Rick Hertzberg gives a full account of the Bill O’Reilly boxing match on his blog. Key quote, in reference to the original on-air conversation between Newt Gingrich, in which Gingrich likened the No On Prop 8 protesters to “gay and secular” fascists:
The thuggery O’Reilly mentions was contemptible, but the rest of it was just normal democratic protest. (O’Reilly himself frequently asks his viewers to boycott businesses that offend him, such as department stores whose employees wish customers “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”) None of it comes anywhere near “fascism,” let alone some sort of fascist “movement” that could plausibly threaten to take over the government. I don’t think it was at all unreasonable for me to infer that the targets of Mr. Gingrich’s “fascism” remarks were the mainstream gay-rights movement in general and the opponents of Proposition 8 in particular.
Ta-Nehisi Coates has a few thoughts, worth repeating here, on what might drive O’Reilly’s, er, mode of reporting:
I will never understand how a guy like O’Reilly, who has one of the biggest bully pulpits in media, could be so sensitive. One interesting thing about Bill, and other conservatives, is they almost seem to crave the approval of the elite “Upper West Side/Georgetown cocktail party crew” they denounce. I don’t much understand how O’Reilly took such offense–I heard jibes worse than this back in seventh grade, watching two kids crack on each other.
My previous post on the subject, for context, here.