Bill O’Reilly and the ‘Epidemic of Disrespect’

“The reason there is an epidemic of disrespect in America is mainly because of the public school system”–says the guy who makes on-air jokes about beating up, even “decapitating” his political foes.

Bill O'Reilly (photo: Justin Hoch/Hudson Union Society)

O’Reilly: Respect through decapitation (photo: Justin Hoch/Hudson Union Society)

That’s right, Bill O’Reilly– whose network is known for on-air fantasies about murdering public figures, jokes about the assassination of the president, and is the only network named by more than one spree killer as having helped to inspire their murderous designs–is worried that the country is becoming too disrespectful. (See: “Fox News: The No. 1 Name in Murder Fantasies,” for all citations.)

Apparently O’Reilly’s declaration that we are in the clutches of an epidemic of disrespect is based on two things that appeared before his eyes: a viral video of a young woman mouthing off to a Florida judge and getting a 30-day contempt sentence; and the New York public school system’s new “discipline code,” which keeps students who commit “low-level infractions” in class longer before suspending or expelling them, a notion that outrages O’Reilly:

As a former teacher, I know if the system allows students to curse out teachers in front of other students, all discipline breaks down. By the way, that’s one of the reasons I send my kids to Catholic school in New York State.

I don’t know if schools could be to blame, but should, heaven forbid, anyone in O’Reilly’s family come down with the disrespect bug, I’d be prone to look for the source a little closer to home.    

About Steve Rendall

Senior Media Analyst and Co-producer of CounterSpin Steve Rendall is FAIR's senior analyst. He is co-host of CounterSpin, FAIR's national radio show. His work has received awards from Project Censored, and has won the praise of noted journalists such as Les Payne, Molly Ivins and Garry Wills. He is co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error (The New Press, 1995, New York City). Rendall has appeared on dozens of national television and radio shows, including appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, CNBC, MTV and Fox Morning News. He was the subject of a profile in the New York Times (5/19/96), and has been quoted on issues of media and politics in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times. Rendall contributed stories to the International Herald Tribune from France, Spain and North Africa; worked as a freelance writer in San Francisco; and worked as an archivist collecting historical material on the Spanish Civil War and the volunteers who fought in it. Rendall studied philosophy and chemistry at San Francisco State University, the College of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley.