Rant of the Day award goes to Timothy Egan in the NYTimes, discussing “Bill O’Reilly’s Gift for the Ages”:
It’s been nearly two weeks now since Bill O’Reilly’s interview with President Obama on Super Bowl Sunday, and in the No Spin Zone of the host’s pretend world he’s still spinning the chat as the greatest conversation since Winston Churchill dined alone.
His sit-down with the president, he said, “is going to go down in journalistic history as what should be done.” And in case historians are late to the same conclusion, O’Reilly is auctioning off the notes of his questions — “they are obviously one of a kind,” he says.
Let us now praise the Bombastic One’s gift to posterity. His interview, his notes, all the ephemera should be preserved and studied. The sickness that infects news and politics, and its commensurate cynicism, can be directly traced to the creation of Fox News — “a political operation that employs journalists,” in the words of Gabriel Sherman, author of the new book on Roger Ailes, “The Loudest Voice in the Room.” There is no bigger media story in the last 50 years than the creation of a news network run by political hacks, says Sherman. I’m inclined to agree.
But just as important, civility itself took a dive with the rise of Fox, and has never recovered. The shouters, the boasters, the haters who show up at town hall meetings or pollute the Web with dark fantasies get their behavioral cues from Fox. O’Reilly is famous for telling guests to “shut up,” for cutting off people he disagrees with, for smugly praising his own performances and bringing on sycophants to do the same. By comparison, Ron Burgundy is a model of humility…
Apart from Amateur Night (I’ve been sleeping with the same person for thirty-five years and counting, so everything I know about romance is too idiosyncratic to be generally useful), what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another week?