Conservative political commentator needs own checks, balances system

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Bill O’Reilly did it again. Then again – no surprise.

Recently on “The O’Reilly Factor,” O’Reilly compared Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. He said that after the Huffington Post ran an article about how Nancy Reagan was hospitalized after falling in Bel-Air, Calif., on Sunday, a number of bloggers were allowed to leave distasteful and crude comments on the Post’s message boards.

O’Reilly gave the following example on his own Web site, billoreilly.com.

“Like her evil husband,” one of the commentators said, “she has lived far too long. Here’s hoping the hag suffers for several weeks, then croaks in the tub.”

Vicious, no doubt. Unfortunately, O’Reilly did what no other can do in the same style: make an idiot of himself.

“If you look back at what happened in Germany,” O’Reilly said on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Feb. 27, “you cannot escape the similarities – what Hitler and his cutthroats did back then and the hate-filled blogs, what they’re doing now … Today we’re seeing the same thing on the Net.”

Later in the same segment, he summed it all up: “I don’t see a difference between [Arianna] Huffington and the Nazis.”

Recently, O’Reilly has set his sights on left-wing blogs, message boards and who he considers irresponsible Internet users who smear conservatives. Media Matters for America, DailyKos and Moveon.org have been just a few of O’Reilly’s targets. The Huffington Post is now among the ranks.

Likewise, O’Reilly is on the front lines when it comes to blogging. Not a bad cause – unless you take sides, in which case O’Reilly should have no say.

O’Reilly’s Web site has forums in which members can discuss their opinions on issues. However, on July 24, 2007, special guest Howard Wolfson, communications director for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, pointed out some distasteful posts about illegal immigrants made on the forum.

“That’s bull,” O’Reilly said in response. “We know what you’re going to say because the Kos planted somebody in there.”

By Kos, he meant the liberal blog DailyKos.

Way to solve that problem, Bill. Blame liberals.

Liberal bloggers are obviously never out of O’Reilly’s sight. However, it’s strange how some conservative bloggers manage to slip by him.

Take conservative blogger and pundit Michelle Malkin for example. In her blog on Aug. 12, 2006, Malkin wrote about how the anti-war group Students Against War protested military recruitment at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Not only did Malkin voice her opinion about the escalating protests – which she had the right to do – but she posted some students’ personal information on her own blog. These students of SAW began receiving death threats shortly after.

Bottom line: Bill O’Reilly is the last person who can say anything about online bloggers when he can’t even control the most radical elements of his own wing. I’ve seen the posts and comments from the left that O’Reilly always brings up. However, I’ve also seen the same thing on conservative blogs. Apparently, O’Reilly can’t see such problems, even in Michelle Malkin’s case, when the offenses are nearly inches away from a felony. Why didn’t O’Reilly do anything about it?

Don’t get me wrong here. O’Reilly is a passionate commentator with his “man against the world” view on life. Since 1999, he has gradually evolved from some nameless commentator into an American icon. His biggest flaw: his ego. Now that he can no longer achieve his high by attacking Sept. 11 “truthers,” France, and liberal commentator Al Franken, he seems to have his sights on the Internet.

Technology is as much a blessing as it is a curse. And if someone can’t take the heat, that lucky person shouldn’t have a computer in the first place.

“In order for a country to be truly free, people must be responsible and fair-minded,” O’Reilly wrote on his own blog. “Right now, I believe the Internet is taking us in the opposite direction.”

Remember, Bill, hypocrisy is spelled with a big fat “H.”

Grady Bolding is a junior in theatre. Please send comments to [email protected]

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