April 23, 2007

O'Reilly Calls God Delusion "Best Book"

Specifically, O’Reilly referred to The God Delusion as a mega-selling best book. I suspect he actually meant to call it a mega-bestselling book.

We don’t usually (OK, ever) watch “The O’Reilly Factor” but Maggie wanted to see Captain Falafel interview Professor Dawkins. Wow - is O’Reilly always so nervous in interviews? He couldn’t get the words “atheist” or “agnostic” out.

It was a very brief interview, if you can really call what O’Reilly does an interview. To those unfamiliar, it’s just him saying what he thinks, and then the guest has a couple of seconds to try to respond before O’Reilly interrupts. So what you actually get to see is O’Reilly talking in the presence of the guest.

O’Reilly referred to the tides and their “physiology” (“also throwing in an ‘if you will’ for good measure) and misrepresented Hitler as an atheist.

The biggest shock of the interview was when O’Reilly said his Roman Catholicism made him feel good, and Dawkins said “that’s different. If it helps you, that’s great, but it doesn’t make it true.” This must have thrown the host for a loop because O’Reilly threw “it’s true for me” at Dawkins. Oh no you didn’t Relativism! As Dawkins tried to explain that what is true for one is true for all, O’Reilly asserted and reasserted a relativistic stance.

Let me quote from the wikipedia page:

The Roman Catholic Church, especially under John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, has identified relativism as one of the most significant moral problems of today. [2]

Moral Relativism is often cited as one of the sins of the liberal world. I expect O’Reilly to be up on this stuff.

O’Reilly always gets the last word, and he basically said that Hitler and Stalin were atheists. Dawkins disputed on Hitler, agreed on Stalin, but pointed out that they also both had mustaches. So without any other data you could equally pin their faults on the mustaches. Bill spat out that they obviously had no moral center and immediately ended the segment, talking over Dawkins who was trying to agree that he also thought Stalin and Hitler had moral problems.

No opportunity for Dawkins to clarify why this had nothing to do with Stalin’s atheism.

Except for that jaw-dropping lapse into Relativism, and the “physiology” comment which caused us to pause the DVR until the laughter died down, the interview was boring and pathetic. I expected that O’Reilly would have read some of the book, and not throw out so many arguments that are destroyed in it. I hoped he would stick to maybe attacking something he thought Dawkins was weak on, not just throw out a bunch of stuff Dawkins could easily answer, but move so rapidly that the answers had to be short.

I don’t know why I expected better. But at least it didn’t get ugly. Dawkins is articulate and fun to watch.

Posted by James at April 23, 2007 8:38 PM
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Read some of the book? Who do you think you were watching Terry Gross? Bill made up his mind long before the book was available (probably long before it was written).

Dawkins was recently on Fresh Air and you can hear it online:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9180871

There's no better interviewer I know of than Terry Gross. I didn't hear the interview but I'm positive it was more informative than anything Bill O'Reilly has ever done (his interview on Fresh Air was unbelievable).

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at April 24, 2007 8:11 AM

Let us not forget that Terry Gross interviewed Bill O'Reilly. She's so good, she wasn't rattled by him, but I guess if you can get through an interview of Gene Simmons without killing him, you can interview anyone. (I'd include the link to the interview, but as I recall, Simmons has barred its publication, perhaps because he realizes he came off sounding like an idiot and an ass instead of his usual--in his mind--super cool self).

Here's a blurb from the NPR Ombudsman page about the O'Reilly interview (http://www.npr.org/yourturn/ombudsman/2003/031015.html):

"As Gross mentioned in the interview, Bill O'Reilly was invited on Fresh Air in part because of his new book. She began by asking O'Reilly to respond to accusations made against him in a book by Al Franken, the politically liberal comedian. Franken's book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, is devoted in part to going after O'Reilly's credibility and his conservative opinions. In his book and on Fresh Air, Franken accuses O'Reilly of mistakes, distortions and outright lies.

"Gross interviewed Franken two weeks previously on her program."


Oh, he was hoppin' mad that she'd interviewed Franken. He came off sounding like a sad old imploding blowhard--particularly enjoying.

Here's a link to the interview (if you can bear it):
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1459090

Posted by: Patti M. at April 24, 2007 9:03 AM

Thanks for the links. I will definitely listen to the Dawkins one, and I'll give the O'Reilly one a shot if I need a laugh later.

Posted by: James at April 24, 2007 9:07 AM

I realize now that my "particularly enjoying" sounds like Engrish.

Alas.

Posted by: Patti M. at April 24, 2007 9:08 AM

Bill O'Reilly's "interviewing skills" (if you will) are pathetic. I don't know who, if anyone, takes him seriously, mainly because I can't figure out what there is about him TO take seriously.

Posted by: Julie at April 24, 2007 10:12 AM

Terry Gross' interview with Gene Simmons.

Posted by: Mike at April 24, 2007 12:14 PM

Oh, Mike! Heh heh heh!

Simmons is the absolute worst interviewee I've ever had the displeasure to hear. He is incrediby full of himself and his language is loaded with sexually agressive statements in an effort to prove--what, exactly? I still don't know. Crude.

Simmons to Gross: "If you want to welcome me with open arms, I'm afraid you're also going to have to welcome me with open legs."

Gross, in reply: "That's a really obnoxious thing to say."

Listening to him made me think of all the sad little men out there driving their large vehicles, if you know what I mean.

Posted by: Patti M. at April 24, 2007 12:24 PM

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