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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Politics: Drawing O'Reilly's Ire 

On his radio show today, Bill O'Reilly took WaPo columnist Dan Froomkin to task for what O'Reilly obviously felt were disparaging comments in Froomkin's Thursday edition of "White House Briefing," a column that he writes on the paper's website. O'Reilly called Froomkin a "liar" several times and he made a crack about Froomkin not being on his "level." He also repeatedly pronounced Froomkin's name with a scoffing accent on the last syllable.

What incensed O'Reilly so much that he led off his show with this segment? Froomkin wrote to viewers who tune in to Fox News to see the popular cable news host's interview with President Bush: "Don't expect hardballs." Oh, and he labeled O'Reilly as an "unabashedly conservative commentator."

Pretty benign stuff, if you ask me. I can semi-understand O'Reilly taking exception with a jab at his interviews. I've watched his show countless times and if anything, I think he's tough on his guests. In fact he's often tough to a fault. He doesn't hold back criticism of the President either.

For someone that's not "on his level," though, I think that O'Reilly is making way too much of the column, and what amounts to fairly innocuous barbs. His chagrin at being labeled a conservative honestly baffles me. O'Reilly isn't so far right as the "ideologues" he assails on his show, but there is absolutely no way that he can credibly claim that he isn't a conservative. And if he can, then perhaps he should have refrained from taping the promo line for local affiliate KJCE-1370, in which he tells listeners to tune in to the Radio Factor on "Austin's conservative voice."

Before moving on, O'Reilly stated that he intends to make an example of Froomkin on The Factor tonight, in the closing "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day" segment. If you ask me, I think that O'Reilly's making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill. It's typical of his shtick lately. For whatever reason, O'Reilly feels the need to perpetuate his "me against the world" crusade on a daily basis, and I'm growing tired of it.


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