Thursday, November 11, 2010

Responding to Stupidity With Intellectual Dishonesty

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote a column called, "Bill O'Reilly's Threats." I noticed the title and was wondering what threats O'Reilly had made. But once I read the column I found that the title is a deliberate lie. O'Reilly, who was apparently offended by something Milbank wrote about Fox News, made a bad joke about Milbank.
On Thursday night, the Fox News host asked, as part of a show that would be seen by 5.5 million people: "Does sharia law say we can behead Dana Milbank?" He then added, "That was a joke."
Bill O'Reilly is a moron for making a joke like that on the air, but obviously he isn't actually calling for Milbank's death. Milbank knows this, of course, but in his column he chooses blatant intellectual dishonesty, comparing what O'Reilly said to the murder of Daniel Pearl, and characterizing O'Reilly's words as
O'Reilly's on-air fantasizing about violent ends for me ... violent fantasies [and] intimidation and violent imagery
What a pile of garbage. O'Reilly's stupid joke was not a threat, not intimidation and highly unlikely to represent actual fantasizing about Milbank's head being cut off by Islamic terrorists. But Milbank pretends that it is, purely in order to paint O'Reilly as an advocate of violence. He actually calls O'Reilly's word's "thuggish tactics." Milbank's column provides hard evidence of why he is an intellectually dishonest hack whose writings about pretty much any subject should be taken with a big grain of salt. 


  1. Bill O'Reilly gets a bum rap from the left in my opinion. I can't stand Hannity and Beck on Fox, but Bill O'Reilly can be watchable. He allows other opinions to be heard and does a good job at pointing out the sort of dishonesty you describe above while avoiding it in himself. He's a loudmouth, and I disagree with him often, but what's wrong with that?

  2. I haven't watched him in years but I used to. I liked that he had a wide variety of guests and sometimes could conduct a decent interview. But overall he was just too overbearing, too dismissive of views he didn't seem to really understand, and too prone to simplicity for my liking. However, he was definitely better than Hannity (I've never watched Beck). Even though I often agreed with Hannity on policy, he's nothing more than a partisan hack -- just one who happens to be on my side.