Fox News has given Bill O’Reilly the boot. I’m not here to get into the logistics of the reasons why or the sexual harassment stuff, but much in the vein of a previous article I wrote, I want to talk about the man’s affect and his importance to me and the right wing movement.
Back in the late 90’s / and very early 2000s my “news” came from “The Daily Show” and various late night talk shows. I would see a lot of shit hurled at Bill O’Reilly and the entertainment media really went at him and made him look like the biggest bastard in history. However, there is a lesson here that the left REFUSES to learn. By giving their enemies so much screen time you run the risk of people’s curiosity arising and the very one you’re trying to smear gets a new number of fans. Hell, post Berkeley, Milo Yiannopoulos’s book sales went up by 12740% overnight. (Yes, I know the book was canceled, but that’s beside the point.)
I was a friend’s house when I was 17 (2001) and we both watched “The O’Reilly Factor” with the sole intent of mocking it and seeing how much of a jerk this guy is. Sure, that was the intention… However, I kept watching the show every night and after close to a month I thought to myself “you know, I haven’t heard anything this guy is saying that disagree with.” Meanwhile I was still very active in playing in punk bands and had that punk rock contrarian attitude in where if everyone likes something I have to hate it and vice versa. ALL my punk friends hated Bill O’Reilly and Fox News – so guess what? I’m going to now be all about that shit! Not saying that’s why I became a fan, but that’s what got me invested.
Little did I know I was getting Red Pilled at 17. On June 16th 2002 I celebrated my 18th birthday by registering as a Republican. Right!?! Talk about a wild birthday. I also started college that fall.
I thought college would be an enriching experience for me. WRONG! College was frustrating, but how I was able to maintain balance in my life and not let myself be intellectually bullied by Communist professors was by watching and listening to Bill on TV and his then AM radio show. I also got into Sean Hannity and Mark Levin too, but Bill was always my top dog. Bill was a hero of mine throughout the four years I was a student at William Paterson University. He gave me the strength and courage I needed to be myself and to take risks and to be a thorn in the side of dumbass students and even dumber academics.
There wasn’t the word for it yet, but before there was “trolling” I was very much doing that in college. Now for the most part I believed in certain right wing / conservative ideas, but to quote a former friend of mine (who was blue pilled and mentioned in this article) “if all politics is relative then I’m a fascist.” My views could be better labeled as Libertarian, but that wasn’t a known word then, but when compared to the fucking loons in my university I was as far right as you could possibly get. It didn’t matter that I’m pro drugs, indifferent to gay marriage and I’m all about abortions – I liked the “enemies” of the day: Fox News and George W. Bush.
Fast forward to my last year of college where I wrote a 60 page thesis about emotion and politics. I think I either got a D or an incomplete – and also don’t ask to read it because literally TWO copies exist: the one I handed in to my professor and the one I gave to Bill O’Reilly when I met him at a book signing in Clifton, NJ.
It was cool to finally meet the man (the batteries in my camera died before I could snag a photo) he was pleasant and chatted with me a little bit. However by that point I was no longer in school and had felt burnt out by anything remotely political and started watching his show less and less. But still, I can’t deny his importance to making right wing views mainstream and getting the ball rolling on people my age going against the grain of the liberal dogma of the day.
Thank you for your service, Bill.