Is there any major figure in the mainstream media more obdurately un-self-aware -- and resultingly, hilariously hypocritical -- than Bill O'Reilly?
O'Reilly: Robust debate is vital to America. It can put complicated issues in focus, sometimes expose the charlatans. Stating your case with strength and dignity is the sign of a patriot. But in today's political landscape, ridicule is on the rise. And both the left and the right are using it.
O'Reilly then plays a series of clips of derisive rhetoric from David Shuster, Michael Savage, Lou Dobbs, Ann Coulter, James Carville, and Michael Musto. Now, you'll notice that this list equally of right-wing and non-right-wing (which to wingnuts equals "liberal") figures. But then O'Reilly launches into a tirade about how this is largely a problem for the "liberal" media, particularly NBC -- which he says began "peddling the politics of hate a couple of years ago."
Because, of course, Fox has never stooped to such a thing. Ann Coulter appears on Fox so rarely, particularly not O'Reilly's show. And ridiculing and smearing others? Why, such a thing is unheard of at Fox.
In any event, O'Reilly blames all this on Saul Alinsky. Who, one must gather, is admired by the likes of Ann Coulter and Michael Savage. Things you never knew before!
Then he brings on Bernard Goldberg to commiserate about the horrible state of American discourse:
Goldberg: There is a slow poison running through the veins of this country. And our country can't stay great if that kind of poison continues to flow through the culture, it just can't.
Quoth the author of 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America -- the book that inspired Jim David Adkisson to mow down churchgoers in Knoxville last year.
O'Reilly, of course, caps it off by finishing his show, as he does every night, with a name-calling "Pinheads and Patriots" segment. Last night there were several pinheads, including Code Pink, but he saved his special vial of ridicule for Janeane Garofalo, who he named the "Ultimate Pinhead." (And remember the night before, when he made it doubly personal, after having one of those Fox ambush crews stalk her?)