The O’Reilly Sphincter

· The O'Reilly Sphincter

As my first post to this blog, I must go to the first in no doubt a series of observations about one of my favorite analysts – Bill O’Reilly. The Bill O’Reilly Sphincter is big and scary, and a place from which many comically distorted facts and shameless self-promotions are pulled. I love Bill O’Reilly. He makes me laugh, he makes me pull out my hair. Anyway, I digress…
Fun with quotes
On yesterday’s Factor, he pulled some outragous-sounding quotes from lefty publications and pronouncements of the day. One, I believe an editorial making a point about the irony that the US military, which doesn’t want gays in the military, is using sodomy and all sorts of nasty sexually humiliating techniques. The second quote made a connection between the human rights movement in context of the war. I’m just pulling this from memory so I forget the details. His point was that the left is so ridiculously extreme that they are equating the human rights movement and gay rights to war and atrocities, thus showing they are so far out there that they completely lack credibility.
Of course, he is completely leaving out the context. Two other major news events of the day were 50th anniversary of the human rights movement, and the MA gay marriage story. So maybe, just maybe a couple people attempted to make clever metaphorical connections between a couple major news stories of the day. We don’t even know if these excerpts represent the key points of the article or statement. But that would be too fair and balanced.
Fun with Statistics
People love misrepresenting surveys. On the Factor, Bill gives the results of a poll showing that 19% of Americans call themselves “Liberals.” So you see, 19% of the country is responsible for pulling the rest way so far to the left that the American way of life is being threatened by a small minority.
Of course, there is more than one question on the typical survey. I presume this survey at the very least also provided options for “moderate” and “conservative”. He somehow didn’t provide this information so I have to use my impressive statistics skills here. What if, for example, 19% also called themselves “conservative” on the same scale? I’m no expert but what this would suggest statistically is what’s called a bell-shaped standard population distribution. I may be wrong, but I wonder why those other numbers were not relevant. Would he have left out the conservative number if it were, say, 50%? An honest assessment of the survey would have given the other numbers. But that would be too fair and balanced.
Fun with self
Another fun thing to do with the O’Reilly Factor is to count the references to himself. They happen in every show. In fact, one of the best segments is the “Most Ridiculous Item of the Day,” segment. It took some exposure to the show for me to realize that what is so ridiculous about the item is that it very frequently is about himself in some way – and I mean directly. I didn’t see last night’s, but here’s an oldie but a goodie: The most ridiculous item one day was that he was about to be interviewed on CNN. That’s it! Ridiculous news item, or ridiculous self-promotion. As they say on Fox: You decide.