I'm not sure how much of this is just political theater. Has Bill O'Reilly decided it's good television to act like a raving maniac in the hope of increasing his viewership over at Fox? Or is Bill-O just not unable to keep his temper in check because he's mad that he might have to fork out some more money in taxes? O'Reilly lost it with Alan Colmes, one of his regulars, last night. It was bad enough that even the generally mild-mannered Colmes, who put up with years of abuse as Hannity's sidekick on the same network, expressed his disgust at O'Reilly's over-the-top attack.
My fellow contributor here at C&L, Ellen has more here: O’Reilly Loses It Big Time With Alan Colmes:
Bill O’Reilly had a major meltdown tonight with Alan Colmes. It has to be seen to be believed but let’s just say that O’Reilly was screaming at Colmes that he’s a liar and Colmes respectfully but firmly shot back, “Don’t you call me a liar.” Later, O’Reilly seethed, “It’s jack what you’re saying. There’s another word for it but it’s an obscenity.” In a subsequent segment, John Stossel told O’Reilly he had been out of line and “obnoxious.”
O’Reilly started out with a vicious chip on his shoulder in his Talking Points commentary immediately preceding the discussion. Then he said:
It’s almost like Mr. Obama is sabotaging the country so he can reshape it. There comes a point where every nation in history gets what it deserves. Rome, Japan, Germany and Russia all were destroyed by venal leaders exploiting an apathetic population. I pray that doesn’t happen to us but we the people need to wise up fast.
Colmes came on and, as usual, did an excellent job holding up his end. And O’Reilly apologized to Colmes at the end. But not before he came off looking one big bloviating, bullying blowhard. It was a worse outburst than O’Reilly’s famous “Just shut up!” temper tantrum made famous in Outfoxed. And he kept simmering with rage afterward. Read on...
And as she noted, Media Matters took on Bill-O on as well: Confronted With Facts, O'Reilly Screams "Bullshit":
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly broke down and screamed at his guest Alan Colmes for identifying spending cuts that President Obama has proposed, shouting at Colmes, "That's bullshit!" and repeatedly claiming Obama hasn't proposed specific cuts to replace the across-the-board cuts known as the sequester. But Colmes was correct: Obama has proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as part of his plan to replace the sequester.
During the March 5 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly repeatedly claimed that Obama "refuses" to endorse specific spending cuts, shouting at Colmes, "Give me one damn program he said he'd cut!" even as Colmes highlighted Medicare and Medicaid as two programs Obama has proposed cutting: [...]
Colmes is correct: Obama has proposed $400 billion in cuts to federal health spending, which includes a $140 billion reduction in "payments to drug companies" and a $25 billion reduction for Medicaid and affiliated programs:
Go read their post for the specifics on just that. As they noted when they wrapped things up, the conservative media (and I would add, a good deal of our "mainstream" media) has ignored the cuts that have already been put in place and the ones offered up, as well.
As we've already pointed out here and as Paul Krugman discussed last week, we're having the wrong conversation on cuts and budget deficits in the first place. We need to be getting Americans back to work and fixing our jobs deficit. But for those watching Fox and Bill-O, you'd think the most important thing in the world is that this that this overpaid windbag might have his taxes go up.