For two Wisconsin journalists, it wasn’t enough to start a Web site called “I Hate Bill O’Reilly.” There just wasn’t enough anger and frustration in that.
They had to found an organization named “Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O’Reilly.” And then follow that up by writing a book by the same name.
Joseph Minton Amann and Tom Breuer are friends who met while working at an alternative newspaper. They’ve been getting quite a bit of national attention for taking on TV loudmouth O’Reilly via various media.
Amann and Breuer call “Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O’Reilly” an “organization of hope.” Now the book by the same name is available.
Of course, O’Reilly is the subject of many treatises proclaiming their hatred of his conservative politics and persona. What makes this book unique is its psychology. Breuer and Amann don’t just point out all the factual inaccuracies and fallacious arguments put forth by the cable juggernaut on his show, “The O’Reilly Factor.” They psychoanalyze – that’s a pun, because they believe O’Reilly is psychotic – his motives and state of mind.
How is it, they wonder, that he views all liberal politics as “spin” while seeing his own ilk as harbingers of truth?
“The same way medieval astronomers could stare at the sky and think the sun orbits the Earth,” the authors remark in their opening chapter. “O’Reilly believes he and his opinions are the center of the center of the political universe, and so everything that departs from those opinions by definition spins around him.”
On their way to an interview on radio’s “Al Franken Show,” Amann and Breuer remarked about their favorite subject and his place in our world.
Q: So how did a book come out of this?
Amann: After a year we decided that just doing daily Web postings wasn’t enough to deal with O’Reilly’s megalomania and craziness, so we decided to start a book project.
Q: How would you explain his phenomenon?
Breuer: I think he has an instinct to what people will react to. He’s good at fomenting outrage. One of Joe’s jokes is that the only thing he peddles more than outrage is “Factor” (his show) gear.
Q: What kind of response have you gotten from the Web site and the book?
Amann: We’re really happy with the response, but at the same time we think it should be tenfold. We really think that the outrage around O’Reilly is just beginning. As he continues to show his true colors and delves deeper into the depths of insanity, I think the popularity of the Web site and book will only grow.
Q: Why do people listen to him?
Breuer: I think there’s a certain population that watches him in kind of an ironic way, where they derive some entertainment value from watching a ranting loon every night.
I watch it fairly frequently but not as much as Joe, because I have a doctor’s note that says I don’t have to.
Q: It seems like you have conservatives and Republicans over here, and then you have O’Reilly in a category by himself. Do you see it that way?
Breuer: We’re coming from a liberal perspective, but it’s not just about his political take on things. Crazy is nonpartisan.
Amann: I honestly believe that there are great conservative minds out there; it’s just that O’Reilly isn’t one of them.
Q: Do you think at some point he’s going to try to take you guys on?
Amann: I seriously doubt it. But yes, I would love to sit across from Bill and discuss his psychosis. He can’t handle criticism and he probably would become a ranting, raving lunatic, and if that were the case, I would just look him calmly in the eyes and tell him, “Bill, I’m not your father. And I know that’s who you want to have this conversation with, I know that’s who you’re angry at, but I’m not him. You need to let go of that in order to get better. For yourself. And for the country.”
Q: Is this the new face of journalism, or does that term not apply to O’Reilly?
Amann: I wouldn’t want to say that because O’Reilly doesn’t have a journalism background – that’s his problem. I think that if Edward R. Murrow did crystal meth twice a day and bonered out every time a new intern arrived, he might be at the same level of journalist as O’Reilly is.
Breuer: We just want to clarify that we’re not saying O’Reilly does crystal meth.
Amann: OK, it is not without reasonable doubt that we say O’Reilly does crystal meth.
Q: What about this sex tape scandal that just blew over?
Amann: It’s not so much that he had phone sex with an underling, which is unfortunate. It’s that he had bad phone sex. When we looked at his actual technique, it was horrible. It shows how out of touch he is with reality, to think that using words like modus operandi is a good phone sex technique. So we dedicate an entire part of the book to giving him pointers.
Q: Could O’Reilly have happened without the phenomenon that is Fox News?
Amann: Wow. No one’s ever asked that. I think it would have been a longer road, but I don’t think he would be allowed to say the crazy things he says on other channels. I think Fox News has really low standards, so long as you have ratings. It is unique to Fox that O’Reilly would be allowed to become what he is today.