This will be difficult to believe, but Bill O'Reilly and his crack staff got something wrong...again. This time they've gone on the attack against the Indiana University study which came to the conclusion that during his opening "Talking Points Memo" on the Factor, Bill name-calls every 6.8 seconds.
Let's go to the May 3rd, complete, not out of context, "Talking Points Memo" and see what say you, Bill.
O'Reilly: "Did you know that I, your humble correspondent, call somebody a name every 6.8 seconds during my Talking Points presentation each evening? I should be ashamed! That astounding 'analysis' comes from three Indiana University researchers. Somehow their research wound up in the hands of Media Matters, the smear Internet site partly funded by enterprises connected to George Soros. And guess what? Media Matters issued a press release about the terrible Talking Points Memos. What the press release did not say, however, is that the researchers consider pretty much every description to be 'name calling.' Quoting from the study, 'conservative, liberal, left, right, progressive, traditional, or centrist were treated as name calling.'"
Wait, wait, wait. I've got to stop this right here. I feel a little queezy here, because I kind of see Bill's point. "Conservative, liberal, left, right, progressive." They all seem rather...benign. Not name-cally at all. Hmm. I'm sure Bill's cracked staff must have contacted the researchers to ask how in the world those words could be considered name-calling.
Ah, he's probably too busy. I'll do for the Big Guy.
What say you, Maria Elizabeth Grabe, one of the IU researchers?
"Only words connected with a problem or social ill would be considered name-calling."
Oh. I guess Bill forgot to mention any of that. But still, Ms. Grabe, do go on.
"If O'Reilly claims someone is a 'liberal' but prefaces it with 'Kool-aid' (a Jim Jones reference), as in 'Kool-aid liberal,' that is considered name-calling." Yeah, well Ms (I'm going way sarcastic on this one) Objective Researcher, then if Bill called Nancy Pelosi a "far-left liberal" that would also be considered...
"That is not considered name calling," Grabe interrupts.
Whoa. Bill neglected to explain that to the Folks? Gee, that's not like him. That would be exactly what he claims those far-left, smear sites do.
"That would be name-calling."
Okay. Okay. I get it.
Back to the Memo.
O'Reilly: "Here's the back story. Last week we told you how far left billionaire George Soros' propaganda machine works its way through the Internet and into the mainstream media. Soros and his gang were furious with that exposition, so we knew blowback was coming. Thus the Indiana-Media Matters nonsense."
I knew it! So, Ms Grabe. You were able to create and complete this study because of Bill's hit on Soros last week. I've got to admit it, you Soros-hate-American researchers are quick.
Stop looking at me like that.
O'Reilly: "By the way, did you know that Soros' 'Open Society Institute' donated $5 million to Indiana University? I'm sure that was just a coincidence. "
Smack! Okay, Professor Grabe It's a little thing we in the poverty-stricken world of opinion-blogging call, "quid quo pro." And Bill nailed you and your Soros-connected study. Why don't you try and explain that?
"The $5 million by Soros donated went directly to the American University of Central Asia which is helping to build democracy in Kyrgyzstan. AUCA makes scholarly exchanges with Indian University."
You're trying to tell me those professors and students in Kygyzstan don't watch the Factor and when they heard Bill expose Soros for all his philanthropy that... Ah, never mind. Back to the Memo.
O'Reilly: Finally, let's add up the 'name calling' tonight. There was 'humble correspondent,' 'smear site,' and four others. That's only six examples in three minutes, far below my average. I must be slipping."
Okay, so, uh, Bill left a few things out. Partial information to inform partially. It's not a crime. It's what we call good television.
Why don't you try and explain what Bill's producer, Ron Mitchell, put so succinctly in his LA Times oped rebutting your research when he wrote that "...the researchers admit they had to make several changes to their 'coding instrument' because the first attempts generated 'unacceptably low scores.' That's code for: they tried and tried until the results fit the preconceived notion of name-calling on the Factor."
Yeah, what about that? If that's not code for preconceived notion, I don't know my preconceived notions. And believe me, if there's anything I know, it's preconceived notions. Just read my archives.
"It's actually ironic, because it's just the opposite. We call it 'refinement.' Refining your coding instrument to keep it from being slanted. You don't change the information, you add more. It's a standard requirement to make your study more precise and how everyone does a proper study. It assures accuracy. The "unacceptable low scores" he speaks of don't refer to Mr. O'Reilly, but to the testing of the coding instrument before we actually do any research to make it more reliable. In the case of this study, we found it to be 98% reliable."
Gee. Are you saying that Bill's producer was pulling quotes out of context? That's not the Factor's cracked research team I know. It's almost like the guys at the Factor are treating the Folks like they're idiots, not simplifying the information but distorting it to make it quite contradictory to the truth.
What about the part when Mitchell wrote that, "In 2006, one of the study's authors is quoted as saying that it's "obvious" that the Fox News Channel is "part of the Republican Party."
Doesn't sound very objective to me.
"He's talking about Michael Conway. Mike was quoting what others were saying about Fox News, not what he believed. In fact, almost the entire interview he was complimenting Fox News on how they approach news."
Well, Ms. Grabe, you seem to have much in dispute with Mr. O'Reilly. If you're so smart why don't you come on the Factor and explain it to Bill. Or are you too much of a chicken. Buck-buck-buck.
"We have not received a phone call, letter or e-mail from Mr. O'Reilly."
Buck-buck... Oh. Well, would you go on the Factor if Bill asked?
"I'd love to."
And if Bill didn't ask you on, would he then be the chicken?
Ms. Grabe? Ms. Grabe?
So, Bill. The ball is in your court. Will you be calling Ms. Grabe to come on the Factor?
Or will it be...
Disclaimer: Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (www.greatfailure.com) and his "All The News That's Fit To Spoof" appears in L.A. Daily News opeds every Sunday (www.dailynews.com/steveyoung), right next to Bill's...really.