perspective.

Hearst, Kane and O'Reilly: three personalities steeped in the media and called journalists. Not! Hearst made wars when he wanted them, but he was no journalist. Kane wanted control of everything, but he was no journalist. Now Bill O'Reilly uses questionable (and possibly criminal) tactics on his dissenters, but he is certainly no journalist. He is a pundit. He is the trumpet in the brass section of a symphony that, because he only cares about himself, blows louder (and more off-key) than all the other instruments, souring the orchestra, the composer and the audience.

He is currently the only pundit who employs "henchmen" to run down dissenters and publicly harass them. He's giving ideas to the likes of Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Glen Beck. has been attacked by O'Reilly and it's managing editor, Amanda Terkel, was harassed by Jesse Watters, a producer of O'Reilly's show.

Sadly, Amanda is just one of at least 40 different victims of O’Reilly’s Harassment Machine. O’Reilly has hired producers whose job is to track, harass, and intimidate anyone whom O’Reilly perceives as an opponent. That’s not “journalism” — that’s a mafia-style operation. And we need to put an end to it.

ThinkProgess' campaign against O'Reilly's tactics has worked so far (UPS has pulled out as a sponsor of the Fox show) but O'Reilly's "journalism" has to stop, or someone is going to get hurt.

An enterprising person used Google to find out what many Americans think of Bill O'Reilly. The results are funny as well as astounding. Sorry about the poor readability of the gif, but I couldn't get better resolution. Anyway, the most results for "Bill O'Reilly is..." are very telling: Highest: "Republican" (2,340,000 results), then "racist" (818,000), "joke" (809,000), "idiot" (654,000) and "insane" (424,000). I'm going to do the same for Ann Coulter and see what happens. Wish me luck.

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