August 4, 2009

Out here in the Pacific Northwest, we're well acquainted by experience with Bill O'Reilly's utter cluelessness about the cultural and political geography and climate of our region. But last night on The O'Reilly Factor, he really reached comedic heights.

His big scoop, warranting a full Team O'Reilly Investigation, was the news that the University of Oregon in Eugene is a boiling, roiling hotbed of liberalism -- so much so that only eight people out of the 186 professors surveyed identified as Republicans.

Actually, the survey is a somewhat peculiar clumping that only includes the schools of political science, law, economics, sociology and journalism -- which have a tendency towards liberal-arts profs anyway. Excluded from the survey were profs in the business, engineering, chemistry or math fields. One assumes the numbers would look somewhat different with their inclusion. So this is what has outraged O'Reilly?

Calling it an "appalling situation," O'Reilly sicced his ambush camera teams on the hapless provost of the school while he was en route to his car in a parking garage. Then he spent the next several minutes bashing Eugene and the UofO, with the help of Portland radio host Lars Larson, who was happy to bash his fellow Oregonians.

That's because, of course, Eugene has for many years been one of those cultural meccas for the hippie/Deadhead/peace/love/understanding crowd. The UofO campus has long attracted liberals and liberal-minded people, and the cultural climate is the kind that tends not to be very attractive to conservatives.

But then, that's just the way the Northwest is; there's a diverse array of people and cultures out here, and they each have their niches. The gamut runs from Eugene to Hayden Lake.

One wonders what O'Reilly might find if he were to do a similarly selective survey of the business and engineering schools at Washington State University in Pullman, where the cultural climate runs decidedly in the other direction. Bet we won't see Jesse Watters out there anytime soon.

In other words, O'Reilly is not breaking any news here. Nor is it anything to get particularly worked up about. But it is amusing to watch O'Reilly make a complete fool of himself, anyway.

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