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Faux awards for O’Reilly and Couric

December 28, 2009 - Jim Anderson
Bill O’Reilly is the winner of a 2009 P.U.-Litzer Award.

The judges at FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) — a media watchdog on the left — went so far as to name a category after O’Reilly.

The Fox News host was awarded the “The Sheer O’Reillyness Award” for two of his 2009 comments.

— 1) In a segment featuring mail from viewers on July 27, O’Reilly was asked by a Canadian viewer, “Has anyone noticed that life expectancy in Canada under our health system is higher than the USA?”

O’Reilly answered: “Well, that’s to be expected, Peter, because we have 10 times as many people as you do. That translates to 10 times as many accidents, crimes, down the line.”

In fairness to O’Reilly, it’s generally agreed that life expectancy is not a direct, final indicator of the quality of a nation’s health care system. There are many factors that influence life expectancy apart from health care.

Still, O’Reilly’s scripted response was so inane, the award was deserved. Imagine O’Reilly spouting, “Peter, we have 10 times as many people as you do. That means we have 10 times as many player pianos falling out of windows hitting people in the street. Do the math, pinhead.”

The second P.U.-Litzer citation had more to do with exaggeration than fuzzy logic.

— 2) Drumming up fear of Democrats’ tax plans O’Reilly said: “Nancy Pelosi and her far-left crew want to raise the top federal tax rate to 45 percent. That’s not capitalism. That’s Fidel Castro stuff, confiscating wages that people honestly earn.”

Let’s see, who was president of the United States in 1982-86, when the top rate was 50 percent? Trotsky, perhaps? No, I do remember that his first name was Ronald ... .

(And who, FAIR asks, was U.S. president during all of the 1970s, when the top federal tax rate was 70 percent? Or from 1950-63, when it was 91 percent?)

OK, let’s pause for balance. It’s not as if O’Reilly has a monopoly on exaggeration.

Media Research Center, a watchdog on the right, has its own list of awards for 2009, including the “The Un-Fairness Doctrine Award for Slamming Media Conservatives.”

First place went to Time Magazine’s Joe Klein for this Oct. 23 blog posting:

“Let me be precise here: Fox News peddles a fair amount of hateful crap. Some of it borders on sedition. Much of it is flat out untrue. But I don’t understand why the White House would give such poisonous helium balloons as Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity the opportunity for still greater spasms of self-inflation by declaring war on Fox. ...The best antidote to their garbage is elegant, intelligent governance.”

Meanwhile, CBS’ Katie Couric earned the “Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Obsequious Obama Interviews.” She posed this hard-hitting question to Obama on July 22:

“You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken? Do you ever wake up and say, ‘Damn, this is hard. Damn, I’m not going to get the things done I want to get done, and it’s just too politicized to really get accomplished the big things I want to accomplish’?”

A couple of the panelists on Fox News Watch this past weekend described that question as “icky.”

Fair enough.

May your 2010 be elegant and intelligent — times 10.

 
 

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