Bill O'Reilly Really Does Have 'More Power Than the President'

bill o'reilly the o'reilly factorAs much as I loathe the guy's on-air personality, I've got a feeling Bill O'Reilly isn't really a loathsome human being. It's just that it's his shtick to be a FOX News talking head, doing his job, riling up the masses. And that's why I'm not exactly surprised he recently came out with a totally inflammatory comment when discussing his new book (a historical thriller about the Lincoln assassination) about how he has "more power than anybody other than the president, in the sense that [he] can get things changed, quickly."

At first glimpse, the comment sounds insane, right? Totally inflated and ridiculous. But, then ... if you think about it ... it's eerily not that far off.


Maybe to say that he personally, individually has that much power is wrong, but if O'Reilly's speaking on behalf of the media as a whole, well, I buy it.

He went on to explain, "I don't have to go through the legislative process; I don't have to do any of that. I can just bring it to the people, and say, look, this has gotta be dealt with." And yes, there's a time and a place for "reporting from a soapbox," but what makes O'Reilly's assertion positively freaky is that wielding that kind of power irresponsibly -- and passing off opinion as FACT -- often ends in disaster.

Just take how FOX News reported the beginnings of the war in Iraq, back in '03. My own mother, who is a lifelong peace-loving liberal, was becoming brainwashed by their uber-flag-waving yabbering about "weapons of mass destruction" and broken-record Bush sound-bytes about smoking terrorists "out of their holes." No matter that the reporting of that time was skewed and filled with outright lies. Thanks to being perpetually in our faces and so alarmist/fear-mongering, FOX reporters -- not Dubya -- may actually be the ones who deserve credit for selling the majority of Americans on a war based on total B.S. 

That's just one example of the serious influence of the media and the power someone like O'Reilly actually has. It's real, it's frightening, and it makes me long for a time when reporters like Walter Cronkite took pride in reporting the news of the day fairly, accurately, and without bias.

Do you think there's truth to O'Reilly's statement?

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