180 Degree Spin Zone


Gil Brewer profiles Bill O'Reilly

In an interview this week with Laura Ingraham, Bill O'Reilly attacked the attempts to conflate the Tea Parties with the racist right. It was wrong, he argued, to tar a whole movement with the sins of its fringe. "You can see it that any nut—and there are some nuts, Laura, in the Tea Party movement—any nut and anything will be used to brand the entire movement," he said.

I agree with O'Reilly. I also agree with his critics at Think Progress:

O'Reilly is correct that incidents of bigotry at Tea Party events do not mean that everybody in the Tea Party movement is racist. O'Reilly's effort to make a nuanced distinction is surprising, however, considering his past efforts to use cherrypicked user comments to label the netroots as "hatemongerers" like "the Ku Klux Klan" and "the Nazi Party." In 2007, when JetBlue sponsored the YearlyKos convention, O'Reilly attacked the company, saying that "if the company was sponsoring a David Duke convention, we'd do the same story. Hate is hate, no matter where it comes from." The two or three comments picked out from a forum in which hundreds of thousands of people participate were not representative of the site as a whole.

When Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) appeared on O'Reilly's show to defend YearlyKos, which he was attending, he argued that "the fact that there are objectionable people who show up here on this site doesn't discredit everyone else who participates in this in a wonderful way to share their views on a variety of subjects." "Your description of that site is so opposite from what it is," responded O'Reilly. "You are so dead wrong on this." A year later, when former Vice President Al Gore spoke at the convention (which had been re-named Netroots Nation), O'Reilly declared that "the fact that he went to this thing is the same as if he stepped into the Klan gathering. It's the same. No difference."

For Think Progress, the takeaway here is that Bill O'Reilly is a hypocrite. True enough. But I'll add a second lesson: There's an awful lot of people on the left and center who have seem to have adopted O'Reilly as a model.

NEXT: The Wrong Lesson

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  1. Do you think they’ll notice that they’re doing the same damn thing?

    1. Do you think they’ll care ?

  2. I’m laughing so hard I can hardly type, but the real moral here is this: Don’t bring a monkey wrench to a gorilla fight!*

    *Look at the damn illustration!

    1. Sometimes you have to fight the gorilla with the wrench you have, not the wrench you want.

    2. When all you have is a gorilla everything looks like a wrench.

      1. When all you have is a gorilla mask everything everyone looks like a wrench tool.

  3. I don’t know what it is about reading Bill O’Reilly’s name but I need to take a shower. Where is that loofah ?

    1. Falafel.

      1. Can’t we agree that both make for good sexy time in the shower and go on with our lives?

    2. Good morning, rectal!

    3. Olbermann, Olbermann, Olbermann, Madcow! How do you feel now?

    4. find it, I volunteer.

  4. Third lesson: I really need a subscription to Zeppelin Stories.

  5. I do wonder if it is a real gorilla our just a caricature of the murderous Hun.

    1. A lot of people like to pretend that the gorillas didn’t ally themselves with the Germans in both world wars. I think it’s because of all the gorillas who came over to the U.S. after WWII to work in aerospace engineering. Of course, thanks to the gorilla engineers, America’s fleet of battle zeppelins helped us to win the Cold War.

      1. Someone’s been watching the History Channel again.

        Did I spell that right? Did they change it to the Hysturi Channel yet?

        1. It was better when it was the Hitlerstory Channel.

          1. I thought they were trying to make it more friendly for woman. Why they didn’t become the Eva Braun Channel is puzzling.

            1. Women? They did that with The Learning Channel. Remember it? Hardly any drunken lesbian dwarf reality shows, then.

              1. Those little ladies sure can throw down, though.

                1. It is practically historic.

                  1. Or a learning experience. Whatever the network is about.

          2. At times they regress to the Histery Channel with embarrassing, catering-to-the-mowrons Nostradamus bullshit.

            1. B?tes farouches de faim fleuves tranner;
              Plus part du champ encore Hister sera,
              En caige de fer le grand sera treisner,
              Quand rien enfant de Germain observa.

              1. This quatrain clearly predicts that someone named Mike Godwin will come up with a law about some guy named Hitler and his buddies.

  6. Jesse Walker is an idiot. There is no comparison between the tea Party and the Kos. The Kos is nothing but a hate group. If you ever visit their site, all you will see are vulgar irrational posts condeming conservitives and making threats.

    Get a clue Walker, you moron.

    1. How cute when they come out to play.

    2. But you should have added in some curses just for better effect.

    3. Did you even read the article? Or, did you see Bill O’Reilly, a monkey, and a balloon, and that was all you needed to make an informed comment regarding Mr. Walker’s intellectual capacity?

      1. Or, did you see Bill O’Reilly, a monkey, and a balloon

        Hey, JohnD may be a moron, but that doesn’t mean you should attack his sexual preferences.

    4. You owe me a new irony meter. Mine just overloaded.


  8. What’s with Reason’s fetish with this Tea Party is racist meme? The whole thing is nothing but a battering ram the Democrats are using to beat down the opposition. It is a bogus issue and Reason should not enhance the effectiveness by discussing it day after day after day.

    1. Well, all the stories do get a lot of comments.

    2. Better to ask:

      What’s with Reason’s the Democratic Party and their media ally’s fetish with this Tea Party is racist meme?

      1. Nice fix, RC. That’s how it SHOULD read, at all times.

  9. I don’t know about the rest of you, but what I really want is to read “The Gorilla of the Gas Bags.” Is it about a gorilla that lives secretly in a zeppelin? Or is it about John Bonham?

