I hate to be in the position of defending Bill O’Reilly, but Keith Olbermann’s rant against him last night was pretty shabby.
Olbermann thought he’d caught O’Reilly in a contradiction because in a recent interview O’Reilly called himself a supporter of the separation of church and state, while in an earlier statement O’Reilly had, in Olbermann’s words, “called the separation of church and state bogus.”
No, he didn’t. What O’Reilly actually said (as was clear from the excerpt Olbermann provided) was that he didn’t buy the “bogus separation-of-church-and-state argument” against the display of Christmas symbols and such on state property. In other words, it wasn’t the separation thesis itself that O’Reilly was calling bogus, it was the inference from that thesis to a specific policy conclusion.
Now as it happens I think O’Reilly was mistaken in calling that inference bogus. Still, it was clearly the inference and not the premise that O’Reilly was calling bogus, and so Olbermann’s triumphant crowing over O’Reilly’s supposed inconsistency was either dishonest or sloppy.
I still prefer Olbermann to O’Reilly, but at some point during the campaign he really jumped the shark for me.