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As you may know, David Letterman pulled no punches last night with Bill O'Reilly. A video clip is available at HuffPo.

Should you feel the need to send Letterman a message of support, go here.

Now here's the fun part...

In February, 2001 piece for WorldNet Daily, titled "The Letterman Experience", O'Reilly unwittingly made his life in 2006 a bit more difficult.

From the article:

The late-night program hosted by David Letterman is the toughest interview show on television.

That's because Mr. Letterman is a smart guy who can spot a phony with telescopic accuracy and expects his guests to bring something to the table. If a guest begins to sink on this show, the bottom is a long way down.

A big part of doing well on the Letterman show is the audience. A guest not only has to win over the host, but also the people who are sitting a few yards away. It is not a tough crowd, most are happy to be seeing Dave in person, but they are listening. And you better have something to say.

Apparently, Letterman spotted a phony with telescopic accuracy.

I've already emailed the above article to Keith Olbermann in the hopes that the WorldNet article might help him land O'Reilly atop his "Worst Person in the World" list once O'Reilly tries to spin his way out of last night's encounter.

Anyone with a spare moment is encouraged to disseminate O'Reilly's WorldNet comments as widely as possible.

Originally posted to alysheba on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:39 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Haw haw (none)
    Good one.

    Though Bill would probably counter that the crowd wasn't so tough and he got his ration of cheers too.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:38:47 AM PST

    •  But actually he didn't.... (none)
      ... O'Leilly got some uncomfortable laughter during his defense of Christmas spiel and the obligatory applause when he did the support the troops bla bla bla, but the audience was squarely on Letterman's side. Not that Letterman's audience is particularly liberal or anything, but Letterman just plain won the day and O'Reilly was exposed as the lame, second rate pundit that he is. Really the amazing thing is that anyone could have done this to O'Reilly, but everyone else who interviews him treats him like he's way more special than he actually is. Letterman has taken on Bryant Gumbel, Kathy Lee, and Oprah and won. He's not afraid of no O'Reilly.
  •  this reminds me... (4.00)
    of the time, years ago, when Rush was on Letterman, and Letterman called him a "bag of hot gas." Seriously, he did.

    Rush was completely discombobulated for the rest of the segment. It was beeyooteeful.

    -8.25, -6.26 ain't "schadenfreude" if the bastards deserve it. this is infidelica...

    by snookybeh on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:42:09 AM PST

    •  A moment to cherish... (4.00)
      I actually went and looked it up -- December of '93. This was when Rush was a phenomenon. Seriously, the guy was everywhere -- magazine covers, 2 books on the bestseller list, his TV show had just started up, he was doing cameos (as himself, of course) on prime-time sitcoms, "Rush Rooms" were popping up all over the place...

      ...and then Letterman gave him the "hot gas" jab.

      I really think that was his "Jump the Shark" moment. The mania was never quite there after that. Sure, he was and is still popular, but nothing like what was happening in the early '90's.

      Oh, for the same effect now... Dave's a national treasure if for no other reason than his ability to puncture a bag of hot gas.

  •  Letterman Experience (none)
    That article is awesome!  O'Reilly was on Letterman (in 2001) to promote his book about Washington corruption!


    Earth to Bush, it is the Justice Department's mandate to investigate public corruption. That's why we have a Justice Department -- to seek justice. OK?

    --Bill O'Reilly, Feb. 2001

    Maybe O'Reilly wasn't such a bad guy before 9/11.

    Keep your constitution close my friends, and read it daily.

    by smokeymonkey on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:43:46 AM PST

  •  I was disappointed in Letterman (none)
    last night.  He acted confused and seemed off his game.  Rather than pose serious questions to Bill, he used blanket statemens like "60% of what you say is crap."

    Letterman could have buried O'Reilly with some passion and a few specifics, but an apparent lack of preparation allowed the opportunity to pass...

    •  "serious questions"? (4.00)
      uh, you're taling about Letterman.  He's a comedian and late-night host, not Charlie frikkin' Rose.
    •  But Dave's not one of us. (none)
      Despite being a member of the media elite, he's still an apolitical guy who lanced Bubba mercilessly, and still does.   Saying what he did about Bush and about O'Reilly is about as good as we can hope for.
    •  All Dave had to do (4.00)
      was say "Media has a very detailed list of all your crap."  O'Lielly's head would have exploded.  "Soros funded . . . smear merchants . . . character assassins . . . BOOM!"

      All in all, it's good to see Billy called out as a phony.

      "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." -Abraham Lincoln

      by Dr Van Nostrand on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:58:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did You See Him on the Daily Show? (none)
      John really went after him [not].

      He goes on Charlie Rose and gets softball questions as well, most notably after the producer sued him for sexual harrassment. He's blabbing on about it and Charlie is doing every thing he can to get off the subject fast as possible.

      So it's not just Dave.

