Bob Franken

Keeping the Wrong Kind of Boob On the Boob Tube

The bad news is that Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly have resumed their vitriolic war of words. The good news is that Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly have resumed their vitriolic war of words.

It’s good news because they are repudiating efforts by the leaders of their conglomerate bands to orchestrate a cease fire that was designed to protect against corporate embarrassment. In the process the suits on high reinforced the view that their media holdings are shills for their companies and anything but the independent voices they claim to be.

Olbermann and O’Reilly are taking full advantage of the tradition in the United States where anyone is allowed free expression of his emptiest belligerence, even if it borders on inflammatory…as long as it keeps people watching.

The restrictions should be minimal. Crossing that incendiary line, literally, by falsely screaming “FIRE!!” in a crowded theater is the example that is always cited as a limitation. Inciting a riot is not allowed.

Oh wait a minute, isn’t that what Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are doing with their calls for unbridled disruptions by their true believers at health care town hall meetings organized by Senators and members of the House?

By comparison, the rants by Olbermann and O’Reilly are largely for laughs…juvenile perhaps, but also quite successful as
viewers flock to watch their carefully planned faux outrage.

That says something about their audiences, but they have their own right to watch whatever they want, no matter how transparently silly it is.

The rulers who run the behemoths that own the smaller behemoths that own the even smaller broadcasting and narrowcasting behemoths that put these two guys on camera need to suffer in silence…IF “suffer” is the right word for counting the money from the shows’ profits.

Olbermann and O’Reilly are within the parameters of “tolerable” INtolerable is the the kind rhetoric that inspires violent behavior.

It’s inevitable when the on-air haters spew out their toxic spittle they whip up true believers to go create chaos at health care
gatherings.

It’s part of a “Whatever sells” mentality that has undermined our country in many ways…not that these people could care less about that. For the most part, Olbermann and O’Reilly are entertaining, some of the others are dangerous. Not that they care.

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