Saturday, September 13, 2008

No Spin Zone

Memo to Bill O'Reilly: Congratulations on your four-installment interview with Barack Obama. Your questions were poignant. You succeeded in finally forcing him to credit the surge in Iraq a success. Your journey required him to answer domestic concerns and explain his associations with William Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The viewer can decide for himself if Obama was straight forward or a phony. But the problem as in most of your interviews with newsmakers is you. The purpose of these media interviews is to elicit information and responses and not your personal opinions. We know them. We heard them before. I have no problem with confrontational interviews as long as they are a clash of facts. The late Tim Russert was the best in his profession at that. I realize that is not your style and you made your bones and a lot of money for you and Fox network by being opinionated. But too often you cross that invisible line because of an inflated ego under the mask of your self-imposed boundaries of a no spin zone. Using your own words, you bloviate too often. It makes for good entertainment. It detracts from good journalism. How often have I seen you at work and shouted at the television set: "Shut up and let the man talk." What is annoying is that after an interview such as Obama you follow with a segment of friendly pundits asking them not so much what they gleened from the interview but how tough you were. Earth to Planet O'Reilly: the interview was not about you but the other guy. Furthermore, you step into self-promotion by posting a poll on your website grading your Obama interview from A to F. I will never issue you an A until you learn to lower the personal rhetoric. In true confession, I do make an effort to watch your show if for no other reason to receive a different perspective on the issues of the day. However, when you go on one of many of your personal crusades, I channel switch to Keith Olbermann's Countdown show. Bill, I think that guy's got your number. Your ego and bluster has earned you "Worst Person in the World" honors so often even Keith has lost count. You shouldn't take it personally. Your antics are similar to those of Los Angeles Dodgers start Manny Ramirez -- you know, Manny being Manny.

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