Have you ever sat on a barstool next to a loudmouthed, ignorant bully? Kind of like watching Bill O'Reilly's schtick, isn't it? I don't tune in to Fox News; I catch their lowlights on the Web. I came across an item this morning on HuffPo, but I'll spare you the video, as it's a waste of bandwidth:
A furious Bill O'Reilly got into a shouting match with Alan Colmes about Al Jazeera on O'Reilly's Tuesday show.
O'Reilly started by showing footage of guests on Al-Jazeera making what he said were anti-Semitic and anti-American statements. He then brought on Colmes and his right-wing counterpart Monica Crowley to discuss the channel.
Colmes said that the distinction between a channel and its guests was an important one, and that Al Jazeera has been a thorn in the side of Arab governments across the Middle East.
"I would think a populist like you would support Al Jazeera," Colmes said to O'Reilly.
"Are you crazy? Are you nuts?" O'Reilly said. "I'm not taking the side of an anti-Semitic, anti-American network!" He noted that Colmes was Jewish. "The people who run that network would do violence to you," he told him.
Crowley said that "the far left" supports Al Jazeera because it is "essentially anti-American." This outraged Colmes. "That's disgusting," he said. "That's sickening!"
O'Reilly and Colmes then started shouting at each other, with O'Reilly saying that there was no balance to what was, in his view, a constant stream of objectionable statements on Al Jazeera.
When I spent the summer of 2007 in Russia, I got my TV news from the international broadcasts of the BBC and, yes, Al Jazeera. Of the latter, I saw and heard nothing approaching the "anti-American" sentiments that spew regularly from O'Reilly's own network--home to a stable of the unstable who openly call the American president anti-American and worse, and who seem to hate the significant swath of Americans who don't buy into their brand of Talk TV or right-wing politics and whom they deem to be "far left." And as imperfect as it may be, Al Jazeera has actual reporters and journalists who file real news stories, as opposed to the galaxy of GOP flacks and failed rodeo clowns on Fox who claim they do the same.
If you find yourself on a barstool next to a loudmouthed, ignorant bully, maybe it's time to find another bar.