Al Franken’s nemesis and the host of Faux News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” went plumb loco during a guest appearance on the Oct. 8 installment of National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air.” Follow the “Fresh Air Audio” link and take a listen: You really have to hear this one for yourself. (We provide; you decide.)
But here is my take: O’Reilly went plain nuts. The right-wing pundit was on the Terry Gross-hosted program to discuss his new book, Who’s Looking Out for You?, but most of what he had to say had to do with other books and other authors.
Naturally, top on his list was leftist politicial humorist Franken. If you recall, Faux filed suit against Franken in response to his bestseller, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right; the suit charging Franken of copyright infringement for appropriating the cable news channel’s mendacious slogan (Fair and Balanced) was dismissed pretty quickly. A bitter war of words has raged between O’Reilly and Franken for months now (though O’Reilly told Gross he had nothing to do with the lawsuit — yeah, right, but he made sure to mention that he believes he has just cause to take his rival to court).
Anyway, on “Fresh Air,” O’Reilly blustered on about the New York Times‘ Janet Maslin and her review of Franken’s book. Here’s an excerpt of the article:
Note to Bill O’Reilly, the de facto publicist for “Lies” thanks to Fox News’s hapless efforts to block its publication: Never say “Never said it” or “‘You can’t find a transcript where I said it” when a man with 14 researchers is on your trail. In a book that baits its targets with varying degrees of success, Mr. Franken makes a bull’s-eye out of Mr. O’Reilly. First the prize: he shows how Mr. O’Reilly’s erroneous claim that he won a Peabody Award evolved into even bigger fibs once it was challenged.
Then the porn: a mortifyingly stilted erotic passage from Mr. O’Reilly’s novel “Those Who Trespass” is sent up repeatedly here. Then the political affiliation: a 1994 voter registration form is dug up, courtesy of National Public Radio, and reprinted to contradict Mr. O’Reilly’s 1996 claim that he was not enrolled in a political party. (The form counts him as a Republican.) And finally the provenance: accounts of a childhood in Levittown, N.Y., are contradicted in The Washington Post by “an inside source (O’Reilly’s mother).”
Then the ruler of the No Spin Zone took on Maslin’s review of liberal gadfly Michael Moore’s latest book, Dude, Where’s My Country. Frankly, I don’t see how O’Reilly could see Maslin’s appraisal of the work as glowing — it’s no hatchet job, but the reviewer offers plenty of criticism for the Man from Flint.
Then, O’Reilly sets his sights on his interviewer, blasting Gross for giving Al Franken an easy interview when the liberal was a “Fresh Air” guest. Gross, to her credit, copped to the accusation — she clearly took O’Reilly on for his meanness and hypocrisy (in fact, O’Reilly defended himself saying he has only told guests to “shut up” about six or seven times). Listen to both interviews. Which guest was polite? Which one was antagonistic?
Finally, O’Reilly ended the interview and walked out in a snit. I located his comment on the event at Fox:
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for “The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day.”
I had to stop an interview with NPR today because the conversation got completely out of hand. It was supposed to be about my new book Who’s Looking Out For You? I say supposed to be. …
The program is called “Fresh Air,” and I knew the people were not going to be fair but I decided to let it play out. That program gave one of the smear merchants running around the country a total pass when it interviewed him. But, in my conversation, they were much more aggressive, and I actually enjoyed telling the woman off, and I think you’ll enjoy hearing it.
If you want to know the ridiculous truth about NPR and “Fresh Air,” go to billoreilly — Bill O’Reilly — that’s my name — dot-com, billoreilly.com, or listen to The Radio Factor tomorrow. Very interesting.
You needn’t go through all that unless you want to do so: The links are above; listen to the interviews. As I said, we provide. You decide.
Personally, I think the man needs a hug, a warm blankie, and serious meds.