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Punch, meet Judy: Bill O'Reilly visits 'The View' [video]


If you wanted to know what's wrong with American politics, all you had to do was watch “The View” on Thursday, when co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walked off the set after Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly announced that “Muslims killed us on 9/11.”  In the wake of their departure, co-host Barbara Walters, who is becoming more schoolmarmish with every passing year, admonished her colleagues, telling the audience, “You have just seen what should never happen,” and adding that “we” should be able to sit down and talk calmly about politics even if we disagree.

Girlfriend, please.

There are only two reasons to invite Bill O’Reilly on the show, or anywhere on television, for that matter: to rouse the right or provoke the left. O’Reilly has built a very successful career on his patent refusal to have a conversation. He doesn’t speak; depending on your political persuasion, he either rants or declaims. He rarely lets anyone, including those with whom he is in complete agreement, finish a sentence, much less an argument. As a television performer he is an archetype — the unapologetic hectoring provocateur: a role in which the ladies of "The View,"  Behar, Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck in particular, also occasionally dabble.

O’Reilly outguns them in terms of seniority, volume and inability to acknowledge, much less concede, the possibility of contradiction or complexity, but there were five of them and one of him, so it evened out as the conversation heated up.

Actually, “heated up” implies something more sophisticated than what happened, just as “conversation” lends a credibility to the exchange that was not present. O’Reilly was criticizing the president, as is his wont, and brought up the case of the mosque that may be built near ground zero, a site he referred to, in a fascinating twist of etymology, as “9/11.” His original point — that President Obama has not clarified his feelings beyond acknowledging that “they” had a right to build a mosque there — was quickly lost as the argument turned toward the much more incendiary topic of religious freedom vis-a-vis Islam. Which is when O’Reilly said that “Muslims killed us on 9/11,” and Goldberg and Behar got up and left. (They came back later, after O'Reilly added "extremist" to Muslim, which was embarrassing to everyone.)

In their defense, there was nothing else, short of physical violence, that they could have done. O’Reilly had pulled himself to full height and carnival barker tones. Only Hasselbeck’s shrill soprano of outrage had any chance of piercing his oratorical fusillade. And she, being a good conservative, was clearly torn.

Actually, that’s not true. What they all could have done, and what any real host  would have done in the case of a guest making a loud and offensive comment, is offer a small chilly smile and change the subject. But O’Reilly was on the show precisely for this reason, so he could get up on the table and do his little dance, then Goldberg and Behar could get mad when he broke a few plates.

The only one who was being disingenuous was Walters. Conversation had nothing to do with what she was overseeing because conversation is not why O’Reilly, or much of television political commentary, exists. There’s no dialogue in a Punch and Judy show, just a whole lot of shouting, and then out comes the bat. Why does Judy hit Punch in the head with a bat? Because he’s Punch and she’s Judy. Bam, bam, bam.

As anyone who has attended a family reunion knows, people either shouting or waiting for their turn to shout is not conversation or communication of any sort.  

If Goldberg and Behar really find O’Reilly so offensive, and certainly they have every reason to, then they should have refused to have him on in the first place. Why give the man a wider platform than he already has? But they weren’t trying to learn anything or change anyone’s mind. They were just puttin' on a show. Bill O’Reilly on “The View” is slapstick, pure and simple.

One would hope that Americans would not allow discussions of religious freedom and how our country has changed in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to become the stuff of slapstick, but sometimes it's hard to hear what the people are saying over the din.

— Mary McNamara


Bill O'Reilly's indie instincts

"The View" gets political

Comments () | Archives (106)

Mary, your politcal correctness blinds you to reality. Extremists muslims did, in fact, attack and destoyed the world trade center, do you deny that? You"re so concerned about religious sensitivity and so are the many people who have an opionion that, under those irrefutable facts above, it is insesnitve to browbeat the public into accepting a new mosque so close to ground zero. Is that so hard for you to see?

Wow - it's so terribly hard to tell which side of the asile you sit on Mary. The sad fact is that the wisdom of Barbara's words will be lost due to useless articles such as this. We should be able to debate, and yes sometimes it will be loud because we're novices in this country at it. Instead of further polarizing folks on this event you should have stuck to the fact that we need to discuss these things more often, openly and honestly.

'If Goldberg and Behar really find O’Reilly so offensive, and certainly they have every reason to' -SERIOUSLY MARY....what is so offensive about mr. o'reilly. why don't you do your job right. stop putting how you feel towards mr. o'reilly and just write the story. OFFENSIVE...GIVE ME A BREAK...YOUR AN IDIOT....TO CONSERVATIVE FOR THE LIBERAL MARY......by the way what were the profits of the times last quarteer....exactly, keep up the good work mary.....

Holy one-sided Batman! Your liberal skew on this piece shows why the folks on the View, sans Hasselbeck, are so out of touch with typical Americans. He mispoke. Big deal. Yea, O'Reilly gets on my nerves and is way over the top, but he's not so eloquently saying what most Americans think. Why not poke the entire middle part of America in they eye when you write your next story? Spin the situation and let a liberal do the same thing, and you Ms. MacNamara wouldn't even see a need to put ink to paper...

Bill and Fox = Republican agendas. The more Conservatives voted in during the midterms the broader it's power base. Real issues, real discussions, real review of current political perspectives are avoided so that emotional voting will occur. If logical considerations were taken into account, the conservative agenda would look pretty shallow. The bully prevails, and we will get what we deserve come election time for listening to Bill, and those like him. They should be ashamed of themselves and for the people that they claim to represent.

