This has become a common tactic for Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly: Respond to legitimate criticism with Nixonian-like ad hominem attacks.
In response to my latest column about Fox’s use of race to scare viewers, O’Reilly on Tuesday night cited the figure (without naming me, which I guess puts me in the same category as Keith Olbermann) that I am a “Fox hater” who has written negatively about the channel “more than 100 times.”
I have no idea if that number’s accurate, but it’s utterly meaningless. Here’s a guess: Given that I write 100 columns, roughly 250 reviews and several hundred more blog posts in an average year — and have covered TV since 1987 — any Google search would find that I have written negative things about ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC dozens if not hundreds of times as well.
Throwing out the numerical figure is almost McCarthy-like: “There are 127 Communists living in the halls and air ducts at Variety….” And by the way, I’ve been meaning to speak to the maintenance guys about that.
I do confess that Fox News has received greater scrutiny during the last 18 months or so, but that dovetails with the channel’s disturbing tilt toward hysteria with the arrival of Glenn Beck. To O’Reilly, though, any criticism must come with a hidden motivation, although it’s hard to see what mine would be to continue nettling an arm of Rupert Murdoch’s empire — especially since (disclosure coming) I am now moonlighting by writing a column for Foxsports.com.
Unfortunately, this retort presumably counts as another “attack” on Fox News.
Oh Bill. Will your suffering at the hands of us elite-media types never end?