How to be narrow-minded 101

The ubiquitous nature of Bill O’Reilly across the internet is testament to his ability to play to his audience. And he is, presumably, experienced enough and smart enough to know that a fair portion of his audience actively dislike him but watch because it makes them angry (something I call the Morton Downey Jr effect).

He rants, he hectors, he abuses his “guests” but how much of the real Bill O’Reilly are we watching and how much is a carefully constructed artifice designed to pander to his viewers? I’ve never been able to answer that question with any degree of certainty but, on occasions, I get a brief glimpse of how his mind actually works.

Here’s Bill O’Reilly in a recent excerpt from his show as he interviews Richard Dawkins about his latest book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. O’Reilly seems to be arguing, because science has yet to unravel the mysteries behind the origins of life, “intelligent design” should be included in science classes to help bridge the gap.

And that points to how Bill O’Reilly, the person, constructs thought. To him, everything must be known, not knowing is somehow a failure. So it’s perfectly alright, in O’Reilly’s world, not only to replace missing knowledge with something there is no evidence for, but also to impose that view on others and abuse them for their “ignorance”.

What is it that scares him, and the adoring portion of his viewers, about the unknown? Why should a lack of knowledge mean a failure rather than a challenge?

After all, isn’t the search for knowledge… the journey to discover ourselves, kind of the point when it comes to life?

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2 Responses

  1. What a tool!

    Why anyone would agree to go on such a demeaning show, where the anchor himself has an obvious over inflated opinion of his own self importance, is beyond me. I don’t enjoy watching that sort of “drama-tainment”. Seeking at avenge his lack of intelligence by yelling at his guests. Just plain strange!

    • The answer probably lies in O’Reilly’s ratings… although, to be fair in this case, Dawkins is known for his willingness to engage with even the most strident opponents of evolution.

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