Three University of Indiana scholars just released a "content analysis" of O'Reilly's trademark "Talking Points Memo," the brief commentary with which he opens his daily Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor." The authors begin by informing us, with some consternation, that four in 10 Americans actually think O'Reilly is "a journalist." But after many charts and numbers, they conclude that he's really just a big right-wing bully.Well, no wonder the Rovian ploy of calling people names first and then letting the target deal with the flack is used by many a right wing blogger as a surrogate for logical argument. They take the lead from such talking heads as O'Reilly.
No, those aren't their words. Being scholarly types, they favor phrases such as "O'Reilly injects fear into his commentaries," and they punctiliously compare O'Reilly's rhetoric to that used by 1930s radio broadcaster Father Charles Coughlin, whose pro-fascist rants made him infamous.
But O'Reilly leaves Coughlin in the shade. When it comes to "name-calling," for instance (which the study helpfully defines as giving "a person or idea a bad label to make the audience reject them without examining the evidence"), Coughlin's radio broadcasts averaged 3.42 incidents per minute, while O'Reilly managed an impressive 8.88 name-calling incidents per minute — an insult every 6.8 seconds!
In sum, the report concludes, "It is fair to say that O'Reilly emerged as a name-caller."
Well, color me crazy, but I think we need to give the guy a little credit here. Do you think it's easy to engage in name-calling every 6.8 seconds? It's not. To match O'Reilly's performance, I would have to insult people 35.52 times in the course of this column.
Well, you can mark the author of the above column down for one insult for not knowing that Indiana University does not like its moniker flipped to the common mistake made by those outside of Indiana by calling my Alma Mater “University of Indiana” (for no such place exists).
Blog on friends; Blog on all.