Friday, January 06, 2006

How I missed out being on "The Factor"

If I had played my cards right, I might have appeared on Bill O'Reilly's popular Fox News Channel show, "The O'Reilly Factor," last night.

But I cannot tell a lie.

I DO NOT read the Houston Chronicle's editorials.

Here's the background.

A guy with O'Reilly's show emailed me yesterday morning saying I had been "recommended" as someone who might be willing to go on television as a "expert" on the Houston Chronicle editorial board.

I asked the guy who recommended me, and he told me Anne Linehan of blogHouston.

I immediately began wondering, "What do I wear?"

The hard hat that's in my blog mugshot? Oooh, no, my long-sleeve Texas Longhorn dress shirt, the one with the logo above the pocket. Yeah, man, that will be cool. We won the national championship! Yeah, baby!!

I called the guy and he began asking me questions. He said "Bill" really liked a story the Chron ran about child prostitution in Mexico (I remembered reading the first three grafs) but he said "Bill" was troubled by the Chron's editorial stance against building a wall along the Rio Grande to stem illegal immigration (didn't read that one.)

So I decided to tell the guy the truth. I don't read the Chron's editorials, I said, so I'm really not an "expert" on them. I didn't even read them when I worked there. In fact, I don't think many people at all read them, outside of a few self-flagellating bloggers (how do they stand it?) and a handful of elected office holders. OK, that's an exagerration, but I would venture to say that less than 10 percent of the newspaper's readership bother with the editorials.

You could almost feel the disappointment of the O'Reilly operative on the long-distance wire. I tried to make him feel better, offering that, yes, the newspaper's editorial stance is probably out-of-step with mainstream public opinion in mostly conservative southeast Texas, and that's probably due to editor Jeff Cohen's belief that the paper should stand up and represent the "underdog."

But there was no saving face now. The guy said, listen, let me have one of my assistants get back with you later and talk about logistics and ask you a few other questions. I said OK. But I knew I had missed my big chance to go on "The Factor" wearing my burnt orange Longhorn dress shirt (but probably not my safety hard hat.)

That night, I turned on "The Factor" and watched Anne Linehan of blogHouston appear on the highest-rated show on cable news. She did a fine job, essentially supporting O'Reilly's position that the Chron editorial board is "liberal." (Golly!)

I think she was a much better guest than I might have been. If I had appeared on show, I fear it have broken up the flow of the program because I would have told O'Reilly something like this:

Bill, first you have to ask yourself this question. Why do you care what the Chronicle editorializes about? I worked there 7 years and at the other daily newspaper that went out of business for 14 years, and never have I heard anyone comment on an editorial they read in either paper. Because people don't read the editorials. They don't care about the editorials. People don't want to be told what to think. Editorials are an anachronism. The comics and recipe section have a higher readership. If the editor of the Chronicle really wanted to break new ground and be innovative, he'd disband the editorial board and re-allocate the salaries paid to those people to hire a bunch of new investigative reporters, and have some money left over to pay in bonuses for reporters that uncover real news. Now that would be serving his readership. Hey, what'd you think of that Rose Bowl last night, Bill?

I'm not sure how O'Reilly would have reacted. I fear he might have interrupted me. Just cut me off without batting an eye. But I really, really would like to know what he thought about the Rose Bowl, though.


JD Allen said...

He wouldn't have let you talk that long without interrupting you, Banjo.

And, by "editorials", do you mean the stuff on the left side of the op-eds? 'Cause I read the other stuff on there, sometimes, some of them, anyhow. And I don't remember having hit myself with a flail.

Anne said...

I was sure encouraging them to get you on! Then you decided to be uncooperative.

Ah well, back to the self-flagellation.

Bill said...

I don't think I've ever read an editorial in the Cron. But then I've never seen Bill O'Reilly's TV show, either.

Banjo Jones said...

yup, JD, editorials are on the left side of the op-ed page, unsigned by the person writer who writes them cause they're supposed to represent the stance/opinion of the newspaper as an institution. what a crock. try to figure this one out: the chron endorsed george w. bush for re-election yet come up with some really nutty left wing opinions (according to blogHouston, since I don't read them) ... anyhow, Anne, now I can't get a mental image out of my mind of you self-flagellating yourself every morning with the Chron editorial page spread out on the floor in front of her. YIKES! ... Bill, i think the quality of your life will remain just fine with the media choices you have made thus far.

Anonymous said...

Mr. O'Reilly would like me to stop reminding people, every time I see or hear his name, that he is in fact a draft-dodging fraud, who lied about growing up among the working class. He would also prefer that I quit pointing out that despite his claims of always taking the moral high road, he wrote a less-than sophomoric novel containing graphic depictions of cunnilingus, and that he not only christens dildos, but also touches himself in an unpure manner whenever he talks on the phone.
He'd like this - but it will never, ever happen.

A Frankein said...

We read the Chron "editorial pages" every time we read a GD public affairs news story in the Chron, and that is what is wrong with the GD paper!

I like many of it's none-public affairs sections but the hard public affairs news section has been turned into one big editorial page! said...

Dear Mr. A. Franken,

Considering your radio show ratings, who is listening anyway?

You could probably get more traffic for your views on a street corner.:^D