Politics » Politics Feature

GADFLY: The Raving-Maniac Phenomenon


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Seldom does a week go by when the likes of a Bill O‘Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter or others of their ilk don‘t make some idiotic, antisocial or otherwise sociopathic public statement over the airwaves.  That‘s what their constituents expect; it‘s what they tune in for, and what these hucksters of sensationalism are more than willing to give them to keep them listening/watching.  But why, oh why, must there always be a response, not only from the blogosphere, but from the MSM as well, and why must we elevate the worthless claptrap purveyed by these shlockmeisters to the realm of being discussed, much less debated.

Whether it‘s the manufactured "War on Christmas," the invitation to Al Qaeda to bomb San Francisco or, in Robertson‘s case, the curse called down on an entire community because of its stand against Intelligent Design, the asininity of the statements by this group of out-there commentators is self evident.  So why does the blogosphere go ballistic on these idiots every time they make one of their bizarre pronouncements, and why does the MSM pay them any attention when doing so only multiplies the impact of statements that so richly deserve to be consigned to oblivion?  One site, Media Matters for America, has made a career of contradicting virtually every syllable that comes out of O‘Reilly‘s mouth, as though anything the man says should really be listened to, much less debunked.  Some bunk just doesn‘t need to be debunked.


On any given day, in any major city in this country, it isn‘t difficult to find some poor misbegotten soul ranting on some street corner, be it about the second coming of Jesus, the imminent end of the world, alien abductions or an occasionally more believable subject.  "Speaker‘s Corner"in London‘s Hyde Park actually sets aside a space for these oratorical bloviators. But no one sees fit to dignify these harangues by responding to them, or even by paying any attention to them.

Are the likes of O‘Reilly or Limbaugh worthy of any more credence than these lunatics?  So what if they have audiences that number in the millions?  They‘ve already been turned into irretrievable mental zombies by O‘Reilly and his ilk, to whom such things as either facts or logic are utterly irrelevant.  If what H.L Mencken once said ("no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public") is true (surely our last two national elections proved that), it‘s time we stopped resisting the fact that there will always be people in this country who will be credulous enough to believe people like Bill O‘Reilly.

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