While Bill O’Reilly’s pomposity grates on me at times, he is one of the fairest media personalities out there. He may drive liberals up the wall, but he has never been a Republican apologist. He has gone hard after the Bush administration on many issues, notably illegal immigration. While he certainly leans conservative, I think he calls it like he sees it, and I respect him immensely for that.
Last night on Letterman he gave a great defense of Sarah Palin, while at the same time not specifically endorsing the McCain / Palin ticket. It was a point of simple fairness (considering their endorsement of the Obama tax plan, I would think liberals could appreciate this).
Before O’Reilly even came out, Letterman had already been teeing off on Palin. His “top 10” list related to excuses she is using for her wardrobe. He then suggested to Sarah that she could shop at Target. Yeah Dave, I’m sure that’s where you get those double-breasted suits you wear.
This has been a recurring theme for Letterman. Weeks earlier, he had Dr. Phil on and was criticizing Sarah as a mother because she apparently hadn’t taken “5 minutes” to discuss birth control with her now-pregnant teenage daughter. Yeah Dave, I’m sure you know everything about parenting. Even Dr. Phil chided him saying, “When your kid is a teenager, Dave, you may be shocked to find out that they don’t always listen to you.”
So O’Reilly comes out, he and Letterman do some non-sensical chit chat, but eventually Dave has to return to Palin-bashing. So he immediately brings up the Couric interview saying that most people just watched that and said “Wow”. O’Reilly said that he actually admired Palin, and Letterman incredulously asked “Explain that” (as if it is ludicrous to even suggest such a thing).
O’Reilly explains how she is a self-made woman. She had no “rich uncle” who helped her break into politics. She’s reformed Alaska and gone after corrupt officials (even those in her own party). And she’s given back some of the oil company profits to Alaska’s citizens. He then says that the media has unjustly been relentlessly beating on her.
Letterman then tries to defend the media. He actually tries suggesting that Palin has gotten it no worse than the others in the race (what race has he been watching?). And then he implies that O’Reilly would not be so generous in an assessment of Joe Biden.
O’Reilly said he’s been fair to Biden, but asks Letterman why he admires Joe Biden. Letterman refers to the great personal burden that Biden had to bear when his wife died and he had to raise his two sons. That is admirable and it’s a fair enough point (although I wonder if Letterman feels the same way about the 5 years McCain spent in a POW camp).
Personally, I would have loved to have been in O’Reilly’s place. When Letterman started up about the Palin / Couric interview I would have asked, “Have you ever had a bad monologue Dave? A night when all the jokes fell flat and there were nothing but crickets?. She was new to the national spotlight, and she had a bad day and that is all.”
At any rate, kudos to Bill. Thanks for telling it like it is.