    •  He's a comedian (none)
      not a liberal scholar.  One of many reasons we lose is we forget that you also have to score points with sucker punches and "bag of hot gas" one-liners.  You need Kerry and Reid and others to hit specifics, and you need the Stewarts and Lettermans of the world to make it funny.  Not just one of either, but both are necessary for broad reach.

      Letterman turning that into a nerdy brawl would have defanged what he did - let Olbermann and others hit specifics; you need someone to just say what a lot of folks just kinda think, and give them that last little push to say to themselves, Dave's right, this guy sounds like an idiot.  

  •  CBS website (none)
    If you go to Dave's section of the CBS website, you'll find another version of the clip. They don't include as much of the interview as is on Huffington, but there's more at the end.  Bill squirms a bit, and Paul, who seems to be turning into an Ed McMahan parody lately, does a bunch odd vocalizations.
  •  O'Lielly had his Joe McCarthy moment last night (none)
    "Have you no decency sir?"
  •  When ... (none)
    did Cindy Sheehan ever call Iraqi insurgents "freedom fighters" O'Reilly REPEATEDLY insisted last night?
    •  That accusation must've fallen into the 60% crap (none)
      that Dave was talking about last night. :p
    •  First, lemme say that I'm not a Fan (none)
      Am not a fan of O'Liely, and I get into a lot of shit in my office when I poke fun at the tall fuck.  That said, it is unfortunate that towards the end of the interview Letterman let up a bit and some of O'Liley's supporters did applaud his remarks -- so, unfortunately, O'Liely did save face a bit.

      As for the Sheehan statement, yeah, I was thrown back a bit, even though I've heard that charge before.  Now, I know that FauxNews and other Republican supporters lie and make up shit, so I was curious to see if Sheehan had in fact made that statement... and, unfortunately, she has... and it's on video, too.

      Here's a link:

      and the google cache link in case the site crashes:

      It really was an unfortunate choice of words, even if I understand the attempted metaphor.

      Read Vox Mia
      bedobe (at) gmail (.) com

      by bedobe on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 11:55:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  VERY unfortunate (none)
        As much as I sympathize with Cindy, I think she too often betrays a naivete that leaves her wide open to her detractors.
        •  More on Sheehan (none)
          I don't agree with her comment about "freedom fighters," but isn't is interesting how O'Reilly and friends examine every word a grieving mother ever uttered on record--just to find a way to discredit her?  

          They don't seem terribly interested in combing over the multitude of misinformation put forth by the Bush administration, however.

        •  exactly (none)
          She's suffered something that none of us can fathom, but that doesn't make her our spokesperson. She's entitled to her beliefs, and we defend her right to say whatever she does, but which is worse, saying the Iraqis are freedom fighters, or saying that Al Qaida should blow up San Francisco?

          Fun as it was to see O'Liely squirm a bit, Dave missed some really obvious comebacks.

          He should have offered Bill a falafel on a plate as a parting gift.

          Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by racerx on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 12:37:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunate or Accurate? (none)
        I would say that the majority of insurgents (ie Iraqis), they would call themselves "freedom fighters."


        So why aren't they? Because the U.S. government calls them insurgents?

        Who gets to decide?

        I'd say the Iraqis do.

        U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1999 it was 1:475.

        by Lode Runner on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 01:14:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Again... (none)
          Again, I understand the attempted metaphor and relative comparison to so-called freedom fighters of other conflicts (i.e., the Mujahadeen of the 1980s, for example).  However, while intellectually I recognize what was attempted and the similar point that you're making; Mrs. Sheehan's statement must be placed in a political propaganda context.  Moreover, her statements -- all statements made by American political personalities -- are inevitably and ultimately consumed by an American audience, with our own American biases.

          Consequently, we -- the American audience -- will judge any statement based on our perception and, unfortunately, most consumers of news will not go through the linguistic parsing that you've gone through.  In stead, most will judge the statement as being easily construed as in support of the generally perceived enemy.

          This is not science... it's just public speaking 101: who is your audience?  Then construct a message accordingly.  Mrs. Sheehan should've have chosen her words more carefully, that's all.  But the truth of the matter is that all public personalities sometimes say things they later wish they could take back -- I think that this is one of those statements.

          Read Vox Mia
          bedobe (at) gmail (.) com

          by bedobe on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 01:49:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I do disagree... (none)
            from a strategic standpoint. I think you need people like Cindy who represent the active left and who have semi-legitimacy due to her age and her son's service...

            They need to speak up and define the leftist position.

            That's how the country has gotten so far out of whack... the conservative whackos are actually voicing their opinions as to what they think is legitimate... and they make the corporate conservatives look "reasonable."

            Thus the new American middle-ground that doesn't represent the average American person gains legitimacy via the mainstream corporate media echo-chamber... and our country goes on servicing the corporate elite to the detriment of working Americans.

