Bill O'Reilly vs Bill Maher that is.
No, this is not a post where I compare the two - one supposedly a battle-weary veteran holding fort for the "fair and balanced" news network and the other holding up the bastion of the liberal left against the "evil" right wingers. This is not one of those situations where I find which one is better and say that the other one should shut up.
On the contrary, I find them to be incredibly alike! Yeah, that's right, alike! Hmm...somewhere in both worlds (the liberal and the conservative ones, for clearly, they occupy different planets) heads are popping and hearts are giving out simply because I'm writing this, nay, even thinking about it!
Well, surely I'm mistaken, they say. I must mean that O'Reilly and Maher are exact opposites of each other - why look at their shows, their views, their guests, etc. They cannot be alike - it must be an error of judgement on my part. Perhaps I'm a one of those left-wing liberals trying to bring down a straight-talking, shoot from the hip TV host. Perhaps I'm a right-wing, conservative who is trying to bring down a straight-talking, shoot from the hip TV host. Hmm, now what could be common among those two statements?
Let me get rid of the subtlety and sarcasm to just get down to the point. They are both biased, stick to extremes on their own sides, push their own left-liberal/right-conservative agendas, trash talk about and talk down to people they don't agree with and bring up hypothetical situations about the attack on the right/left.
They both take pot shots are each other (well, at least of late I've seen Maher do that to O'Reilly and I'm sure the other Bill can never resist a brawl). I mean think about it - they're both preaching to the choir, and increasing the division between their respective audiences. During a time that bipartisanship is supposedly at its height, what are they doing but fanning the flames? And they each blame the other side for doing the exact same thing that they themselves do. While O'Reilly claims that the media is left-leaning and they're baby-murderers and terrorist-supporters, Maher claims that O'Reilly and his kind are right-wingers who lust for oil and are...yup, you got that right...baby-murderers and terrorist-supporters!
The more I think about this, the more similarities I find between the two. They can always bring up hypothetical situations (or get guests who will do it for them) which supposedly can put the other side in a "tight spot". Come on - they're hypothetical for a reason - they are artificially constructed examples that can probably never occur in real life! If they could and did occur, then you wouldn't have to ask these questions would you? The answers would be fairly obvious!
I think such "media-types" are more to blame for the problems and "fear psychosis" in today's society - at least definitely more than their targets, the politicians they like to slam. While politicians and other people in the news are expressing their private opinions, whatever they may be, such talk show hosts are the ones who are pushing these views onto the public, in what is probably a pathetic attempt to boost their ratings. And I believe that this is the worst thing to do - take side and play divisive politics without real convictions - just for increased ad revenues!
Here is a good example (and probably a rare one) of the two having a conversation...the interesting thing to note is that they still take pot-shots at each other. O'Reilly starts of by claiming that Maher has all these left-wing nut jobs on his show and then gets a good response about O'Reilly being the one who supposedly "plays it down the middle". Towards the end, Maher takes a shot at Guilliani for being a "cross-dresser" and O'Reilly takes him down, and rightly so, by asking him about what the clothes have anything to do with it.
Hmm, am I beginning to sound like them? Am I doing to them what I claim they do to others? Perhaps, but at least I'm doing it to both sides and to be honest, I have yet to see some ad revenue, and now that I've managed to piss off both sides, I doubt if I will see any.