If nothing else, Bill O’Reilly is great at stirring up trouble. Unfortunately, he’s terribly misguided just about every time, and this one is no different. O’Reilly’s latest target is JetBlue. The airline is one of the sponsors of the YearlyKos Convention, the annual shindig put on my very left-leaning political website DailyKos. As you’ll see in the 8 minute clip below, O’Reilly has determined that DailyKos is actually “one of the worst examples of hatred America has to offer.” If you can’t see video, read the transcript.
Take a look and then we’ll talk more afterwards.
Regular readers of DailyKos (and there are a lot – more than 500,000 per day) had to see this coming. I mean, the site is blatantly liberal. The About Us section starts off with “Markos Moulitsas — a.k.a. “kos” — created Daily Kos on May 26, 2002, in those dark days when an oppressive and war-crazed administration suppressed all dissent as unpatriotic and treasonous. As a veteran, Moulitsas was offended that the freedoms he pledged his life for were so carelessly being tossed aside by the reckless and destructive Republican administration.”
So right away it’s going to be a target for conservative Bill O’Reilly and Fox News. What about his allegations of hate? Well, it’s not like there’s one person behind the site pulling the strings. Stories are posted by the founder as well as 15 contributing editors, but diaries and comments are posted by anyone and everyone including prominent politicians like Jimmy Carter and Harry Reid. Sure, some of those comments and diaries may have some pretty strong, potentially hate-filled comments, but that’s what happens with sites that rely on user-generated content. The whole point of the site is to have people exchange ideas freely, and that’s why these things can happen. When it does, other users are usually quick to jump on that poster.
But O’Reilly could have at least gotten all his criticisms correct. For example, he bemoans how the Pope was called a primate, but guess what? He IS a primate. All humans are part of the order of Primate, but more importantly, a primate is defined as “an archbishop or bishop ranking first among the bishops of a province or country.” (Thanks, Dictionary.com) By the way, the Pope is the Bishop of Rome, in case there was any confusion.
This attack should really be a non-story, like all of O’Reilly’s attacks, but Dave Barger’s stumbling interview when ambushed outside his home probably helped fuel the fire. That awkward situation, caught on tape, made Barger seem guilty even though he probably knew nothing about the whole sponsorship in the first place. It most likely came from levels lower than his. Too bad for him that he wasn’t able to think quickly enough in that situation to come off well.
You can read more from the other side in this thread on DailyKos. Kos was kind enough to post some of the real hate mail he received from O’Reilly supporters. Oh, the irony. At last check, there were 369 comments about the issue. That’s the type of user participation that makes the site successful, even though it sometimes results in some pretty inappropriate comments. But that’s freedom, and O’Reilly hates it unless it serves his purpose.
With all this mind, it’s funny that as this was breaking, JetBlue rolled out their Simpsons plane in support of the upcoming movie. And who is it that’s putting that movie together? Oh right, Fox. Ah, the tangled business relationships that make life complicated.
Bottom line, is it a problem that JetBlue sponsors the YearlyKos convention? Not in my eyes. Reaching a young, liberal, politically active demographic probably fits quite nicely into their overall customer-base. And having Bill O’Reilly call them out for it may even make them heroes to this group of people. But, when you get involved with politics, you always run the risk of angering the other side, so it’s not always the smartest move. A smart business will try to play both sides of the aisle, and for all I know, JetBlue might also sponsor a Young Republicans convention somewhere. If they don’t, they might want to really consider it after this.
I’m pretty close to cancelling my subscription to this blog. I abhor the rampant politization of blogs, whether left- or right-leaning. Let’s leave politics out of this blog and keep it about aviation/flying/airline industry. There’s enough partisan blogs out there. I’ll visit them if I want my dose of divisive politics. Thanks for reading.
This blog is about airlines, and when airlines and politics cross paths, I’m going to talk about it. I’m not supporting the left or the right here at all. I’m speaking out against Bill O’Reilly’s smear campaign, period.
