Yesterday Bill O’Reilly (The O’Reilly Factor on the Fox News TV channel) said that the ACLU was the “most dangerous organization in America”. In his commentary he included these three points:
1. What the ACLU does is legal
2. The ACLU is the most dangerous organization in America
3. “They must be stopped”
Well, exactly how does someone stop the ACLU from doing something legal?
I suppose you could take two approaches–make what they do “illegal”, although I can hardly see how bringing a lawsuit on behalf of someone could be made illegal. The alternative is to do something illegal to stop them, such as intimidation and violence. The tone of O’Reilly’s commentary was “fightin’ words” and I have no doubt that a few of his listeners felt motivated to strike out at the ACLU. I doubt any of them will actually get violent, but I can’t say for sure.
But frankly, the ACLU just argues in court. They don’t get all that much media time to advocate their positions (the liberal media, if you haven’t noticed, is largely extinct). Even if what the ACLU advocated was 100% wrong, they do it legally and they don’t get much exposure. Fox News, on the other hand, twists and distorts the facts, provides role models for confrontation rather than collaboration, teaches people that the one that shouts the loudest (or the one that owns the microphone) is right, and gets 24×7 coverage of all this. I would argue that Fox News with Bill O’Reilly is a much more dangerous organization than the ACLU, whether one agrees or disagrees with the politics of either one.
[The preceding article was emailed to Fox News but they never replied.]