One of the hardest comments for anyone to say when speaking of Bill O’Reilly is “I have no opinion about the guy.” He makes it almost impossible to separate the messenger from the message.
Human bias is not part of an intellectual process, it is an emotional one. Almost everyone has a bias regarding O’Reilly. If the bias is positive, people agree with him automatically because he resonates with them emotionally and reinforces the group opinion (several documented biases come into effect that strengthens group membership). If the bias is negative, another group of people disagree, also automatically, with biases that enforce their group feeling.
Full disclosure on my part… My own biases of O’Reilly stem from my perception of his abrasiveness and my lifelong cynicism of self-appointed experts and authorities.
I have to put those aside. Ignore the news hype and make a fair analysis so I can fairly judge O’Reilly and ask the question…
Was Bill O’Reilly really lying?
I recently discussed Bill O’Reilly’s media crisis (here). He responded to his critics and the crisis terribly. I also discussed Brian Williams’ crisis and the mitigating circumstances that I believe contributed to a faulty memory recollection that blew up into a media frenzy (here).
Does O’Reilly deserve the same benefit of doubt that I feel Williams deserves? Do the same mitigating circumstances apply?? Continue reading