By Christopher B. Daly
Not to be missed: this recent commentary by Tim Egan in the NYTimes about Fox News figure Bill O’Reilly and O’Reilly’s recent interview with President Obama. As usual, O’Reilly believes that the key figure in the interview was . . . himself. For days afterward, O’Reilly and his colleagues at Fox milked the interview and scored it a solid win for O’Reilly over the president (as if it were a debate).
Egan makes a good point here:
So, the first point for historians sniffing the odor of O’Reilly’s time capsule in 2114 is that the interview made no news. No ground was broken. It was a journalistic dud. O’Reilly himself spoke for about 40 percent of the time, and devoted 90 percent of the interview to “the full Fox scandal grab bag,” as Jon Stewart called it.
As it happens, I am teaching my students this week about how to conduct interviews in my journalism classes at Boston University (where, yes, I know: Bill O’Reilly attended college). The point I always try to drum into my students about interviewing is simple: It’s not about you.
Of course, I understand that Bill O’Reilly is not trying to conduct a productive, journalistic interview. He is trying to stage a clash of personalities for television. Like his boss Roger Ailes, O’Reilly is very good at understanding television, even if he seems to have missed class on the day of the lesson about humility.
One response to “O’Reilly on O’Reilly”
Given the vast riches which have been amassed (I hesitate to say “earned”) by journalists who have become brands, I suspect many of your students regard “it is not about you” the way Harvard MBA students view their professors chiding them that “Wall Street should be about enriching your clients, not yourself.”
Disgusting as Fox News’ blatant bias is, none of their hosts has as despicable a record of lying and self-promoting as Al Sharpton of MSNBC.