Politics & Law

Why won’t Bill O’Reilly debate me?

Robert Reich

Bill O’Reilly slammed me on his Fox News show last night for mentioning, in a New York Times op-ed last weekend, that he has called me a Communist. In that op-ed I referred to his Communist name-calling as an example of the kind of ad hominem incivility that now passes for political debate in America — of which O’Reilly is a part.

O’Reilly took umbrage that I would even bring it up. Apparently he thinks it’s perfectly fine to call me names but offensive for me to criticize him for doing so.

Yet O’Reilly refuses to have me on his show to debate any of this — either his initial charge I’m a Communist, or his indignation that I mentioned it in last weekend’s op-ed. When he first claimed I was a Communist I challenged him to a debate — a civil debate. He refused. He still refuses. He won’t even debate the topic of my op-ed — the increasing shrillness and divisiveness of Fox News and other media outlets, which are only adding to the vitriol of American politics.

Why won’t O’Reilly debate me? What’s he afraid of?

Please email him and tell him that instead of talking about me he should have the courage and decency to talk with me directly. His email address is: oreilly@foxnews.com.

Cross-posted from Robert Reich’s blog.

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Comments to "Why won’t Bill O’Reilly debate me?":
    • Anthony St. John '63

      Economic, social and political inequalities, plus loss of control over earth’s environment and resources, are causing increasing conflicts and decline of our societies, nations and civilization.

      Let’s hope that Bob makes the right things happen. There is no one better to lead us in the right direction today than Robert Reich, and his Berkeley Blog colleagues.

      [Report abuse]

    • moji

      Reich did not blobs for 30 minutes on Fox News, but O’Reilly do have 30 minutes every day to name call anyone and yet will not give any, I repeat any, of his guests to answer his nonsense charges, by blobing more and cutting them off. Just look how he interrupted the President of the U.S. during his pre-game Superbowl interview.

      [Report abuse]

    • Burke Ritchie

      The Republican meanness toward the 47% makes the Republicans look like the so-called “poor white trash” against the African-Americans. And there appears to be a definite kinship if not identity between modern tea-party Republicans and the “poor white trash” of yesteryear in the joining of workers against their interest with Republicans. Workers’ bosses are Republicans and may be the only upper-crust people they know. Why shouldn’t workers trust their bosses and enjoy the bosses’ yearly barbecue when their livelihood depends on it? Lenin recognized this “bourgeois” inclination in the “proletarian” worker group and remarked that they would not move politically beyond trade unionism – something which does not even exist in today’s economy.

      Also a disparity exists in the quality of education between the “Harvards” who fill up government and the Republican base, reflected for example in George Bush’s nomination of Harriet Myers for the Supreme Court. That’s one reason why Republicans hate government by elites, which is wont to arrest the owners of fighting cocks and charge them with cruelty to animals and then euthanize the cocks. Republican dislike of progressives is more visceral than mere politics.

      [Report abuse]

    • Anthony St. John '63

      Prof. Reich, we keep failing to learn, at our increasing peril, one of the most important lessons of history as documented by Will and Ariel Durant in their outstanding series “The Story of Civilization”:

      “When the group or a civilization declines, it is through no mystic limitation of a corporate life, but through the failure of its political or intellectual leaders to meet the challenges of change.”

      As an intellectual leader, you and your Berkeley Blog colleagues are in the right place at the right time to protect our civilization from the failures of American and international politicians.

      [Report abuse]

    • Anthony St. John '63

      Prof. Reich, your statement “…income disparities in America have been widening since the 1970s, and that the trend poses a grave threat to our democracy” is obviously another fact of life that the Republicans cover their eyes and ears to avoid thinking about because they are the source of the worst threat to American Democracy today.

      In my lifetime, American Democracy has survived attacks by fascists, communists and terrorists, and now we are threatened by Congressional Republicans and their owner/oligarchs more than any other force today because they refuse “to concentrate on growing the economy in ways that work for everyone” just like their role model oligarchs who destroyed Ancient Athenian Democracy.

      That’s why I still think you and your Berkeley Blog colleagues must produce a regular TV show (Voice of Berkeley) to educate the public on the facts of life that we must know to prevent destruction of the American Way of Life by the oligarchs who control Washington and America today.

      [Report abuse]

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