MSNBC’s ongoing obsession with Fox News Channel continued Tuesday night as Lawrence O’Donnell attempted to issue “The Last Word” on a claim Bill O’Reilly made Monday night on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
As he does occasionally, O’Donnell analyzed O’Reilly’s “Talking Points Memo” and declared it to be untruthful. Our own take is that O’Donnell really meant to attack the commentary’s sincerity, rather than its veracity, but more on that later.
Here’s the issue (which wasn’t an issue until O’Donnell made it one): In his “Talking Points” (which you can watch here), O’Reilly was attempting to make a point about how President Obama’s proposal to introduce legislation that would tax wealthy Americans at a higher rate would adversely affect the economy.
So, as he does occasionally, O’Reilly applied his own situation to illustrate his point. “If you tax achievement, some of the achievers are going to pack it in,” O’Reilly said. “Let’s take me – my corporations employ scores of people. They depend on me to do what I do so they can make a nice salary. If Barack Obama begins taxing me more than 50 percent, which is very possible, I don’t know how much longer I’m gonna do this. I like my job, but there comes a point when taxation becomes oppressive. Is the country really entitled to half a person’s income?”
So, for formulating this very hypothetical situation, O’Donnell accused O’Reilly of lying. “O’Reilly has to lie about everything in that statement in order to make it credible to his audience, whose gullibility he has precisely calculated in the lies that he’s loaded into that sentence,” O’Donnell griped on his show, “The Last Word.”
According to O’Donnell, by saying he would quit under the burden of higher taxes, O’Reilly was lying because, O’Donnell said, in reality, O’Reilly would not quit under those circumstances. Well, maybe O’Reilly would quit or maybe he wouldn’t. O’Donnell doesn’t really know that any better than you or I do. Thus, the issue isn’t really lying so much as it’s a question of O’Reilly’s sincerity inasmuch as his intention to someday back up this “threat” and “pack it in” is concerned.
Whatever. We watched “The O’Reilly Factor” Monday night and felt O’Reilly was waxing hypothetical when he talked about “packing it in.” We never once thought he meant it. Enter Lawrence O’Donnell, who apparently felt otherwise, according to this story on the Huffington Post.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again – the obsession these MSNBC talk-show hosts (Rachel Maddow does this too) have with Fox News Channel is detrimental to MSNBC. They should spend less time (or no time) crabbing on their shows about Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the Fox News personalities and focus more on how they can make their shows on MSNBC better so that they can draw bigger audiences.
To many people, their constant complaints about the much higher rated Fox News Channel just plays, unattractively, like sour grapes.