LongHairedWeirdo ([personal profile] longhairedweirdo) wrote2017-02-25 11:29 am

How they lie, part 1

Bill O'Reilly is a pretty nasty piece of work. He calls a doctor a "baby killer" a bunch of times, and then acts shocked that one of his fans decided the world would be better off with a dead "baby killer". A man - not just a physically mature male - would admit that calling people baby killers would certainly incite violence against them. O'Reilly? Not so much.

This is a good example of the kind of lies he likes to tell.

First, let's look at the title - "a stunning display of dishonesty". Hey, "he reports, you decide", right? He calls it "stunning" which is clearly an opinion. It's not his fault if you end up agreeing that it's "stunning", any more than it's his fault if someone takes the phrase "baby killer" to mean "a bad person who kills babies and should be stopped from killing more".

But at least he'll talk about lies, right? Um... once again, not so much. "The coordinated raids targeted aliens who had committed crimes in the USA -- mostly felonies," he says. Note that he doesn't say that the raids picked up these "aliens" who had committed crimes - merely that this was the official target.

People were picked up who weren't targeted, and criminal or not, the Trump administration isn't shy about deporting people. A truly thoughtful conservative commentator would remember the old bit about how "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" - people who are trying to do right, can do evil. Face it: if the Obama administration did something reasonable, with thoughtful "targeting" that caused some damage, O'Reilly would attack the results, not the targeting. The converse would be true, too, probably - but the Obama administration was a tad too competent to have much bad "targeting".

Political correctness would dictate that I pretend that O'Reilly's different treatment of Obama was based on policy differences and the actual outcomes that occurred - but refusal to be politically correct is "in" these days, so I won't bother with pretense: Obama was a Democrat; Trump was a Republican. That explains why one is attacked, and the other given a pass.

Let's continue: "Seventy five percent of those taken into custody had convictions, including homicide and rape." So, 25% were not convicted - so much for "targeting" being the whole story. But notice how he doesn't say that some had convictions for crimes like crossing the border illegally, or using a fake social security number so they could earn money to survive, and send back money to Mexico to help their families. He doesn't want you to think of status offenses, or piddling crimes. He wants you to think about - what's the term? Was it something like "Bad hombres"? Some BS like that.

He gives an example of a nasty crime committed by one of these people, and then says "Many of the arrested non-felons were associating with the criminals." Isn't that a cute little lie? The best way to tell a lie is to tell the truth in a way that it leads the listener/reader to believe a lie. These people were "associating with" - meaning, they were near those people, interacting with those people, possibly as co-workers or customers, or casual acquaintances. Sure, possibly friends or lovers or family, but there's nothing wrong with "associating" with someone who has committed some crime in the past. When a murderer is brought to justice, friends, family, and lovers of the murderer aren't punished - even though they were "associating" with a murderer!

Later, we have this part. This beautiful. Please excuse the punctuation abuse - O'Reilly doesn't seem to believe in setting off complete sentences.
There were newspaper headlines screaming things like "The Trump deportation regime has begun," "Immigrant community on high alert fearing Trump's deportation force." “On Devon Avenue in Chicago, news of immigration raids intensifies fears.”
We could find no headlines in major newspapers. None.  That bannered the fact that raids were targeted at illegal aliens who had committed serious crimes. Committed them. That is not press bias. That is blatant dishonesty.


Poor O'Reilly. He's in the news biz, he knows that headline writers write eye-catching tidbits, so he wants to use the eye-catching, click-baiting, headlines as proof of dishonesty, when many journalists have no control over the headline used for their story. Oh, and Bill? "we could find no headlines in major newspapers - none! - that bannered...". You can also drop the exclamation point, because there's no real need for emphasis that "I couldn't find any headlines that went into a policy discussion, and okay, that never happens in the first place".

So, no, it's not dishonesty which also destroys the claim that it's "blatant". O'Reilly also quotes Obama saying that you shouldn't try to separate families, but makes sure the most dangerous people are deported quickly. And he says "And that is exactly what President Trump is doing. Exactly." But didn't O'Reilly just admit that 25% of those rounded up had no criminal convictions? So, no, that's not "exactly" what Trump is doing. Oh, and, uh, Bill? Second sentence no verb. Just sayin'.

So: Obama had a policy. He can't deport everyone, so, as the person charged with overseeing it, he did his darnedest to deport the most dangerous people. O'Reilly is furious that people were mostly okay with that, but are now angry that ICE raids are sweeping up their targets, and one-third again as many people who weren't targets, but are being deported anyway - and now people are kicking up a fuss!

This means that, although there's a huge difference, O'Reilly insists. Insists. That it's unfair that the coverage is different, and it must be blatant dishonesty. (Yeah, that writing style really isn't very natural, and doesn't seem as "punchy" as I'm sure O'Reilly feels it is.)

Let's read his blow-off in all its glory:
As for the far left, they are people who do not want any immigration enforcement. They want open borders. They want alien criminals protected. They want anarchy.
Why? Because they don't like America as it stands now.
So, it is very important for all honest citizens to know you are not getting accurate information. And that there is a radical element in this country that wants to destroy it. If this continues, there will be a breaking point.


Wow. "The far left" - he's not going to name anyone or give examples - wants open borders and anarchy. And we know this because... help me out here... um... because Bill O'Reilly says it? This is the guy who called a doctor a baby killer, and acted shocked when someone decided to plant that doctor six feet under? I'm sorry, if he can't even see that he played a role in shaping the notion that it's okay to murder to prevent the "killing of babies," he's not exactly able to trace cause and effect for something more subtle.

This part, though - this is beautiful, like a coral snake: "there is a radical element in this country that wants to destroy it." Note that he didn't exactly say that "the far left" or "the left" are trying to destroy the country. He just put "the far left" and "radical element...that wants to destroy it" in proximity. He probably thinks he's clever - he probably has no knowledge of any radical element that wants to destroy this country, but figures there must be such a radical element. And maybe he can get you to tie that to "the left" if he mentions "the far left" and such hypothetical radical elements.

This tactic was made famous by George W, you might remember. "They attacked us on 9/11, and the next front in the war on terror is Iraq!" Get people to think of one real enemy, and try to hate another group because of it. It didn't work out well then, and it's sure not helping the nation now.