Roger Ebert Slams Bill O'Reilly

Robert Ebert nails Bill O'Reilly for his off-the-wall and venomous tactics. It's a long read and worth it. He compares him to Father Coughlin and poi

Robert Ebert nails Bill O'Reilly for his off-the-wall and venomous tactics.

It's a long read and worth it. He compares him to Father Coughlin and points out his nativism:

He has been an influence on the most worrying trend in the field of news: The polarization of opinion, the elevation of emotional temperature, the predictability of two of the leading cable news channels. A majority of cable news viewers now get their news slanted one way or the other by angry men. O'Reilly is not the worst offender. That would be Glenn Beck. Keith Olbermann is gaining ground. Rachel Maddow provides an admirable example for the boys of firm, passionate outrage, and is more effective for nogt shouting. Much has been said recently about the possible influence of O'Reilly on the murder of Dr. George Tiller by Scott Roeder. Such a connection is impossible to prove. Yet studies of bullies and their victims suggest a general way such an influence might take place. Bullies like to force others to do their will, while they can stand back and protest their innocence: "I was nowhere near the gymnasium, Sister!" A recent study of school shootings found that two-thirds of all the shooters were victims of bullying, and perceived themselves as members of persecuted minorities.

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Sometimes O'Reilly is compared with Father Coughlin, a popular far-right radio commentator in the 1930s who fanned the flames against Roosevelt and warned about immigration and "foreigners," by which it was understood he meant primarily Jews. O'Reilly objects to such a comparison, and certainly there is no reason to consider him anti-Semitic.

But a team of media researchers at Indiana University studied every editorial broadcast by O'Reilly during a six-month period and found a similar nativist cast. Among the findings of their paper published in the Journal Journalism Studies was this one:...read on

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