Friday, April 6, 2007


Oliver Willis thinks that Bill O'Reilly has gone crazy. Looking at this Youtube video, he does kind of have a point -- O'Reilly seems to be a bit out of control. I'm not a defender of Bill O'Reilly; I think he's an ignorant, arrogant blowhard, and, even worse, a bit of a bully to people who appear on his show.

In this case, however, O'Reilly isn't being his usual bullying self, because his interlocutor is Geraldo Rivera, a longtime TV veteran himself who is more than comfortable and able to hold his own in a TV environment. He's not picking on some poor schlub who's squinting at the lights; he's going toe-to-toe with a worthy adversary. As Ann Althouse says of Geraldo, "He's going to hold his own and he does. O'Reilly knows he can roll out his righteous anger in a grandly theatrical way and he does." However Geraldo and O'Reilly might differ, they both have a flair for dramatic showmanship, and that's what they're doing.

It's also worth noting that Willis makes a fairly common mistake among folks on the left -- he identifies O'Reilly as being a "conservative." O'Reilly may have some cultural conservative leangings -- he hammers rappers whose music he finds objectionable, and he likes to highlight cases of child molesters whose sentences are too lenient. His overall views are all over the map. If he's anything, O'Reilly is a right-leaning populist. But he's certainly not a movement conservative, or a Republican "team player" like, say, Rush Limbaugh.

Oh, and on the substantive argument, for once O'Reilly has a point. Allison Kunhardt (17), and Tessa Tranchant (16) were killed by a 22-year-old illegal immigrant with a history of arrests, at least one of which appears to have been alcohol-related. Why isn't the fact that he had been previously arrested, but not deported, a relevant question? The fact is that he's here illegally, and two teenage girls are dead because of his conduct. If he had been deported earlier, they would not be dead.

And Geraldo's notion that we "lured" the illegal immigrants here is ludicrous. "Lured," how? By having a more successful economy than Mexico and other Latin American countries? That's our fault? How? Rivera is simply being deliberately obtuse.

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