Wednesday, December 21, 2005

O'Lielly Remembers Rommel, Forgets Montgomery

There is no doubt that Bill O'Reilly of Fox News is one of the most boneheaded commentators on television and radio. Right now I am reading The "Oh Really?" Factor, a surprisingly short book about his warped world of untruth (there is plenty of material; perhaps the Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O'Reilly web site's book will be longer). If you subscribe to the e-newsletter from Media Matters for America, you can receive his nuggets of ignorance and misinformation on a daily basis. Here is one of the latest:
Summary: On The Radio Factor, host Bill O'Reilly called the San Francisco Chronicle's use of the term "field marshal" a "Nazi reference;" the Chronicle labeled O'Reilly "a field marshal for the conservative counter-campaign against the 'war on Christmas.' "
While it is true that Erwin Rommel, a brilliant general regardless of his political affiliation, held the title of field marshal (as did more than two dozen other Nazi generals), O'Reilly must have been daydreaming about loofahs in history class the day they discussed the British side of World War II. Bernard Law Montgomery was the first British field marshal to come to my mind, though many other British military leaders have earned the title over the years -- in fact, there have been several times more British field marshals than Nazi field marshals! Plus there are field marshals in other British Commonwealth nations such as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Since O'Reilly's favorite response to criticism is to claim he was quoted out of context, here's what he said on the December 15 edition of The Radio Factor:
O'REILLY: San Francisco Chronicle, one of the nation's most secular newspapers, says today, quote, "Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly, a field marshal" -- notice the Nazi reference -- "for the conservative counter-campaign against the 'war on Christmas' will be happy to know that San Francisco has called [sic] its 'Dreaming of A Green Christmas' tree program.
O'Reilly's ranting aside, the tree program is a great idea. For $90, the city delivers a live, potted tree to your home. When Christmas is over, you give your tree back to the city, which plants it in a neighborhood that needs more trees. It sounds like a great way to reduce waste. And perhaps best of all, a live tree is unlikely to dry out, leave hundreds of needles on the floor, and become a fire hazard.

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