Jon Stewart got in his licks at Fox News the other night, accusing them of being "the new liberals" for their, umn, tolerant approach to the town hall health-care protesters.
Stewart caught Bill O'Reilly saying recently:
O'Reilly: When we cover the town-hall meetings, we don't describe the protesters as "loons."
Stewart: Of course you don't describe the protesters as loons! What kind of monster would describe honest Americans voicing their political opinions that way?
[Reverts to earlier clip of O'Reilly, describing an anti-war protest]
O'Reilly: Surveys show many protesters are simply loons.
So last night on The O'Reilly Factor, the Falafel Master offered, by way of excuse, to demonstrate that Stewart had edited out the exculpatory parts of his monologues which made it clear he didn't mean all the protesters. And indeed, on the longer clip, O'Reilly can be heard to say:
O'Reilly: There are the anti-Bush protesters in New York City. While most of these people have been peaceful, more than a thousand have been arrested and surveys show, many protesters are simply loons, calling for the destruction of the American system, calling for retreat in the face of terrorism. Here's a bulletin for you Bush-haters: These protesters are not helping John Kerry.
O'Reilly somehow thinks this demonstrates his innocence:
O'Reilly: We were talking about the arrested protesters.
Actually, no, you weren't, Bill. Look at the transcript: You were talking about the protesters who were surveyed -- and that included all the protesters, not just those who were arrested.
Moreover, no one on the left or among the Democrats that I'm aware of has called all of the town-hall participants "loons." They've been careful to parse out the behavior of the people interested in civilized discourse. When protesters have been characterized as "loons" or some variation thereof, it's been because of their disruptive behavior.
So if BillO's excuse -- that he was just talking about some of the protesters -- is good enough for Bill, why not for everyone else?
But then, we already know that the standards BillO applies to others don't apply to his own august self. That's the real "O'Reilly Factor."