Indiana University angered the folks over at the O’Reilly Factor a couple of weeks ago when they released a study that debunked TV host Bill O’Reilly’s claim that he maintains a “No Spin Zone”. O’Reilly says that his program is free of skewed views, but the research from IU says otherwise.
Researchers looked at six months of O’Reilly’s “Talking Points Memo” segment, and measured the zings O’Reilly tossed at those he disagreed with using propaganda analysis techniques from World War I.
While O’Reilly claims to be a beacon of free speech and thought, the folks at IU found that he injected fear and name-calling into his broadcasts, placing blame on scapegoats (ranging from the media to liberals…and few others), resorting to spinning his line nine times a minute. For someone who claims to be an unbiased voice of the people – and one who is considered a journalist by more Americans than those who consider Bob Woodward a journalist – that’s disturbing.
Barbs tossed towards FOX News and O’Reilly are nothing new, but this is a perfect example of the spinner spinning themselves. O’Reilly has deluded himself to the point where his false truths take on a pristine and just context. Having watched the show myself, he is oblivious to alternate points of view and is an imposing and opinionated force. To cross O’Reilly on his show means doom for the ill-advised (or ill-prepared) guest.
The fact that his show is one of the leading programs on televised news, and that is filled with essentially propaganda, is disturbing. There are legions of loyal viewers who are being spoon-fed the bitter, angry thoughts of a bitter and angry “journalist.”
And that’s no spin. — Alex Parker