Tuesday, May 06, 2008

All The Fear Mongering That Fits: Bill-O Strikes Again


For all kinds of reasons, including the fact that he sometimes pays attention to what goes on up here in Lotusland, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Joel Connelly has long been one of our favorite columnists.

And today he proved his mettle once more by taking Mr. Bill O'Reilly to task, head on, for being the fear mongering bully that he is:

Fox New host Bill O'Reilly assumed full dimensions of self-importance last summer and condemned the Seattle P-I for choosing not to publish pictures circulated by the FBI of two "suspicious" ferry passengers.

The chief commentator at the "fair and balanced" network followed up by making the P-I chief villain of a November commentatary entitled: "Why is the far left putting the military and all Americans in danger?"

O'Reilly sent out an aspiring slayer of straw men, his producer Jesse Walters, to conduct an ambush interview with P-I publisher Roger Oglesby, outside the latter's Seattle home.

"Are you proud of that decision, sir? I mean, they still haven't found those guys," Walters sneered at Oglesby. A few moments later, Walters said the two men were "still on the loose."

Now, even if Mr. Connelly's post were to end right there it would be enough.

As in enough clearly demonstrate truly wretched modus operandi of Mr. O'Reilly and the people who work for him.

But, of course, Joel Connelly's post does not end there:

The two men were identified and photographed by a fellow passenger for a simple reason: They looked Middle Eastern.

Should a newspaper --in a free country, proud of its history as a melting pot - be stereotyping people as "suspicious" by the pigment of their skin?

Well, the story has a predictable end. The FBI disclosed Monday that the two men came in from the cold, as it were, by visiting a U.S. embassy recently. They were European business consultants on a Seattle trip.

"It appears they were in the area for legitimate reasons," reported the FBI.

We are an international city. At least a quarter of Washington's jobs depend on exporting goods to other countries. We naturally need to entertain buyers, even - and especially, say, in the case of Saudi Arabians buying jets - people whose skin looks like the two guys on the ferry.

O'Reilly ought to apologize, like right now.

He condemned the paper for refusing to stereotype and contribute to an atmosphere of suspicion.

It really is shameful.

But what is even more shameful, and a demonstration of all that is egregious about what O'Reilly's 'hard work' has wrought, are many of the comments that have been attached to Mr. Connelly's post.

Here is just one example amongst many:

No Joel, they were not photographed simply because they looked "Middle Eastern"; these characters were taking pictures and videotaping various parts of the ferry - their behavior was suspicious, plain and simple. They were photograhed by an employee of the ferry boat, doing their part to provide security and safety for all onboard. Get your facts straight; or, as Mr. O'Reilly would say, "NO SPIN PLEASE". Those with clear minds can see right through your anti-American rhetoric.


The rhetoric?


The PI news story on the denoument is here. Original link source is from David Neiwert's very fine post at Firedoglake.
My favorite comment at attached to Mr. Neiwert's post points how much courage it must have taken for those men to show up at a US Embassy to profess their innocence. This is not as first blush ridiculous as it seems. Have you visited a US Embassy recently? I mean, even the one in Ottawa is uber:Kremlinesque on steriods. In the extreme. OK.


No comments: