Tuesday, January 10, 2006

David Letterman Torches Bill O'Reilly

Yes, I know this is almost a week old, but I've gotten so many e-mails asking why I never mentioned this, that I'm posting it on a better-late-than-never basis. Fox News blowhard Bill O'Reilly appeared on David Letterman's show last week and it was clear that Letterman did not buy – or like – O'Reilly's little act.

Video links are at the bottom, but here's some good excerpts. The first is Letterman calling O'Reilly on the bogus "war on Christmas" Fox managed to create.
Letterman: I mean but isn't this the kind of thing uh uh once or twice every twenty years somebody gets outraged and says oh by god we gotta put diapers on horses isn't it just about, it's just so what, let it go, it'll take care of itself.

O'Reilly: No. There is a movement in this country by politically correct people to erode traditions and the Christmas tradition is the most cherished in the country. Look. How absurd is it?

Letterman: But I don't -

[talking over one another]

Letterman: I don't feel threatened.

O'Reilly: It's not matter of you feel threatened.

Letterman: I don't this is an actual threat. I think this is something that happened here and it happened there and so people like you are trying to make us think that it's a threat.

O'Reilly: Wrong.

Letterman: Because nobody said happy holidays to me and then said Merry Christmas, oh I can't say Merry Christmas.

O'Reilly: Well, here's why it gets to be more than that, because it's in court. there are lawsuits. in Plano Texas, another grammar school, umm the kids were told not to bring in Christmas colors like napkins that are red and green. That's in court; that's being litigated. Now you can say 'Oh, that's just a little thing, it doesn't affect you,' but it isn't. The erosion of the culture and the protection of tradition is important in this country.

Letterman: Yea, but are we really describing an erosion here? It's two examples one in Wisconsin and one in Texas.

O'Reilly: I got a million of them.

Letterman: Oh, you got a million of them? Okay. Fine.

O'Reilly: Umm, and they're funny ones. Memphis, Tennessee, Bible Belt, library. They have a little display where you can, say you are in a duck hunting club you can bring in a dead duck and put it there and advertise you duck hunting club. We kill ducks. Show up at 9 o'clock and we'll blow some ducks out of the air. Okay. There was a church that wanted to advertise a Christmas pageant so they brought in the manger scene and the library said you can the manger scene in Memphis Tennessee, but you can't have the baby Jesus, Joseph, or Mary or the wise men. We're not sure about the shepherds. That was a big debate. Now, how stupid and crazy is this?

Letterman: I don't believe you.

O'Reilly: It's true.

Letterman: I don't believe you. I don't...I don't believe you.

O'Reilly: You think I'm making this up?

Letterman: I do.
Here's what took place after O'Reilly took his daily swipe at Cindy Sheehan. (Because, after all, you're not a real man unless you're bad-mouthing a mother who lost a son in the Iraq war.)
O'Reilly: .... Cindy Sheehan called the insurgents 'freedom fighters,' we don't like that. It is a vitally important time in American history. And we should all take it very seriously. Be very careful with what we say.

Letterman: Well, and you should be very careful with what you say also.

[audience applause]

O'Reilly: Give me an example.

Letterman: How can you possibly take exception with the motivation and the position of someone like Cindy Sheehan?

O'Reilly: Because I think she's run by far-left elements in this country. I feel bad for the woman.

Letterman: Have you lost family members in armed conflict?

O'Reilly: No, I have not.

Letterman: Well, then you can hardly speak for her, can you?


O'Reilly: I'm not speaking for her. Let me ask you this question.

Letterman: [referring back to O'Reilly's phony "War on Christmas"] Let's go back to your little red and green stories.

O'Reilly: This is important, this is important. Cindy Sheehan lost a son, a professional soldier in Iraq, correct? She has a right to grieve any way she wants, she has a right to say whatever she wants. When she says to the public that the insurgents and terrorists are 'freedom fighters' how do you think, David Letterman, that makes people who lost loved ones, by these people blowing the Hell out of them, how do you think they feel, what about their feelings, sir?

Letterman: What about, why are we there in the first place? [applause] The President himself, less than a month ago said we are there because of a mistake made in intelligence. Well, whose intelligence? It was just somebody just get off a bus and handed it to him?

O'Reilly: No.

Letterman: No, it was the intelligence gathered by his administration.

O'Reilly: By the CIA.

Letterman: Yeah, so why are we there in the first place? I agree to you, with you that we have to support the troops. They are there, they are the best and the brightest of this country. [audience applause] There's no doubt about that. And I also agree that now we're in it it's going to take a long, long time. People who expect it's going to be solved and wrapped up in a couple of years, unrealistic, it's not going to happen. However, however, that does not eliminate the legitimate speculation and concern and questioning of Why the Hell are we there to begin with?

O'Reilly: If you want to question that, and then revamp an intelligence agency that's obviously flawed, the CIA, okay. But remember, MI-6 in Britain said the same thing. Putin's people in Russia said the same thing, and so did Mubarak's intelligence agency in Egypt.

Letterman: Well then that makes it all right?

O'Reilly: No it doesn't make it right.

Letterman: That intelligence agencies across the board makes it alright that we're there?

O'Reilly: It doesn't make it right.

Letterman: See, I'm very concerned about people like yourself who don't have nothing but endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan. Honest to Christ.

[audience applause]

O'Reilly: No, I'm sorry.

Letterman: Honest to Christ.

O'Reilly: No way. [waits for applause to die down] No way you're going to get me, no way that a terrorist who blows up women and children.

Letterman: Do you have children?

O'Reilly: Yes I do. I have a son the same age as yours. No way a terrorist who blows up women and children is going to be called a freedom fighter on my program.

[mild audience applause]

Letterman: I'm not smart enough to debate you point to point on this, but I have the feeling, I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap. [audience laughter] But I don't know that for a fact.

[more audience applause]

Paul Shafer: Sixty percent.

Letterman: Sixty percent. I'm just spit-balling here.

O'Reilly: Listen, I respect your opinion. You should respect mine.


Letterman: Well, ah, I, okay. But I think you're-

O'Reilly: Our analysis is based on the best evidence we can get.

Letterman: Yeah, but I think there's something, this fair and balanced. I'm not sure that it's, I don't think that you represent an objective viewpoint.

O'Reilly: Well, you're going to have to give me an example if you're going to make those claims.

Letterman: Well I don't watch your show so that would be impossible.

O'Reilly: Then why would you come to that conclusion if you don't watch the program?

Letterman: Because of things that I've read, things that I know.

O'Reilly: Oh come on, you're going to take things that you've read. You know what say about you? Come on. Watch it for a couple, look, watch it for a half hour. You'll get addicted. You'll be a Factor fan, we'll send you a hat.

Letterman: You'll send me a hat. Well, send Cindy Sheehan a hat.
You can watch the whole thing, courtesy of CBS here and Crooks and Liars has a clip of one of the best parts. The most revealing part is how Letterman looks by the time this segment is over – like he just wants to get this guy off the stage so he can wipe the slime off his guest chair.

Here's the kicker: O'Reilly once lauded Letterman's perceptive interviewing style.

"The late-night program hosted by David Letterman is the toughest interview show on television," wrote O'Reilly in a 2001 column. "That's because Mr. Letterman is a smart guy who can spot a phony with telescopic accuracy and expects his guests to bring something to the table. If a guest begins to sink on this show, the bottom is a long way down."

And so it is, Bill. So it is.