August 12, 2004

Mad Dog

"Shut up!" and other deep thoughts from the angry mind of Bill O'Reilly. The truth about Fox News' number-one bigmouth


It's not hard to figure out why people accuse O'Reilly of being a right-wing operative dressed in anchorman clothes. For one thing, The O'Reilly Factor is the centerpiece of a twenty-four-hour-a-day cable network, Fox News Channel, owned by right-wing media baron Rupert Murdoch and run by CEO and chairman Roger Ailes, the corrosively combative former media strategist for three Republican presidents and former producer of right-wing windbag Rush Limbaugh's now-defunct TV show. The recent documentary Outfoxed shows the many ways that the cable channel operates as little more than a PR arm for the Republican Party: putting a negative spin on anything to do with Democrats and issuing a steady stream of upbeat, often factually inaccurate, cheerleading for the Bush administration.

For Fox's critics, O'Reilly epitomizes all that is most sinister about Fox's methods. O'Reilly angrily rejects such charges. He even denies being a conservative. He says the New York Times and his other enemies in the "pinhead elite media" use the conservative label to marginalize him. "Their point is, 'This is a conservative -- you don't have to listen to him.' " He claims not to have made up his mind yet on whom he will vote for in the presidential election and denies trying to sway viewers in either direction. "I'm not out there like Rush Limbaugh trying to convert you to be a conservative," he says. "Or like Michael Kinsley trying to convert you to be a liberal. . . . My job is to analyze things honestly, tell you why I think it and back it up."

A great indepth story about Bill O

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