Mike Kueber's Blog

February 25, 2015

Bill O’Reilly vis-à-vis Brian Williams

Filed under: Media — Mike Kueber @ 7:44 pm
Tags: , , ,

If you depend on FOX News for your news, you might be under the impression that Bill O’Reilly has successfully defended himself against liberal attempts to paint him with the same broad brush that took down Brian Williams. As Bernard McGuirk stated this morning on Imus in the Morning, Williams was guilty of the mortal sin of “stolen valor,” whereas O’Reilly had shown unquestionably that his claims of war-zone reporting had not been embellished.

But fortunately, I don’t get all my news from FOX. I also get news from the NT Times, and the Times this morning included an article on O’Reilly suggesting that the charges of “self-aggrandizing rhetoric” by this “professional provocateur…. have since been substantiated by other journalists in Argentina at the time.”

My inclination is to agree with the Times. O’Reilly often brags about covering “war zones,” including the Falklands war zone in the early 80s. Well, the only Falklands war hostilities occurred on or near the islands, not 1,000 miles away in Buenos Aires. O’Reilly admits that he didn’t report from the Falklands because only one reporter was allowed on the Islands, and that reporter wasn’t him.  But somehow O’Reilly want to defend his “war zone” claim by arguing that the war was reported by all but one reporter from Buenos Aires. The response to that argument is that only one reporter, then, gets to claim war-zone reporting on his resume.

O’Reilly tries to work his way around this obstacle by discussing the dangerous post-war rioting in Buenos Aires. That’s fine if O’Reilly wants to claim riot reporting, but not war reporting. The riots in Buenos Aires were of local Argentinians protesting against their government for losing the war in the Falklands. Domestic riots do not qualify for war zones.

And getting back to McGuirk’s comment about Williams’s “stolen valor,” I fail to see any meaningful distinction between Williams falsely claiming his helicopter was hit by enemy fire and O’Reilly falsely claiming that he reported from a war zone. Both are suggesting front-line activity that never happened.

The Times article also pointed out fairly why O’Reilly’s faux pas will not likely lead to his demise, like Williams’s did:

  • There are other differences between the two controversies. The incident at the center of Mr. O’Reilly’s occurred more than 30 years ago; Mr. Williams’s happened in 2003. And his accusers are journalists, not military veterans as they were in Mr. Williams’s case. But the most meaningful point of distinction — and the reason Mr. O’Reilly’s job is almost certainly safe — is that he is not an anchorman, with all of the cultural weight that title carries.”

I agree. Even O’Reilly’s fans know that he is a braggart with an outsize ego. Consistent with that reputation is his oft-mentioned claim of being a Harvard man who grew up in Levittown. But while reading his Wikipedia bio, I learned that is not really true. Although O’Reilly, grew up in Levittown, he went to college at Marist, and then after a few years of teaching, he earned a Masters at Boston University. And finally, more 20 years later and after becoming a VIP, he obtained a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard.

So much for the implication that this poor Irish kid from Levittown was brilliant enough to get into Harvard. As we used to say back in North Dakota, he seems to be a legend in his own mind.

November 2, 2012

Bernard McGuirk and Hurricane Sandy

Filed under: Issues,Media,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 1:20 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Bernard McGuirk, a regular social commentator on the Don Imus talk show, finally returned to the show today after being stranded on Long Island for several days.  His principal contribution to the show is a segment titled “Bernie’s Briefing” at the bottom of every hour, during which he plays brief clips of various personalities saying provocative or outrageous things.  One of today’s clips showed Rush Limbaugh complaining about NJ Governor Chris Christie’s love fest with President Obama over his handling of NJ’s Hurricane Sandy problems.  

According to McGuirk, Limbaugh’s complaint is outrageous because Christie and Obama displaying their concern for New Jersey’s affected residents is more important than the Rush’s concern that their photo ops will negatively affect the most important presidential election in decades.  McGuirk, a resident of New York, wished his governor, Andrew Cuomo, displayed similar concern.

Actually, Governor Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bloomberg specifically disinvited President Obama from inspecting the damage in New York because they felt such a visit would distract and detract from the ongoing emergency relief efforts.  Ironically, George W. Bush was greatly criticized by the Democrats and the media for failing to immediately inspect the Hurricane Katrina damage in New Orleans even when he explained that he didn’t want to distract and detract from the ongoing emergency relief efforts.

Perhaps when McGuirk has acclimated himself to being back in civilization, he will realize that there are others besides conservatives like Rush Limbaugh who recognize the boon that Christie afforded the undeserving Obama.  Even the Washington Post reported on Christie’s generous gift of this Commander-in-Chief moment. 

p.s., with all of the lessons learned from Katrina, I wonder what Obama would have done if confronted by 100,000 helpless victims crying for relief in Madison Square Garden.  Thankfully, America has only one New Orleans.

October 28, 2010

Don Imus

Imus in the Morning has been my favorite talk show for many years.  I love Don Imus’ interviews with reporters, columnists, politicians, and authors.  I love his repartee with news guy Charles McCord, resident redneck Bernard McGuirk, sports guy Warner Wolf, and comedians Rob Bartlett and Tony Powell.  And I love his politics – left and right of center, at the same time.  Although he can be mean, sarcastic, and narcissistic, his heart is in the right place.   

I watched Imus on MSNBC for years while reading the morning paper and getting ready for work.  Then on April 4, 2007, he and McGuirk decided to insult the appearance of the girls on the Rutgers’ basketball team, with Imus calling them “nappy-headed hos.”  Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton called for Imus’ head; even Barack Obama piled on.  One week later, Imus was fired. 

Although I was devastated by the firing, I had to move on.  But nothing really took his place.  Eventually, Imus in the Morning returned to an obscure TV network (RFD) that my cable provider didn’t provide.  Then last year, when the show moved to Fox Business News, I thought I was in luck, but instead I was disappointed to learn that my Time Warner cable package, which included hundreds of stations, didn’t include Fox Business News.  Although I could purchase another tier of stations that included Fox Business News for only $7, I kept putting off the purchase until I finally got around to doing it a couple of months ago. 

Purchasing the cable tier that included Imus in the Morning was one of the best purchases I have made in a long time.  Happy days are here again.  Although I still enjoy listening to Mike & Mike in the Morning, a sports talk show on ESPN2 at the same time, I usually prefer political talk over sports talk, especially following a weekend when both the Vikings and Longhorns lost. 

Last week, one of Imus’ guests asked him where he went to college, and Imus responded that he never went to college.  Neither did Charles McCord, he said.  That shocked the guest and me because Imus comes across as well read and cosmopolitan, and most of us associate those things with a college education.  But it didn’t shock my conservative friend, Kevin Brown, who says that popular talk-show hosts typically don’t have college educations.  He mentioned Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh.  By way of contrast, he suggested than unpopular talk-show hosts have elite educations – e.g., Anderson Cooper went to Yale, Rachel Maddow went to Stanford, and Keith Olbermann went to Cornell.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Popular and elite don’t mix.  Just ask John Kerry.