I caught the late night replay of Bill O’Reilly on the Oprah show. I said in my Townhall column this week that Oprah had given assistance to Democrats by airing the “Truth in America” interview with Bush basher Frank Rich and the fawning Dixie Chicks interview which painted a picture of a scary America in which no one could criticize the President. Oprah offered a bit of balance yesterday with a “town hall meeting” with Bill O’Reilly. The show was excellent, with a very well balanced audience, most of which seemed familiar with O’Reilly’s “Culture Warrior” book.
The show began with a very fair setup piece with clips from O’Reilly’s show representing the topics he covers most frequently. O’Reilly started off by saying he believed Oprah to be a traditionalist due to her belief that this is the greatest country on earth and a noble country. He made the point that those on the other side of the culture war blame America for everything and would prefer America be more like Denmark or Holland.
O’Reilly, who has been quite critical of the Iraq war, and continued to be, made the point several times that he did not believe President Bush lied about Iraq or went into the country for anything other than a sincere belief that he was doing the right thing. He also made the point that if we had found WMD in Iraq that Bush’s approval rating would be sky high now.
Most of the interview dealt with the topic of his book, the culture war between traditionalists and secular progressives. He made a strong case against the ACLU and more specifically, made the case that such methods as waterboarding, when weighed against the facts as Brian Ross described them that such techniques had yielded information from terrorists that had thwarted terrorist plots and saved thousands of American lives, are sometimes necessary.
The format of the show, some interviewing from Oprah, interspersed with numerous questions from the audience, was really good. O’Reilly even said that that show was the best one he had done. He was much more subdued than he often appears on his show, and only a few times became slightly confrontational with those asking questions. This show (which must have had a huge audience) airing a little over a week from the election, had to be a boost for Republicans due to the nature of the subject matter and the response from most in the audience, as well as from Oprah herself. It would be hard to watch that show and go away from it excited about voting for the Democrats’ positions on fighting terrorism or traditional vs. secular cultural issues. At least that is my take. I commend Oprah Winfrey for the very fair and balanced treatment she gave O’Reilly and the topic of the culture war.
Update: Ann Althouse has more.