So I was waiting for House to start -- if you haven't caught it yet, that show House on the Fox network, Tuesday nights before NYPD Blue is a lot of fun, mostly because (a) the main character, Dr. House, gets to be so wittily insulting to everyone and (b) it's medical puzzle solving, so it's like a mystery novel and medical show, all in one tidy packet -- it does get all heart-warming at least once in every episode, I have to warn you, but you can do what I do and go get some ice cream during that bit.
Anyway. I'm waiting for House to start and I'm skimming through the channels looking for something to watch and I notice Bill O'Reilly's on. Well. Here's my chance, thinks I. How long can I take?
About six minutes, as it turns out.
He's got this really shiny guest on. A Christian writer who has written some tome about how if you think positive Jesus will give you a shiny life, and lots of money. Or something like that. I'm not sure, because Bill wouldn't actually let him talk about his book much. Bill wanted to talk about how Bill couldn't do much positive thinking because Bill had to fight, yes, FIGHT against the evil secular humanists who wanted to change this country -- this country that used to love Jesus, don't you know, the way the Founding Fathers meant it to -- you know that's how the Founding Fathers wanted it, don't you? he paused to ask the shiny writer of the book about thinking positive thoughts for Jesus.
Gamely the shiny writer grinned a shiny grin and said yes Bill, of course Bill.
They wanted it that way for practical reasons, claims Bill. Because a population that's religious behaves better, says Bill.
Of course, says Shiny Jesus Writer, though, to give him credit, with some hesitation.
Now people, secular people, they want to change this country. And they're wrong and they're bad, says Bill. And they're coming after ME. And I have to fight them. I have to read the BAD EVIL things they write. So I can't think positive thoughts, the way you say I should. Do you think that's wrong? Counsel me! Counsel me!
What Bill is talking about is his great Christmas Crusade. Only, of course, no one is "coming after" Bill. No one's coming after Christmas, either, no matter what Bill and his buddies claim. This whole tempest is one of their own brewing. It would be funny if it weren't (1) stupid and (b) self-fulfulling.
Media Matters does a run-down on the whole thing here:
I'd like to just ignore it, and to ignore Bill, and Rush, and Ann Coulter, and the rest of these yapping liars. But their lies become the world that half of America believes is real -- and then it is real.
The teen pregnancy rate thing is a good example -- ask most Americans what's going on with teen pregnancy. Most of them think the rate is increasing, and that it's higher now than it's ever been. The truth, of course, is that the rate is now lower than it's been since the 1950's. (See here for the stats on that: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0193727.html )
But the disinformation squad has been yapping their lies so long that people now believe we've got some sort of teen pregnancy crisis.
Same thing for the War on Drugs -- and Crack Babies -- and the "failing" public schools -- and a number of other issues. By feeding the public a steady diet of lies, key figures created crises that we still are dealing with.
Well, this soi-distant assault on the Christian religion is one that I'd prefer not to see succeed. I happen to like living in a country that has freedom of, and from, religion.
Oh, and by the way? That bit about the Founding Fathers? Bill's wrong on that one, too.