By Dr. Tom Snyder
Has Bill O’Reilly’s show “The O’Reilly Factor” failed the folks?
That’s the question that’s been burning our minds after watching Bill O’Reilly cover the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.
O’Reilly has made some good points about all the candidates. He’s even made some good points about President Obama and his continuing apparent stubbornness to decrease oil, gas, and coal production in the USA, as well as the President’s failure to bring down the federal debt and stop the consequent inflation that’s steadily been eating up everyone’s paycheck and wealth for two years.
However, in both 2008 and 2012, O’Reilly didn’t do any stories, as far as we could tell, about the actual records of any of the Republican candidates during the primaries. In fact, this year, he’s pretty much ignored details about Mitt Romney’s rather liberal record as Gov. of Massachusetts (see http://massresistance.org/romney/), as well as (to be fair) Rick Santorum’s support of big government spending in the Senate under President Bush. He also hasn’t really covered any of the Republicans’ specific plans for turning around the economy. Similar things happened with McCain, Huckabee, Clinton, and Obama in 2008. No wonder McCain decided in 2008 that an O’Reilly interview wouldn’t help him!
Yet, we’ve heard a lot of O’Reilly coverage this year about who’s winning what state and who’s more “electable” – Santorum or Romney. And, we’ve also heard a lot about the scandal of the week, most of them focusing on alleged verbal gaffes and mistakes committed by the candidates. In fact, Santorum has come under withering questioning by O’Reilly on some of his comments, but, when Romney appears on the Factor, O’Reilly seems to focus on other things.
So, why no coverage of these people’s recent records and their new plans for economic recovery? And, why all the stress on the horse race among the candidates? And, why did O’Reilly allow Ann Coulter to run her mouth defending Romneycare, but didn’t even mention conservative pundit Mark Levin’s withering refutation of Coulter’s ridiculous comments?
Frankly, despite some of the good things O’Reilly’s done or said, we’ve been increasingly disappointed in the Factor’s coverage of the 2012 campaign.
Regrettably, as Romney’s campaign seems to be gaining some heavy momentum after his win in Illinois, the failure of the Factor to cover the campaign fully and properly begins to stand out more and more as a fatal flaw.
Consequently, it may be too late now for O’Reilly to wake up and do the kind of campaign coverage he should have been doing all along.
The question is, will this prove to be a fatal error for the man who now has the No. 1 show on Cable TV News?
Note: Tom Snyder is the editor of The Culture Watch (www.theculturewatch.com), a conservative advocacy group that covers the mass media and the culture..