Thursday night, Bill O’Reilly “just asked” in his Talking Points commentary, “Is there a civil war brewing in the U.S.A.?” However, his immediate goal was not to enlighten anyone but to demonize anti-Trump protesters as dangerous traitors. I think there was another, darker agenda, too.
Here are some excerpts from O’Reilly’s commentary (via FoxNews.com’s transcript, with my emphases):
O'REILLY: The main beef seems to be that left wing protesters don’t respect an honest election. By the way, that’s a hallmark around the world. Every communist and socialist takeover from Cuba to Venezuela to Soviet Russia back in the early 20th Century featured violence and assaults on freedom. Here in the U.S.A., we honor protests, but increasingly we are seeing people who want our system destroyed.
[T]here are people, agitators who do want to hurt you. Who do not believe the way you do.
And in San Francisco, there is talk that the State of California should secede from the union.
O’REILLY: That sounds like the south before the civil war, does it not? Finally, the race hustlers are very angry. Chief among them Al Sharpton who despises Donald Trump.
O’Reilly’s concern trolling for respecting an honest election might seem a whole lot more authentic and a whole lot less self-serving were it not for his tolerance for his pal Donald Trump’s attempts to undermine President Obama’s presidency. Can you point to even one instance where O’Reilly condemned Trump’s bogus birtherism as a dangerous and anti-American attempt to undermine the election of our first African American president? When O’Reilly brought up the subject in September, his only concern seemed to be that Trump’s birtherism might have “hurt” him with the black vote.
And where was O’Reilly when the Tea Party protests were threatening violence in opposition to President Obama’s policies? Complaining that they were “not being respected” by the rest of the media.
I also don’t recall O’Reilly speaking out against his own network’s cheerleading for criminal rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed insurrection against the federal government. To his credit, O’Reilly did not join that disgraceful behavior. But I do recall O’Reilly whitewashing his colleagues’ support as an example of why Fox News is successful. “We have a wide variety of opinion expressed in a vibrant way,” he praised.
So don’t tell me that O’Reilly’s respect for dissent doesn’t depend almost wholly on who’s being protested and very little about how.
That’s disturbing enough. But I believe O'Reilly is promoting a deeper, more sinister agenda here. And it dovetails all too well with Trump advisor and likely cabinet member Newt Gingrich’s desire to resurrect the McCarthy-esque House Un-American Activities Committee. It’s hinted at in O'Reilly's conclusion, where he suggests that anyone who “promotes anarchy” should be quickly punished or exiled:
O'REILLY: Summing up, Talking Points respects sincere protests. If you believe Donald Trump is not good for America, I have no problem with you displaying that opinion. However, if you hurt someone, destroy something, or promote anarchy, you then become a danger to the republic. That kind of stuff needs to be punished and quickly. Also, we are living in an amazingly destructive politically correct environment here in America. Just because something offends you doesn’t mean you have the right to hurt or destroy.
The new president might want to make that very clear. And if you don’t like it, Canada and Mexico are nearby. They might be happy to have you. Then again, they might not. And that’s “The Memo.”
We can hope that O’Reilly’s definition of punishable protest is restricted to actual, serious violence and not, say, the kind of casual talk of a revolution in the clips he showed.
But we can’t count on that.
Watch this chilling editorial above, from the November 10, 2016 The O’Reilly Factor.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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