In the Arena


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Greetings from Pakistan. I arrived to learn that Bill O’Reilly claimed I was “afraid” to talk to him about the hateful crap his colleagues at Fox are peddling. Sorry Bill, I was aloft, not afraid. Actually, I’ve enjoyed the times O’Reilly has had me on his show. He’s also a Mets fan, which counts for something with me.

But, please. I’d suggest that Bill spend some time watching his colleagues Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. I’d suggest he check out what Beck’s been saying about death panels, the public option, czars, moderates like Cass Sunstein. I’d suggest the clear implication of Beck’s, and often Hannity’s, shows approaches sedition. Here’s the dictionary definition:


/sɪˈdɪʃən/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [si-dish-uhn] Show IPA

1. incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government.
2. any action, esp. in speech or writing, promoting such discontent or rebellion.
3. Archaic. rebellious disorder.

I’d say that the constant wink-wink implications that the President is (a) a communist or socialist, (b) not an American, (c) maybe a Muslim, (d) a friend of terrorists, (e) a front man who is taking orders from…others, (f) committed to misreading or abrogating the Constitution of the United States or (g) a threat to our basic institutions–these approach sedition.

You want to criticize the public option, fine. You want to rail against the stimulus and bailouts, fine. You want to say Obama is dithering on Afghanistan, fine. We should be debating those issues. But the stuff that’s spewing from O’reilly’s colleagues is way out of bounds, and dangerous. It does get ratings, though…from an aging, declining, prohibitively white demographic sliver.

We’re going through a tough time as a country. That brings out the blowhards and demagogues. We usually find our way, without any help from them. We will this time, too.