Sunday, May 06, 2007

How to deal with a giant talking head

How could I possibly pass up an article titled: Sweet Jesus I love Bill O'Reilly!?

I couldn't.

The LA times op-ed is Rosa Brooks' account of how her appearances on BillO's show landed her a job as a columnist at the Times.

You see, I am probably the only member of the Left-Wing Media who can truly say that I owe my career in punditry in part to O'Reilly.

Here's how it happened. Two years ago, I was not a member of the Left-Wing Media. I was just a lowly member of a somewhat different left-wing conspiracy, otherwise known as academia, from whence I wrote the occasional radical Op-Ed article, supported various far-left causes and strove ceaselessly to poison the minds of young Americans.

It was hard but rewarding work. Then one day, I got a call inviting me on to "The O'Reilly Factor" as live bait — excuse me, as a "guest." Because I was perhaps the only person in North America who had never actually seen the show, I foolishly agreed.

After a couple of appearances where she served as Bill's liberal punching bag, Ms. Brooks came to the realization that no-one talking with O'Reilly will ever win the shouting matches he initiates and which serve as "debate" on his show.

Michael Kinsley, who was then Times' editorial page editor was so impressed by her calm performance in the face of the huge gusting windbag that he invited her to write a column for the paper.

How was Ms. Brooks able to counter Bill's bombastic bullying?

I emerged from the [first] experience bloody but still unbowed (we radical leftists are a scrappy lot, when we're not advocating surrender to terrorists). And I was invited back.

This time, I practiced beforehand with my overtired toddler. She'd shriek out meaningless invective, and I'd just keep talking calmly. It must have helped, because by my third O'Reilly appearance, I made it through with hardly a scratch. Bill, though, was spluttering madly.

The "topic" that third time was members of the "left-leaning press," such as Michael Kinsley, then-editorial page editor of The Times who — unlike Bill — failed to fully appreciate the terrorist threat (as evidenced by an unpatriotic desire to provide Guantanamo detainees with due process). Bill suggested that Kinsley might find pedagogical value in having his head chopped off by terrorists. I upbraided Bill for going soft and explained that I'd figured him more as a boiling-in-oil kind of guy. Bill appeared disconcerted and abashed and assured me that he, personally, would "never do that to Mr. Kinsley."

Mr. Kinsley's invitation came the next day.

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