Baghdad Bill
by Jerry Gilio
February 4, 2007

I sometimes wonder who Bill O'Reilly might be modeling his journalist style after. And never forget, Bill does consider himself a journalist. In an interview with CBS's Mike Wallace, O'Reilly said:

"I respect [Rush] Limbaugh for basically making a success out of himself and putting on an entertaining program. But he's not a primary source of information, or shouldn't be. He's an entertainer. I'm a journalist who provides a program that is entertaining."

So obviously he's not trying to follow in Rush's footsteps. It can't be Edward R. Murrow. That's Keith Olbermann territory. It's certainly not anyone from the New York Times or Washington Post. Those are bastions of the liberal media, bent on the destruction of America.

Then, as I listened to clips of Bill revving things up to 1,000,000 RPM in "The No-Spin Zone", it came to me. There is another man who has carved a place for himself in journalistic history with his steadfast devotion to a viewpoint that sometimes appeared to be at odds with reality. That man is named Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf. You might know him better as "Baghdad Bob".

The comparison holds up. Both men have shone a favorable light on an unpopular domestic regime. Both men have claimed premature military victories for their countries. They've both been caught reporting facts that were demonstrably wrong. There are many that consider them to be more comedians than journalists. And George W. Bush seems to approve of both men's work.

Bush has agreed to be interviewed by O'Reilly more than once, indicating at least a tacit approval of his work. Of al-Sahhaf, Bush told Tom Brokaw, "He's my man, he was great. Somebody accused us of hiring him and putting him there. He was a classic."

So there he is, "Baghdad Bill" O'Reilly. He's a two-time Peabody Award winning, non-partisan, man of the people. He's been in combat, so he understands war. And he's looking out for you.

Don't start with that crap about him never winning a Peabody or questioning any of those other claims. In "The No-Spin Zone" it's the spirit of the news, not the letter of the news, that counts.

Copyright © 2007