I’m not a big fan of Bill O’Reilly. I think he’s a pompous blowhard. I think he’s a good journalist, and his cultural concerns are valid. I think the way he expresses himself could be improved, but let’s face it– he’s Irish. I’m Irish. We’re both stubborn.
But I want to compare O’Reilly’s appearance on Oprah to Frank Rich’s appearance on Oprah. In particular, I want to call attention to the questions from the audience.
(Requisite props to the YouTubers who posted the O’Reilly stuff, and to Ms. Underestimated who was gracious enough to post the entire Frank Rich interview on her server.)
First, watch both episodes. Or, do what I did: download the eps and then fast forward through the episodes. Watch for questions from the audience.
Grr. The YouTube O’Reilly spots have been taken down. But fortunately I found a feed over at Foxnews-follies.com under “BizzarO’reilly on Oprah“. I hope this link works. If it doesn’t, you need to download the quicktime plugin. It worked for me, although I had to squint the entire time.
Notice that Frank Rich never has anyone screaming at him, apart from the woman who wants answers from the Bush Administration. And most of Oprah’s audience is women. Seems like a normal Oprah audience, right?
Now, look at O’Reilly’s audience. I’ve never seen so many men in an Oprah audience. Not to mention Mr. Hair (you’ll know who I’m talking about) taking on O’Reilly. He seems very well spoken and groomed.
I was actually surprised that both African American commenters (both male) from the audience were both pro-war. Certainly O’Reilly brought out the fire in so many people’s bellies.
But I began to wonder. How did Oprah’s audience get so stacked against O’Reilly? Why are so many men in Oprah’s audience? I’m thinking the producers got wind of Bill O’s appearance and loaded the deck against O’Reilly, who really performed well. He’s perfectly suited to the aggressive, no-holds-barred interview, and setting up this forum actually played to his strengths. Unfortunately, it seemed to degenerate to a shouting match.
I’ll also point out that Rich had a good deal of time to bloviate, whereas O’Reilly spent much of his time responding to audience questions, rants and accusations.
Still, props to Oprah who kept her cool during the entire show. And it seemed she actually read both books. Hats off to her. (I don’t think Oprah had the audience loaded for her show (that was her staff’s doing), but she certainly seemed to enjoy the heated discussions.)
Now if we can only get her to bring on Nobel Laureates.