Listen Up, O’Reilly

There are only two daily shows I watch on Fox. The first is Bret Baier’s “Special Report.” The other is Bill O’Reilly’s “The Factor.” Because I record everything I watch, I am able to fast-forward through the commercials on Baier’s show. When it comes to O’Reilly, I will often fast-forward not only through his commercials, but through segments in which Bob Beckel, Leslie Marshall, Alan Colmes, Geraldo Rivera, Juan Williams, Lis Wiehl, Kimberly Guilfoyle and/or Marc Lamont Hill, appear. Some nights, I can fly through the entire hour in about eight or nine minutes. In fact, if it weren’t for Bernie Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer, Megyn Kelly, Lou Dobbs and, to a lesser degree, Dennis Miller, I wouldn’t tune in at all.

A while back, I got caught up in watching O’Reilly get fired up over same-sex marriages. One night, he claimed that too many people who opposed them did so for no other reason than their religious beliefs, and he didn’t think that “Bible-thumpers” were in a position to persuade those who disagreed with them. I had to concede his point. After all, if people weren’t religious, it stood to reason that they wouldn’t be swayed by arguments based on gospel.

However, I was shocked by his reference to Bible-thumpers. And so was Laura Ingraham, who appeared as a guest on his show the following evening. Viewers must have thought O’Reilly’s head was going to explode. He kept shouting her down each time she merely tried to explain that Bible-thumper was a demeaning term. Frankly, I half-expected her to walk off. But I guess she enjoys the perk of occasionally sitting in for O’Reilly too much to offend the blowhard. So she sat there and allowed him to treat her like an obnoxious brat.

Making things even worse was his denying that he had used the term, but had merely said, “Bible-thumping.” I waited in vain for Ms. Ingraham to ask him who it is exactly who engages in Bible-thumping if not Bible-thumpers.

That evening, I sent him an email. I didn’t really expect him to post it; after all, he had never posted any of my other messages, even though I do try to make them pithy. For the longest time, in fact, I’ve written them for no other reason than to share them with friends.

I wrote: “However you may have intended it, ‘Bible thumper’ is a derogatory term for a Christian, especially a fundamentalist or evangelical. You might as well have referred to religious nutburgers. Also, why would you urge letter writers to The Factor, as you did tonight, to not be ‘prescient.’ The word, after all, refers to someone possessing foresight.”

As I assumed, my note wasn’t posted, so now I’m once again sharing it with friends.

Like many people, I assumed that the problem with American politics was that most politicians are ex-lawyers. I figured that such was not the case in earlier times. Was I ever wrong! Although Washington and Jefferson were not members of the legal profession, 25 of the 43 presidents were, including John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Madison, Monroe and Van Buren.

The only conclusions I could draw from the list was that we’ve done reasonably well with former members of the military, if we limit it to the likes of Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman and Kennedy; and actors, if we limit it to professionals, such as Ronald Reagan, and not to such rank amateurs as LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Clinton and Obama.

Something I don’t understand is how it is that welfare reform was passed back in the mid- 90s, but today we have 47 million people getting food stamps and another 14 million collecting disability checks. And how is it that just a few years ago, unless I was hallucinating, Congress banned earmarks, but the relief bill for the victims of Hurricane Sandy was held up because so many legislators had added earmarks totaling untold millions of dollars in pet projects?

Also, how is it, I find myself wondering, that when their guy is in the White House, Democrats will spend trillions of tax dollars successfully pursuing the votes of women, blacks and illegal aliens, whereas Republicans will squander only slightly less money, but wind up buying no votes at all? Which reminds me of a question someone recently sent me: What’s the difference between genius and stupidity? Answer: There’s a limit to genius.

To bolster his argument that the Sequester would wreak financial havoc with the economy, Obama announced he is taking a five percent cut in his salary. That means that instead of receiving $33,333 on the first of every month, he will only receive $31,666. I, for one, hope that doesn’t mean that Michelle will have to start wearing last week’s dresses.

As symbolic acts go, you have to admit it’s pretty lame. I mean, does Obama even pay for his own golf balls? He certainly didn’t pay the freight to fly out here to California to co- host a recent DNC fund-raising event with Nancy Pelosi. I’m betting we even have to pay for those ice cream cones he’s always noshing on when he’s vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard.

The biggest laugh Obama has handed me recently wasn’t, as you may have guessed, his sinking just two of the 22 shots he took, trying to show off for the kids on Easter Sunday. Rather, it was his announcement that he wants to teach America’s youth how to budget responsibly.

Is the man so completely oblivious that he doesn’t realize that with his cavalier approach to a $17 trillion national debt and an annual trillion dollar deficit, it would make far more sense if he announced he was going to teach our young people how to shoot baskets?

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.

Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
Author website: http://www.burtprelutsky.com/
  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.silverman.9 Phil Silverman

    I’m fed up with Bill since he joined the Despise Obama 24-7 team. But brother you wish you could wash his socks. He’s got about 40 years experience and is insightful and funny. he has Libs on because he said a long time ago he tries to keep fair and balanced.

  • wally12

    Well said. I also watch O’Reilly. I find many of his initial comments are stated well and that in general I agree with. Like you, I find the show goes down hill especially when some of the left get their say. Even though I find Colmes a nut job, I still enjoy him proving it when he is on. I feel sorry for M. Crowley since she has to put up with his nutty statements since she is related through marriage. I find that O’Reilly is clueless when it comes to anything regarding economics so I tune into Cavuto and Dobbs for their take. I like Dobb’s chalk talk. He presents some interesting facts. Miller makes me laugh although I don’t have a clue at times what he says. His vocabulary is too high for me.

  • bearmountain

    O’Rilly a BLOWHARD? Come on! he is much worse than that. I do the same as you Burt. Fast forward. When the big mouth has an interesting guest it would be so nice if he allowed them to actually speak. Too much $$$, too few friends.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gwehling Gail Wehling

    I watch them also. Love the panel with Brett but must admit that sometimes I want to pop Juan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/douglas.makinen Douglas Makinen

    The problem Burt, is that you are trying to apply logic and common sense to some of these issues facing our country. Sorry to say it but those days are over and I can point to the fact that people didn’t get enough during the previous four dismal years in our history. When the educational institutions and mass media are pushing the new agenda, you are going to have a long hard road back to what we used to know as a decent society.

  • Mollywashington

    Oh gee–O’Reilly is just a humble simple man. At least that’s what he tells us. In truth he is a self-serving ,arrogant, bore. Sill we record him for much the same reasons as you do. Ww fast forward through much of it. Last night only watched about 5 minutes. Sorry Laura Ingram didn’t walk off when he treated her so badly.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Molly: Humble he’s not. Simpleminded he is.

      Burt

    • http://www.facebook.com/phil.silverman.9 Phil Silverman

      Laura wrote a racist book called THE OBAMA DIARIES, yes she did. no “race card” stuff here. She hates Michelle Obama for whatever wierd reason. she mocks her: once on Bill’s show and he called her an “ideologue”; and Larry King asked her to read from the DIARIES and when she read as “Michelle” she took on a stereotypical Black Southern accent.

  • JimBobElrod

    Burt, back in the day, a pejorative term for Catholics that we sometimes used was “mackerel snapper”. This was in reference to their Friday consumption of fish. If Ms. Ingraham wasn’t already a Catholic, maybe she could try out this term on Mr. O’Reilly to help him see why some folks might object to “Bible-thumper”.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    Bible-thumpers aren’t Christians as a whole, but a subset of Christians. And that email to O’Reilly you quoted there is four lines long — far from “pithy.”

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Cyberquill: My earlier messages were shorter. But this time I had more to say. And if you had actually read what I wrote in the article, I referred specifically to fundamentalists and evangelicals. I think you merely got carried away with trying to get the better of me. Try harder next time.

      Burt

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

        You wrote that “bible thumper” was a derogatory term for a Christian, especially (NOT “specifically”) a fundamentalist or evangelical.

  • Wheels55

    O’Reilly can get overbearing. If you disagree with him, he will likely not let you talk. I used to think he only did that to the likes of Beckel and Colmes (who deserve to be shouted down). But, it is the Bill show and he has to like you.

    I too like Bret Baier’s show. I think his news show and Megan Kelly’s show are two of the best.

    If Obama just does away with White House parties and cuts back on his and his familiy’s vacations, we will save many times more than his lousy 5%. His is definitely not a lead by example guy.

    Let me run this by you: I think the “in-your-face” sequestration cuts are not only a way to show how painful cutting government is to the public, but also the easiest cuts to add back to the budget later on. If Obama had cut the way a responsible person would have – like limit expensive conferences, redundant meetings & other behind the scenes expenses – then the general public would not feel a thing and wonder why government did not cut those costs a long time ago.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Wheels: I agree with you. Obama doesn’t have a decent or responsible bone in his body. But 51% of the voters chose to re-elect him. That’s the really scary thing.

      Burt

      • Wheels55

        Indeed scary. TV is too full of American Idol type shows where one votes for the best looking, best singer, best dancer. I think we, as a nation, have forgotten just how serious political voting truly is.
        Let all who wait in long lines for TSA body feels remember who they voted for.

    • proudtobealiberal

      I can’t believe you people think that liberals deserve to be shouted down. In fact, I bet you wish they would die. You dehumanize liberals so much. Beckel and Colmes deserve as much respect as the next human being.

      • Burt Prelutsky

        proud: Wheels is entitled to his opinion, as are you. But you’re not entitled to suggest that any one commenter speaks for all of us. For one thing, Beckel and Colmes are a pair of ignorant oafs, and do not deserve as much respect as people who aren’t. And when you say that you bet we people wish all liberals dead, I suspect you’re sharing with us your own wish where conservatives are concerned. Speaking for myself, I do not wish all liberals dead; I just wish they wouldn’t vote or hold public office.