            We need our liberal activists (like Cindy) to again start voicing what the far left believes to be true...

            that the NeoCons started an illegal war to remove 1 of the countless bloody dictators they put in power in the 80's during their first stint in power... and that many (if not a majority) of the insurgents are just Iraqis who want the U.S. and U.S. contractors/corporations out of their country...

            just like American patriots did during the Revolutionary War with the British.

            Language is important... and I still don't think liberals understand how to play the Luntzian language game to define the middle-ground.

            I personally think your strategy of uniform "mediated language" amongst all segments of the Democratic community to be the wrong one.

            I think the far left needs to step forward and speak the truth... cause the country is so far out of whack that that's where it exists...

            and the only way to start pulling it back in the other direction is for our activists to throw their weight behind the ideas they believe in 100%... if only so that average Americans can feel comfortable inhabiting a zone just to the right of where the far left resides.

            My opinion anyway... and it's the fundamental argument I have with my Dad... who's got a poly-sci degree from Riker's Rochester U. dep't in the 60's.

            I think the conservatives/global corporate monopolies have changed things though since that whole school of thought first cemented the insight on how the U.S. political system always finds the central ground over the long-term... according to the mathematical formulas.

            I think monopolies and corporate power throw things out of whack... and liberals need to adapt... and I would suggest looking at how the conservatives have radicalized in order to shift the middle-ground...?



            U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1999 it was 1:475.

            by Lode Runner on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 02:41:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I may get flamed for this (none)
              but I think Cindy Sheehan's message would resonate more if she didn't make herself so obviously "of the Left."

              I think the globetrotting and franchising herself out to every lefty group that wants a photo-op with her dilutes her very compelling message and mission ("Why did my son die for lies?"), and opens her up to the incredulity coming from the Right.

              I sometimes feel that she's taken on TOO MUCH of the burden of the anti-war movement.

              (OK, I'm putting my helmet on...)

              •  she may have bitten off (none)
                more than she can effectively chew...

                i think there's nothing wrong with admitting you have limitations.

                cindy getting too much media could hurt rather than help.

                we just need people monitoring the situation and offering her advice.

                a mother who lost her kid... if she feels maximum exposure is what she wants... it's hard to argue from an individualistic standpoint.

                she can do what she damn well pleases regarding this illegal war based on lies (common knowledge by now) of course with that kind of moral authority.

                but we do need smart rovian cookies on the left... thinking about how to "market" our far left side.

                U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1999 it was 1:475.

                by Lode Runner on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:09:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Please keep in mind... (none)
              Please keep in mind that we're not talking about Mrs Sheehan's right to speak out against the war.  By all means, she certainly has that right, simply based on the fact that she's a participating citizen in our democracy.  So, you have no argument from me there -- especially considering that that's not the issue that I was addressing.  Moreover, in strategic terms, I agree, the left needs to be aggressive about our opposition to issues that we disagree with, specially on matters of war and peace, and the disastrous job that Republicans have done.

              Just so that we are on the same page, above I've merely addressed what I consider to be a verbal gaffe; therefore, not a strategic error on Mrs. Sheehan's part, but merely a tactical verbal error.

              My sole point is that the effective communicator understands context and how to use language to affect and change opinion.  Based in the context of Mrs. Sheehan's remarks, given that she doesn't explain what she meant to say when she used the phrase "freedom fighters," I think that she did a rather poor job as an effective communicator.  Sure, we on the left, including her supporters (and I count myself as a supporter), understood what she meant and where she was going with that phrase; however, the general audience, will not be as forgiving nor will they be as patient when parsing her statements as you have.  Additionally, and it goes without saying, sometimes those gaffes are exploited by the opposition, as propaganda tools to reinforce their attack lines (i.e., Kerry's, I voted for it before I voted against it).

              Finally, I have not argued for "uniform mediated language," rather, all I would suggest is that an effective communicator understand their audience and that they communicate as clearly.  I don't think that Mrs. Sheehan did that job well in this one instance.  And, again, keep in mind that am only referring to this one remark and not about whether she has a right to protest the war -- I support her right and believe that she, we, need to be aggressive about representing our point of view... we just gotta be effective about it, and unintentional verbal gaffes sometimes undercut our effectiveness.  

              Read Vox Mia
              bedobe (at) gmail (.) com

              by bedobe on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 03:45:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  yes... i agree... (none)
                we should always attempt to use the right language... smart language... even when stating a far left opionion.

                cindy could have done a better job of explaining what i think she meant... and to many the ideas might seem somewhat logical.

                strong leftist message... clear, concise, meaningful rhetoric...

                deansian straightforwardness...

                i think that's the formula.

