Memo to Bill O'Reilly: There's a reason people in the media -- especially people with even a small bone of ethics in their bodies -- object to major media anchors suggesting it's OK to beat people up: It's profoundly irresponsible. Sure, you can say it's just a joke, but everyone who works in the media knows there are kooks out there who take that kind of stuff literally and act on it, which is what makes doing it so irresponsible. Or didn't you learn your lesson with Dr. Tiller?
Indeed, it seems that BillO learned at least one lesson from that episode: If you are so irresponsible as to abuse your position media power by indulging in reckless violent and eliminationist rhetoric, there is at least one entity with enough guts to call you on it: Media Matters.
Because now he's just outright hearing voices in his head as soon as the words came out of his mouth that he wanted to beat up the Washington Post's Dana Milbank for slagging Megyn Kelly's election-night work. And while it's true that Milbank's examples were weak, the reality is that Milbank's larger point was right: the entire night's broadcast overseen by Kelly was one long gloatfest, victory lap after victory lap for the election's real winner: Fox News.
But all throughout the segment, O'Reilly vacillated between wishing thuggery upon both Milbank and his boss, WaPo's Fred Hiatt, and worrying that his saying so might bring those evil nattering nabobs from Media Mattes down upon his head.
All I can say is: Good.
At one point, Kelly wondered why he's so obsessed with Media Matters. Why, he should just do as she does: Don't your pretty little head over such things. O'Reilly made clear why not: This was a man thing. He didn't say it, but the clear answer was: His manhood was being challenged.
And it's true. His manhood is being challenged. Because O'Reilly in the end is a chickens--t BS artist and a bully and a coward, and Media Matters regularly calls him out on it.
And you know what? O'Reilly isn't even man enough to bring them on his show and let them have their say.
Because no one -- NO ONE -- ever goes on Fox and criticizes it. It just isn't permitted. And especially not on O'Reilly's show.
Want to talk about manhood? A real man would bring his toughest critics on and face them. Until O'Reilly actually invites David Brock or Eric Burns onto his show, we'll know that all this talk is hot air.