        Burt

      • Wheels55

        A little angry are we?
        I think Beckel and Colmes say some of the dumbest things. However, it is their job to talk for the left. I also bet they are nice guys and I would like them if I ever met them. So, no, I don’t wish anyone dead just because I disagree with them. Not even you.
        I actually believe liberals are in fact human. Dumb-asses, but human.

        • http://www.facebook.com/phil.silverman.9 Phil Silverman

          Beckel says dumb things. yeah. Gutfeld *never* does. :)

  • GlenFS

    I’m a believer who was not offended at O’Reilly’s Bible thumping comment. His point was valid, that the secular world where the argument must be won will not be convinced by throwing out texts from the good book. I was not offended further, because Bible thumping is always poor, judgemental behavior which is never appreciated by those on the other end of the thumping. Not all believers are Bible thumpers, and those who engage in it should stop.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Glen: What was offensive was that O’Reilly, who regards himself as brilliant, didn’t understand that he was using a derogatory term…and got angry with Ingraham for merely pointing out that fact. And that was the same show on which he told his viewers not to be–his word of the day–prescient.

      Not exactly his shining hour.

      Burt

  • RickonhisHarleyJohnson

    I too, watch O’Reilly for the people you mentioned. I’ll flip channels or read, stopping for pretty much your same ‘watch’ list, Burt. He has never posted any of my emails either – gave up sending them. He seems to show two types of emails; applause for himself, or Floyd R. Turbo sounding types – so he can make fun of people.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Rick: I’m sure we could get our letters posted if we mentioned how much we loved his books and had just spent our last dollar buying tickets to watch him and Dennis Miller, although when I can barely get through their five-minute Miller Time segments, I can’t imagine people paying good money to sit and watch them for two hours.

      Burt

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Borden/1075346246 Paul Borden

    My wife and I used to watch O’Reilly on a regular basis, but, frankly, I got tired of him going on his rants and speaking (shouting) over his guests with the excuse that he was just stopping them from putting out spin. He has become more and more sanctimonious. Since I stopped watching, I find my evenings a lot more enjoyable now. Thank goodness the DVR I finally got and the opportunity to record old movies! (FYI, the best ones seem to be on at 2 in the morning.)

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Paul: I still think O’Reilly’s show is okay if you record it first and then fast-forward through the lousy parts. But I, too, prefer old movies. Well, some of them.

      Burt

  • http://www.facebook.com/todd.zaino Todd Zaino

    I’d like O’Reilly much better if he’d stop interrupting his guests. Great essay Burt. I too laughed out loud at Barry’s basketball miscues…his wanting to lecture youths about financial responsibities is just too much. We would. see better results from Bill Clinton being a chaperone of a Swedish bikini volleyball team.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Todd: For O’Reilly to ever stop interrupting guests, he would have to have his mouth taped shut. Now there’s an idea.

      Burt

      • http://www.facebook.com/phil.silverman.9 Phil Silverman

        how about a debate between you and O’Reilly?…no notes, no earpiece, eh? who would win within 38 seconds?

    • http://www.facebook.com/phil.silverman.9 Phil Silverman

      “Barry’s basketball miscues”? sounds incredibly racist to me? I’m gonna Tweet that one! :)

      • John Daly

        I’m sure your dozen Twitter followers have been on the edge of their seats, just waiting for you next obsessive, b.s. tweet about the content on this website, Phil.

        Oh, and while you’re at it, how about actually taking three seconds to look up what Todd’s actually talking about:
        http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-basketball-game-easter-egg-roll-2013-4

        The fact that you would immediately think of skin color when someone mentions our president and basketball in the same sentence reveals who’s really the one perpetuating a racial stereotype, don’t you think?

        How about being a man, and apologizing to Todd now?

  • Bruce A.

    My Beagle & I fall asleep every night to O’Reilly.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Learn to bottle it in liquid form, Bruce, and make millions.

      Burt

  • artlouis

    Run it by me again, please. Why do you watch O’Reilly?

    • Burt Prelutsky

      art: I watch him for Krauthammer, Lou Dobbs, Bernie Goldberg, Megyn Kelly and Brit Hume. I watch him for the same reason that I and others used to watch Ed Sullivan. It wasn’t for Sullivan, a man of little talent and even less personality, it was for some of the people who appeared on his show.

      Burt

      • artlouis

        OK. But I don’t recall that Sullivan used to interrupt his guests constantly. He did pre-censor the rock artists, but he didn’t break into the songs while they were performed. O’Reilly’s need to make it all about him makes his show unbearable.

        • Burt Prelutsky

          art: I understand, but you asked and I explained.

          Burt