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Hip-Hop News: How Fair and Balanced Is Bill O'Reilly?
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Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
3/14/2004 3:34:19 PM

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It happens seemingly every night.

At 8 and 11, millions of people tune in to watch Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly make mincemeat of yet another ill-prepared soul.

So why can't anyone hold a candle to Mr. O'Reilly, the heavyweight champion of television debate shows? Is he so intelligent that the wealth of knowledge within his noggin always includes something that can be used in his attack? Possibly.

Are his debating skills superior to everyone else's? Probably not.

Could it be that O'Reilly always seems right because he always is right? Not hardly.

O'Reilly's program is called the "The O'Reilly Factor" for a good reason: There are several underlying factors associated with "The Factor" that help swing the advantage to O'Reilly every time. By themselves, these factors don't appear to move the pendulum very much; but working together and in collaboration with O'Reilly's respectable debating skills, these factors result in "advantage O'Reilly" every time.

Let's examine those factors.

The most obvious is that O'Reilly's audience loves him. Despite his claim to be a centrist, O'Reilly is a conservative who, as fellow conservative talk-show host Joe Scarborough told the New York Observer, does a show aimed at a predominantly conservative audience.

But O'Reilly has his audience fooled. In probably the cleverest ruse I've seen in my 20 years, O'Reilly leans to the left on some issues just enough to convince his largely conservative audience that he really is a centrist and that his commentary is "fair and balanced."

The result is that far-out right-wingers tune in night after night for self-gratification. Staunch conservatives take O'Reilly at his claim of being moderate, and because those conservatives find themselves agreeing with O'Reilly most of the time, they begin seeing themselves as unbiased and impartial.

There is evidence that O'Reilly is truly conservative. First of all, he wrote for Townhall.com for more than two years. Townhall.com is a strictly conservative site displaying the viewpoints of such columnists as Kathleen Parker, Jonah Goldberg, Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan.

O'Reilly is also a former registered Republican. And when he takes a left-wing stance, it's often for conservative reasons. For instance, O'Reilly told Playboy magazine recently that he is against capital punishment. But O'Reilly opposes the death penalty because he sees it as an easy way out, an argument that is rooted in conservatism.

Because viewers like O'Reilly and faithfully tune in night after night, they are inclined to agree with him. That brings us to the second factor giving O'Reilly the advantage.

Viewers not only like O'Reilly, but also trust him. O'Reilly therefore can get away with airing mistakes and not correcting himself. He also can get away with being a little less than "fair and balanced."

Al Franken's book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" cites four examples in which O'Reilly gave incorrect information to his audience. Those mistakes swung the argument in O'Reilly's favor, and because of that, O'Reilly never made it a point to correct himself.

Why should he? Using his inaccurate data, O'Reilly won. Correcting himself would force O'Reilly to admit he might have been wrong. And admitting he was wrong could cost O'Reilly some of his audience's faith.

When O'Reilly made

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