"Ready for dinner"
Bill O’Reilly returned from vacation early because he was figuratively bursting with emotions (he is “furious, furious!”) about the media’s coverage of Ferguson.
The first three minutes of the clip are actually based in some amount of fact, which is admirable. He praises the FBI for launching an investigation and urges transparency as they move forward. Good. He condemns looters, saying that they dishonor Michael Brown’s memory. Wonderful. But then he begins to report facts that are not facts.
“On Monday night,” he said, “78 people were taken into custody and we believe that about 30 of them have criminal records.” Why is what Fox News “believes” relevant? He then notes that only four of the 78 people were from Ferguson, and the rest are “troublemakers” from out of town. The “liberal media will never report that,” he says, “nor will they report the true picture of criminal justice in the United States. Instead, NBC News pays Al Sharpton to deliver garbage.”
He shows a clip of Al Sharpton speaking out against the Ferguson Police Department’s decision to release the video of the robbery. Sharpton says, “We have had enough!”
At this point, O’Reilly begins to lose it and veers into a line of argumentation that is so poorly conceived, it basically proves the opposite point.
“Enough of what, Al? Police efficiency? In 2012, the last stats available from the FBI, there were about 12 million arrests in the USA. That averages out to 34,000 arrests per day. In 99.9% of those cases the perpetrator was not killed by police. In fact, just over 400 fatal police shootings a year are recorded in this country, according to the FBI. So, let me restate. 12 million arrests a year, 400 fatal shootings, many of them justified! And Al Sharpton has the nerve to insult the American police community, men and women risking their lives to protect us?”
Many of them are justified? Is that the standard he holds police to?
He continued with unconfirmed rumors: “We also hear that Officer Wilson has an orbital blowout fracture of his eye socket. ‘The Factor’ has not been able to confirm that. We are only reporting it to demonstrate that there will be more to come.”
Come on, Bill. You were doing so well! You were reporting things resembling facts! Why do you have to blow up your own side by spreading details that have no basis in reality?
And now, we hear that Bill O’Reilly no longer has a soul. Salon has not been able to confirm that. We are only reporting it to demonstrate that there will be more bloviating to come.
Joanna Rothkopf is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on science, health and society. Follow @JoannaRothkopf or email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Joanna Rothkopf.