I couldn’t care less what side of the aisle he’s on. This sort of attempt to punish an airline for supporting a rival news source is certainly not helpful coming from either side. If I can do something to dispel the misinformation as it relates to an airline, I will.
I wish you luck finding a blog that stays completely apolitical. If this post makes my blog too political for you, I wish you luck in finding one that isn’t. Maybe you’ll enjoy the LOLCat Blog.
Hey CF, nice of you to conviniently ignore the most notorious of Kos’ comments. A few years back, when American’s were killed, burned and dragged through the streets of Fallujah, Kos had this to say: “Screw them”.
You going to defend that, too?
I only rarely stopped by this blog, but I’m with BP – I’m out of here.
Uh, I don’t see how this is a politicization. He doesn’t really take a tilt left or right on this, and the whole point of his post was that JetBlue should remain apolitical.
That being said, unsubscribe away. This is the internet. You may not even be a real human for all we know.
For people who don’t like to politicize the blog, you’re sure doing a good job of it. (Not you, John M.) Despite the belief of many, I don’t know everything. If Kos made a comment that you think proves the site is a “hate-filled” site, feel free to post a link and let others decide.
Thank you CF for pointing out this issues with Bill O’Reilly’s latest attack on business, I heard it while on assignment with a radio station that carries Bill’s show.
I just want to point out to all that regardless of whether speech is “hate filled” or not, it is still protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution until and unless it is meant to incite direct physical harm to another person. Even if someone performs a “hate act” it does not retroactively change the status of the “hate” speech to inciteful if that was not the original public interpretation of the speech. It is bothersome and sets a bad precedent that free speech is only deemed “free” when a particular group deems it so.
Thank you again CF.
Blogs, by their very design, are venues for opinion.
The notion that anyone would stop reading a blog because they didn’t agree with the blogger is indicative of the REAL problem. That kind of ‘willful ignorance’ is a disgrace.
Personally, I find it humerous to even think that anything so political as the U.S. marketplace COULD NOT be politicized. Especially when it comes to airlines. Politics is a part of everything… Americans’ general aversion to politics not withstanding.
If you disagree with a blogger, reply and make your case, don’t run away.
God forbid you have an opinion. And when calling for a boycott Bill O’Reilly’s tact and manner speaks for itself.
People vote with their dollars. When a $99 fare from NY or LA or whatever great prices are offered the consumer won’t retain any recollection of whatever nonsense O’Reilly dribbled out weeks back.
The blog rocks, the ripping of O’Reilly rocks, you rock… but please, please, please don’t play coy and be surprised that you are generating this reaction! Enjoy the venom you’ve unleashed on yourself.
BTW, while I generally dislike dailykos, the offending comment is a pretty silly thing to be twisted up about. In case anyone is particularly concerned about the original context, read below or copy this link:
“Yes, the Pope is a Primate.
As the cover of Free Inquiry magazine said a few years ago, ‘Catholic Primate Accepts Evolution’.”
It is actually quite a witty title.
Well, I figured I’d stop by and see if my comments got posted. I’m happy to see that they did.
Anyhow, Scott said to reply and make a case, so…
You’ll find kos’ “Screw them” comment at http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2004/4/1/144156/3224
Just search for the phrase “screw them”. You can find all kinds of similar sickening statements, by Kos, not by his buddies, on that site… if you’re willing to wade through the slime.
Yeah, that’s a pretty bad comment, acrolite. Thanks for posting the link. What I see is that Kos said something and then there was a barrage of people jumping on him for it. Good.
So at this point, it seems like the market can make its own decision. I’m guessing that you, acrolite, might decide not to fly JetBlue for sponsoring the site. I, on the other hand, wouldn’t stop. And further, if JetBlue sponsored O’Reilly’s show, that wouldn’t stop me from flying them either.
Seriously? Fly JetBlue once and you will quickly learn to regret it. Worst airline experience of my life!! Seriously, fly with anyone else, pay anyone else significantly more if you need to, it is worth it to NOT fly JetBlue.