Buzzflash offers an interesting interview with Peter Hart, advocacy director for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
(FAIR). Hart has written a useful quick reference guide that debunks, deflates, and derides Bill O’Reilly. In the words of BF, “The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly looks up
facts O’Reilly couldn’t be bothered with, uses O’Reilly’s own sound bites and transcripts to find out what was really said on ‘The Factor,’ and even boasts a chapter of O’Reilly vs. O’Reilly — proving it takes a hypocrite to catch a hypocrite. All Bill O’Reilly has to do is look in the mirror.” You can read the interview here.
Here is an excerpt:
I think what makes him interesting and important is the fact that he works in a commercial media environment and in a structure where the drive is to get an audience that advertisers want to reach and sell products to. So other cable news outlets might look at something like The O’Reilly Factor and say that’s the successful formula. Advertisers enjoy it — let’s do that. So MSNBC would go out and hire an openly bigoted talk radio host such as Michael Savage in the hopes that he’s bringing in a very conservative audience on the weekends. Joe Scarborough’s show on MSNBC, for example, is, I think, modeled in some ways on The O’Reilly Factor.
So I think the commercialism of mass media distorts our ability to understand what’s really happening. It distorts the idea of what journalism and really news presentation should be because it’s really at the end of a bottom-line business. And the national cable networks are chasing a small audience and trying to divvy it up amongst themselves.