Pat, do you blame every Muslim american for 9/11? That is not only unfair, but straight up bigoted. That being said, both Whoopi and Joy should've kept their heads. They should've realized that O'Reilly's stock in trade is to rile people up. They fell right into his trap...and came off looking unprofessional as a result.

There is no excuse, even for Bill O'Reilly, to hate monger against the Muslins. And, make no mistake, his comments were against all Muslins until he feared he had even turned Barbara off, then he added "extremist" to his blame game. It is hate messages like this that have caused neighbor to turn against neighbor. And, other than Bill O'Reilly who honestly has little credibility with anyone with a high school diploma, my shame is for Barbara - a woman I have admired for decades. How could she allow this man to blame all Muslins for 9/11. That is like blaming all "white" people for the Holocaust.

Everyone on the View should have stood up and walked off the stage. Now, that would have been a message.

A denigration of syllogistic discourse? -Vapid? Banal? Incendiary?-Kudos to the production staff that arranged this farcical tripe. Bonuses are due and forthcoming.-O'Reilly, grab your appearance fee and your gun-Goldberg, grab your placard and bullhorn. All else-grab a copy of "Raising your I.Q. for Dummies". This is funny stuff if it wasn't so pathetic.

What if Japan wanted to build a memorial next to the Arizona. Would you defend this , too ?
I expected this biased out burst from Joy but not Whoppi.
How 'bout you rename your show "The biased left view show "!!!!!

Well, thank you for your opinion.. I find Goldberg and especially Behar extremely OFFENSIVE. The show should be flushed.

Did we watch the same show????? Simply speaking, two clowns got their butts handed to them for walking off the job. They should be fired. Period. Fluff it up all you want, they reacted like the classless libs they are..FIRE THEM

But, Why? As Goldberg said Muslims lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks too. Not just the ones in the planes, but on the ground and in the buildings. It is absurd to suggest that building a place of worship is somehow inappropriate. The Christians came to California and completely decimated the native populations that once existed here and there are Christian and Catholic churches everywhere. But no one seems to think that is inappropriate.

There are muslims who are also Americans and no they don't all drive cabs or work at 7/11. Some of them are born right here, and no they are not all terrorists. Some of them are bankers, lawyers, plastic surgeons, strippers...you name it. Islam is woven into the fabric of America, maybe the Muslim thread count is as high as other things that are considered distinctly American like baseball or apple pie; but things are changing. This country is constantly in flux. Once the native Americans occupied it and the major religion was spiritual, now it's multi-cultural and Christianity is the main religion.

The real issue here is not the mosque. What's at the heart of this debate is racism. In the years after WWII it was Asians, before that it was Jews for a while it was communists and it's no secret that Black people are still discriminated against; now it's Muslims. White-American culture operates with an "us vs. them mentality." It helps us maintain the bad-ass protector role. Without a group to fear/villify there is no need to protect anyone from anything.

We should build the mosque because it would show the world that we really are a culture that embraces diversity and practices the Christian values that are the foundation our government and culture are built upon. But we won't because the country is full of hypocrites whose only real religion is money, and because there is no monetary incentive to build this mosque next to ground zero the city of New York will probably find some way to stop it from being built. Sad as it is to say, the great racial divide will always be a major problem in the U.S.

Take two persons with extreme leftist views and put them with a conservative and you're bound to have fireworks. My problem with Joy and Whoopie are that their extemist views lack any substance and they are too dumb to even recognize this.

With you all due respect, Bill was absolutely in the right, and these ladies acted like immature schoolchildren. We were attacked by muslims...that is a fact. Why do the muslims want so desperately to build the mosque near ground zero? Why do you think? It is a slap in Americas face, pure and simple...and they love it.

What terrible hosts those 2 make.. Screaming at their guest(irregardless if they agree/disagree)..Barbara should fire both Joy & Whoopi.. Zero professionalism.. One would expect a guest to storm off if anything, not the hosts! Truly horrible & in bad taste!

Mary McNamara - What a rotten, one sided, narrow minded and misguided piece you've written here. Your editor must be on vacation. This is not what I would expect from a newspapaer like the LA Times. Please retract this piece and apologize to the world.

Give us a break, Pat. Your conservative black and white perspective ignores what makes America the beacon in of the world, our Constitution. Your perspective is no different than extremist Muslims.

No doubt when Galileo proposed the world was round, had you been alive, you would have been a part of the conservative crowd that chastised him.

Pat: As I see it this article is not so much about the mosque/community center as it is about bad behavior by media people, who manage to turn everything into some kind of emotional screamfest instead of talking about news in a rational manner. There are a lot of us who feel that junk media is a much more dangerous enemy to America than one more Manhattan mosque could ever be.

I guess have never seen Behar's show? She more than "occasionally dabbles" (Protect your idealogical sisters, it's the LAT, I get it), in the same chicanery O'Reilly does.

Your larger point (America argues like children) I agree with, but in your lecture about those children, you act like on yourself.

Why don't you blog about how no third parties have had access to the governor's race debates? Or are we just going to limit this to how the left and right act like kids (while ignoring other voices altogether)?

So all he said was "muslims killed us on 9/11".. which they did. And those 2 babies whoopi and joy behar walk of the stage. The View is a joke. Talk about being intolerant of others views, especially when it is a FACT that muslims attacked us on 9/11. Joy and Whoopi should be ashamed

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