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Posted by on Oct 29, 2006 in At TMV | 17 comments

Letterman Kicking O’Reilly’s Behind (UPDATE TWO)

NOTE: This was run yesterday and since an update was added later in the day we’ve redated this post to run it today out of its regular posting order.

Crooks and Liars has a video up of David Letterman kicking O’Reilly’s behind. From the transcript:

Letterman: Let me ask you a question — was there more heinous, more dangerous violence taking place before in Iraq, or is there more heinous, dangerous violence taking place now in Iraq?

O’Reilly: Oh, stop it. Saddam Hussein slaughtered 300,000 to 400,000 people, all right, so knock it off… It isn’t so black and white, Dave — it isn’t, ‘We’re a bad country. Bush is an evil liar.’ That’s not true.

Letterman: I didn’t say he was an evil liar. You’re putting words in my mouth, just the way you put artificial facts in your head!


Letterman took on Fox, Limbaugh, and O’Reilly in a hilarious manner.

Watch it yourself.

I added this to comments and Michael vdG asked me to add it as an update under this post. This actually contains my two comments posted underneath this post:

If you listen carefully to what Letterman is saying, he’s basically giving the view of MANY centrist and independent voters who gave the administration the benefit of the doubt and now feel snookered. It all boils down to issues of credibility and highly-regimented partisan thinking. He’s not talking to O’Reilly as a Democratic partisan or a Bush partisan. He’s clearly upset and frustrated at what was [officially] stated, where we are now and precisely what justifies existing policy when people are dying.

Just a “trust us” is no good anymore. Except for lockstep Republicans such as Rush, Hannity and those who get their intellectual marching orders from them, Americans of BOTH parties and independents are looking at things, reaching conclusions and waiting for answers that are not being delivered.

Note that [Bob Woodward’s]State of Denial is clearly a book with key sources who were closer to the first President Bush who don’t like what they see and where we’re going. I was going to link this right now but see Michael did it. They key here is that Letterman is not giving an Air America regurgitation or a “yes you’re right” Rush/Sean pat on the back to the administration. He is thinking things through, not just giving a pro- or anti-war line.

The preening O’Reilly isn’t about that kind of thing, nor are most talk show hosts on the radio. Thought=weakness=wishiwashiness.

FYI when I worked at the Wichita Eagle-Beacon years ago, one of my favorite people was an editorial writer named Gretchen. She eventually married one of my other favorite people, a business writer named Bob. It was only towards the end of my stay there that I learned she was David Letterman’s sister. I moved on and so did they. I was a huge David Letterman fan from his very first appearances and remain so.

What’s remarkable about this clip is that he’s coming from a space that many of us come from right now.

I have repeatedly said that the GOP could not have the kind of control it did without some independent support; independent voters have either been split (because it’s iffy as to whether they wanted to vote for the GOP or not, but that’s the nature of being an independent) or gave the GOP the benefit of the doubt. Now they are moving towards the Democrats. It’s partially because of the way the war has gone but it is also I believe because of a sense that a) they have been had and b) the administration and its supporters go through all kinds of mental gymnastics to either deny or downplay that they have been had. I think the latter point is what’s going to cost the GOP independent support.

The Letterman clip is unusual in that it encapsulates this aspect so totally and also shows Letterman in a mode that few people have seen him ever in. Even the way he ends it is devastating to O’Reilly.

Washington Post account
Huffington Post
Ezra Klein
The Reaction (our co-blogger Michael Sticking’s fine site)

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