                U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1999 it was 1:475.

                by Lode Runner on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:05:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly... (none)
                  Over at I wrote:

                  Forget all this cutesy talk about re-branding and coming up with a slogan with catchy alliteration.  To define the Republican party for what they are all one has to do is have the BALLS to go out there and do that, that is: Talk of Republicans for what they are and as they are -- then repeat what you said, defend your statement and do it all over again.  Of course, it helps if one has supporters and party members with a spine to back one up, and then magnify the message; and, pretty soon, that meme gets out there in the mouths of pundits and the public.

                  Here's Howard Dean on Republicans:

                  "You can't trust them with your money," Dean said. "You can't trust them to tell the truth. You can't trust them to manage the war. You can't trust them if you have a natural disaster. Now tell me why people are going to vote for Republicans?" (link)

                  That same MSNBC article gets to the heart of the issue facing the Democratic party, that is: there simply aren't that many prominent Democrats willing to be aggressive against Republicans and, too, equally willing to hand them an anvil as the corrupt Republican party drowns.  Here's the heart of the issue for Democrats:

                  Whether Democratic candidates will embrace Dean's proposal for a single national strategy isn't clear yet. And Republicans will try to use Dean's tendency to put his foot in his mouth as a reason for voters to shy away. (Emphasis added.)

                  In the above quote we see the media's narrative on Dean at work, "Dean's tendency to put his foot in his mouth as a reason for voters to shy away."  This narrative could be changed by prominent Democrats coming out and repeating Dean's attacks, er, truth about Republicans, when he makes them.  However, the ever timorous, finger-in-the-wind Democratic party insiders and establishment bitches only vacillate and try to distance themselves from anything smacking of truth, aggressiveness and common sense regarding Republicans.  

                  You want to accurately brand Republicans, or, re-brand, as it were?  It's simple, all it takes is for a spokesperson to voice the message and repeat it, and to do it all over again, till it catches on.  I'm with Dean when it comes to Republicans:

                  "You can't trust them with your money," Dean said. "You can't trust them to tell the truth. You can't trust them to manage the war. You can't trust them if you have a natural disaster. Now tell me why people are going to vote for Republicans?"

                  Ultimately, is the pundit class that needs to be targeted... that's the real audience... because they repeat the messages that come into our homes and our heads.  But to reach them, as pundits often like to remind their critics from the left, there need to be prominent Democratic representatives providing the pundits with a narrative... a story for them to parrot.  

                  Read Vox Mia
                  bedobe (at) gmail (.) com

                  by bedobe on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:14:51 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There you have it... (none)
                    and I think Dean is a real triumph in that area.

                    The msm can demean him all they want, but anyone who ever sees Dean speak... they get it.

                    They know he's just REAL.

                    He talks plain. He tells it like it is. Dean is actually an incredible communicator.

                    Anyone that knows him on the issues... coming from Vermont, there are instances where he's far too conservative for my tastes.

                    The only area in which Dean is a die-hard liberal progressive really is on corporate influence/power... and maybe ecological issues?

                    And neither should be a liberal issue. Average conservative Americans... if they were smart... should be just as concerned why they're getting ripped off by the super-rich... and how it just doesn't work as an economic system... all this Reaganomics. Average conservative Americans should be concerned with why their kids are being born with autism due to pollution.

                    So... anyhow. Glad that we ended up at Dean.

                    Because personally I've never understood anyone who argues against Dean being a mouthpiece for our party...

                    other than msm spin, I've only witnessed him dramatically winning people over. But I guess you can't factor out corporate spin... it's part of the equation.

                    But yeah... if corporate America wants to target Dean and sabotage his chances to lead... fine.

                    We just need about 5 more Dems with his manner to step forward... and do the work Dean isn't being permitted to do to fix this country.

                    I think Feingold may be one of those relatively moderate guys who's just... REAL. And therefore seems progressive. There's a good reason for that of course. Being REAL in America in 2006=being a Progressive. Anything else is just self-deception or outright nihilism. Feingold, like Dean seems to be a Democrat who does what he thinks is right... and shows everyone why... the Patriot Act for example... and just comes across pretty straightforward and sensible.

                    Like a lighthouse in a fog of NeoCon insanity... :)

                    U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1999 it was 1:475.

                    by Lode Runner on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:34:31 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Helluva find! (none)

    |>Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin

    by The Graduate on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 11:50:39 AM PST

  •  They both looked uncomfortable to me (none)
    O'Reilly looked a little surprised at some of Dave's questions and responses.  Judging by body language, Dave looked a bit uncomfortable as well.

    I was watching and wondering: did Dave want O'Reilly on the show?  I certainly didn't get that impression--even if it was to "debate" with Bill.

    Dave has skewered people in the past (Clinton, Dr. Phil, Marhta Stewart, and Oprah to name a few) and has had gracious interviews with them when they appeared on the show.  I am not aware of Dave's O'Reilly bashing, so I wonder if anyone has any background here...

    It did make for great TV.

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