    1. Very apropos topic for the next Monkey Tuesday. From my history, I seem to recall that gorillas sometimes piloted these ships, until an unfortunate mishap in Lakehurst, NJ.

      1. Nazi gorillas?

        I looked for the text and have come up empty so far.

        1. Nazi gorillas?


        2. I haven’t been able to find the text either. It must be found.

          Nazi gorillas?


          1. You know, I think I read that issue.

  10. There will be any number of Tea Party rallies in April. Any suggestions on how to root out and condemn any racists (or provocateurs) who might show up to embarrass and discredit the Tea Partiers?

    1. yeah…

      watch the teabaggers as they come in…

    2. Convince several black people to go and mingle and get in lots of photographs. There are three or four that aren’t Democrats, right?

  11. Mmmmmmm…. balloon juice….

  12. Which kind?

    1. Yeah, I’d like to know more!

    2. Balloon knot juice. Yum!

    3. By the way, my Homeric post about balloon juice wasn’t intended as a threaded response to anyone. It was meant to stand proudly on its own. Another black mark on the technical implementation of “threaded discussion” on Reason.com (it does seem to work well most of the time).

      Oh sure, you can claim user error. And maybe I was so high on the thought of consuming some of that luscious balloon juice that I hit the wrong button, but I doubt it…

    4. I have this sinking feeling that “balloon juice” is a euphemism that SugarFree will explain to us in revolting detail.

      1. “Balloon juice” is the fuel used in propeller engines on Zeppelins. Mostly likely diesel in actual historic fact, but perhaps something fantastical based on the cover of the magazine as presented. A humorous play on a Zeppelin being a type of balloon and “juice” as common slang for gasoline, electricity and other power sources for various machines.

        1. Dammit, I knew you were going to make this disgusting!

        2. Sug, I thought that Balloon Juice was the bouyant gas inside the envelope, ie hot air (hearkening back to early ballooning before they used Hydrogen and Helium as lifting agents).

          1. And people say I have a dirty mind. Sheesh.

    5. I hate to point out the obvious, but the reason people think the Teabaggers are racists is because the movement didn’t exist until we elected the black guy, despite the fact that the previous administration was guilty of all the same things the Teabaggers are allegedly so angry about.

      1. The Tea Party started as a respone to TARP, dumbass. That would be the law passed by Bush.

      2. No need to feel bad about pointing something out. However, Tea Parties may not have existed prior to Obama, but the ideas that most rally around were being discussed prior to him winning the election. People just hadn’t been pushed far enough to get out in the streets about it. People forget that unlike many left leaning rallies, most of the people at Tea Parties are people with full time jobs, and families. There are usually lots of kids at these almost exclusively family friendly events. My kids (7,8,10) have been, and had a good time.

        1. Wife and I took the 12 year old to help hold the Fair Tax sign.

        2. You have 7,810 kids? Are you mexican?

          1. As stated on my census form, my race is American. Until they break it down far enough to include 12 generation Welsh-American, that’s what it will remain.

      3. The really real reason for it, Scotch, is because twits like you keep pushing the myth.

        1. I don’t think it’s totally about racism, but to deny that element altogether is foolhardy.

          I see it more as the death throes of the conservative movement, a giant temper-tantrum of the priviliged who can’t stand the notion of having to share “their” country…

          1. Whistling by the graveyard. You’re losing the Independents in droves.

          2. Wow, I thought you were just saying that some people think it’s racists because…. I didn’t catch that you think the tea party is inherently racist. Now however, I consider you a sheep. We who wish for smaller government and greater freedom, will gladly share our country with you socialists, as long as you restrict your socialist policies to those states you have large majorities in, or even cities. Or you can join a commune. That would work also. The problem is that when socialist policies are enacted at the national level, we all have to deal with the consequences, and the lack of freedom.

            1. A fair point, but consider that the rural/red states already get a disproporate say in what goes on at the Federal level thanks to the structure of the Senate and Electoral College. And after you folks gave us the fascist Bush regime it’s hard to take you too seriously when you only start Teabagging when Obama is elected…

    6. Well said.

      If only this site were more popular . . .

    7. The Kostards who spouted things like “Bush was going to cancel elections” and “that census guy was killed by Glenn Beck” were never banned or even suspended. That is the difference.

    8. A few years ago I tried reading DU and KOS on a regular basis. I couldn’t do it. However, I just read through the comments following a King video on KOS, with Dana Loesch talking about a tea party attendee saying Obama is a terrorist, and her saying she’d do away with social security if she could. The comments weren’t filled with the vitriol that I remember. It was a bit depressing though, because there didn’t seem to be any dissenting opinions at all.

      It’s a bit weird for me to frequently see this complete acceptance of the idea that tea partiers are racist, hateful, and inciting violence. It seems to me that if those on the left went to an event or two with a slightly open mind, they’d see that just isn’t the case.

    9. I prefer dumpster juice- with a splash of cran.

      1. wtf? that was supposed to be at the end of the article.

    10. Geez, it’s like Jesse has never walked through the comment section at DailyKos. it makes HnR commenters seem like paragons of virtue and light.

    11. All this gorilla talk is racist. Subconsciously.

  13. Why doesn’t “Reason” replace Cathy Young (whom I’m starting to feel sorry for) with Gale “Balloon Juice” Thompson?

    1. Nobody knows.

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