Movie Friday: Bill O’Reilly makes sense

Not USUALLY, not GENERALLY, but in this clip he actually sounds like he’s payed attention to the arguments from the other side:

There are people out there who, despite having had something explained to them a metric fuckton of times, still profess not to understand the issue. I ran into this with Mallorie Nasrallah a few months ago, where she claimed to have read the criticisms of her obsequious love letter to the patriarchy, but couldn’t understand why people were so upset. I have devised a clever scheme for such circumstances: ask your opponent to summarize your argument, and offer to do the same in reverse. That way, the propensity to strawman can be identified early, and dealt with.

So it was with some surprise that I watched Bill O’Reilly offer what is a pretty cogent defense of the pro-gay-marriage position. So cogent, in fact, that he appears to stump faith-head Kirk Cameron, such that he (Kirk) has to derail his own line of ‘reasoning’ and claim not to have a position. Which, of course, raises the question of why Bill seems ever-eager to bring up the same canards when it suits him to do so. Then again, in order to be surprised by Bill O’Reilly being a hypocrite, you’d have to assume he’s a normal person with scruples.

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  1. ischemgeek says

    I have to say I’m pleasently surprised with O’Reilly for his position on the issue… He mentioned somewhere (I forget where) that he knows a few gay couples who are good friends of his family. I think that’s the kicker: It’s hard to demonize and dehumanize a target group (which, unless you’re completely devoid of human emotion, is necessary before you can argue it’s okay to deny them rights and abuse them) if you happen to know and care for some of them.

    I do recognize that there are people who don’t need to dehumanize and demonize a population before arguing for its oppression, but I think O’Reilly isn’t one of them. Mainly because every now and again, like here, he’ll show a flash of empathy when it would be better for his career to suppress it.

    With that in mind, if he happened to know someone personally who was bankrupted by out-of-the-blue medical bills that the insurance company wriggled out of (or, better yet, if the person in question doesn’t have insurance at all), I wonder if his attitude toward public health care would improve. Or if his daughter has to deal with some sexual harrassment as she enters her teens (I hope not, but North American culture being what it is, the experience is more likely than not), would his opinion on sexism and sexual harrassment change?

    Or would he compartmentalize like some people with similar views that I know and argue that okay, in this one case that was true but that was a freak instance and it’s not the rule in society as a whole?

    Pointless speculation, but I like to entertain it sometimes.

  2. says

    I don’t want to be cynical, but this is Kirk “The Bananaman” Cameron.

    It’s not terribly difficult to seem well-informed next to him.

    But I’ll give O’Reilly some credit. He does appear uncharacteristically reasonable.

  3. says

    Kirk is quite a piece of work, but he gets argued to a stop by someone who, presumably, would take his side on most issues. Also, RAY is the Banana Man. Kirk is Banana Boy.

  4. ButchKitties says

    It’s because of moments like this that I suspect O’Reilly isn’t a dumb as he typically acts on his show. I think he plays dumb because it’s profitable. Real idiots will happily shell out money to hear their views parroted on TV.

    I don’t see this as a redeeming feature. If anything, it makes his usual schtick even more intolerable.

  5. Rieux says

    Jon Stewart has argued that O’Reilly is the most reasonable commentator FNC puts on the air. Obviously that’s a very, very low bar, but he could very well be right.

  6. says

    Maybe not pointless speculation. Jarreg did a post partly on right-wing-authoritarianism and the effect “knowing a person who______”
    can have on changing the minds of those with typically unchangeable minds.

    He links to the author who has researched RWA heavily.
    If you want to read his stuff, at least one thing is available for free download. Learning about RWA is a pretty fun read imo.

  7. ischemgeek says

    I’m currently reading an e-book about RWA. My mother is a strong RWA (she used to be moderate, but took a hard turn toward authoritarianism when I was in my teens, not sure why), so it has interest for me. Kiiinda eerie though when every chapter that describes a different aspect of these people describes someone in your immediate family to a T, though.

    Thanks for the link, I’ll be sure to check it out.

  8. Rilian says

    Mike Seaver guy says there aren’t a lot of movies geared toward xtians? Guh, where has he been?

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