Columns, Opinion

DONNELLY: BU caters to bigot Bill: The O’RLY?! factor

Hey, Bill O’Reilly: My most sincere apologies for not making it to your lecture on Friday. I was tied-up washing paper plates and making the hero’s attempt to brush my tongue without dry-heaving. As these are both paramount endeavors, I hope you can understand and forgive my absence.

While we’re on the subject of repentance, please forgive College of Communication Dean Tom Fiedler for leading his students to believe that he is a reliable proponent of evenhanded media while deeming you ‘- an insufferable, polarizing, backwards-thinking bigot ‘- valuable to the school or its aim in any capacity. I know he’s still new at this, and there’s definitely a learning curve, so I’m more than willing to apologize on his behalf. He’s a little embarrassed, and it wouldn’t be fair of us to hold it against him.

Still, I find it hard to believe that COM, a school that perpetually markets itself as a canvasser of media progressivism, could overlook the fact that you, Bill, are that philosophy’s antithesis. And yes, it’s possible that could make me sound like a whiny leftist, and maybe I’m speaking too generally, but you’ve given me more to discuss than I have time or space for.

But I’ll give it a shot. Frankly, Bill, I couldn’t care less about politics. That’s not the issue here. I’m just trying to understand how or why you’ve been invited back to speak about the future of news at your alma mater when its classes instruct me to approach news in an impartial and dispassionate manner. Because somehow your likening of an abortive physician’s just-murdered body to ‘the shame of America’ ‘- as you once mentioned on your show — isn’t featured in Strunk and White.’

Moreover, as much as I try, I can’t find a passage in the AP Stylebook that grants you journalistic leverage to tell an antiwar protestor who just lost his father in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that his recently widowed mother should be ashamed of him. Yeah, I’m thumbing through and I just don’t think it’s in here.

But maybe I’m wrong, and I must have overlooked some grainy details, because it seems our friend Fiedler has gone ahead and told In These Times writer Daniel Gewertz that you’re a role model for students and have lead ‘an honorable life.’

So, if we, as students, do not fall under the narrowed umbrella of what you believe to be honorable ‘- most notably, sitting behind a desk, flailing your index finger like a Tourette’s-stricken magician and deeming any person who is unlike yourself a threat to society ‘- would we still have been welcome to your award ceremony? This is our school, but did we even have a guaranteed bid to sit there, safely, without being humiliated, disparaged or demonized?

On second thought, I’m sorry ‘- it would be rude of me to expect that you’d be willing to accommodate our circus when you were in far greater peril than we. I don’t know if anyone warned you, Bill, but there are homosexuals at BU. They slither up and down the streets, stopping only to feast on the blood of babies beneath carriage canopies and throw handfuls of leather and glitter at innocent passersby. There are immigrants, too, and even women who take birth control for pregnancy prevention. Don’t look them in the eye, though. You’ll most assuredly turn to stone.

I don’t want to get too off-track here, though. Because this is all about the state of news, right? But isn’t it pretty telling that I couldn’t keep it there? Doesn’t it always seem like conversations with your name attached ultimately devolve into partisanship and partition? Because, again, I was under the impression that news involved neither, but that’s just what Tom has told me, and the horse’s mouth can’t seem to get its story straight.

Maybe I should have checked my own biases, swallowed my pride and let you, yourself, tell me what news is to avoid all this superfluous confusion. I couldn’t seem to get to that point, though. Maybe it was cowardice. It could also be that I’m taking a subconscious note from you and your unmoving disposition. Consider it complimentary.

No, I’ll be the first to admit I took the coward’s approach. But I would so much rather be a coward than humor a clueless administration of a university that is totally out-of-touch with its student body with my own unwilling attendance.

I wasn’t thrilled when BU lost its lard-inoculating Taco Bell. I still can’t seem to rationalize the print quota overhaul. But I have never walked into a classroom in this university and felt ashamed to be there. By welcoming you, Bill O’Reilly, back to BU, the school made an implicit statement to students that anyone who’s been scathed or scorned by your long-winded, hateful rants is unwelcome here. If your lecture was even-tempered and fair, this still would have been the case. It could have never compensated for the years of revulsion with which you’ve already burdened us.

And, if you have a moment, tell COM to spare me the ‘representing all sides’ defense. My Oral B Cross Action just nicked a tonsil and there’s not much calm left before the storm. That’ll definitely put me over the edge.

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