Two things puzzle me about the “O’Reilly Factor” show this week.
First, why doesn’t Fox News keep the clips live and accessible, whether free or paid, with nice clear links for people like me to include in their blogs and newsletters and such? I can’t send you to view the show! (If I missing something – by no means impossible – please please tell me.)
And I’ve been thinking about the line-up of people they found for the person-on-the-street interviews. They looked like the usual Great Barrington Main Street crowd: the grubby teenager, the chubby upbeat New Ager, the city couple in their plaid country jackets. No surprise that Berkshire’s own Marcy Ross managed to get in on the action, having an unbelievable instinct for media and celebrity events (a talent we haven’t found a way to make much use of in encyclopedia publishing, I’m sorry to say). But how did they manage to open with George Beebe, an articulate local conservative and without question the single best person in town to say what the O’Reilly Factor wanted to hear? Is it possible that he, of all people, just happened to stroll down Main Street at the right moment? Or could the producers have called around to get his name, and invited him to come downtown for that off-the-cuff interview? Don’t journalistic ethics demand that they make this clear?
You have to believe that Fox has, like the US Congress, jettisoned anything and everything that approaches higher ethical standards. To suggest then, that O’Reilly present a story using journalistic standards is akin to asking him to participate, knowingly, in moralistic contradictions. And we all know how righteous Bill O is.
As the son of your aforementioned “articulate local conservative,” I can honestly tell you that he was in town randomly with my mom getting coffee, and was anything but your liberal conspiracy.
George Beebe called me this morning, over two years after I wrote this post, to correct the historical record (as I see his son John has done in a comment – George doesn’t use email but has web-savvy kids, naturally). He said that he and his wife had just happened to be in town that day. He saw the news crew and went over to see what was going on. The rest is history – sheer serendipity (or fate or an answer to prayer, depending on your religious or philosophical persuasion) that O’Reilly got the ideal spokesperson for what in Great Barrington is the minority point of view.
I’m an environmentalist and a liberal, but in this case I suspect I might have been closer to George than to others in town if I had been asked about the Main Street Christmas lights. The selectboard, rarely a model of high good sense, was particularly absurd when it came to this issue.
[…] Colbert’s wacky parody “The Colbert Report,” came to town. I wrote about it here on the Berkshire Blog and made the assumption that local conservative George Beebe had been recruited ahead of time for […]