July 22, 2004  ·  Lessig

Jim Gilliam, one of the producers on Outfoxed, has a great account of O’Reilly’s temper tantrum about reaction to the movie.

UPDATE: thanks kd. I don’t agree that the points are “reasoned” and I certainly think it is absolutely wrong for him to continue to slander Glick as he has, but I’m happy that the debate avoid side-issues.

  • Karl

    Temper tantrum? Now Professor, don’t sink to the level of the book critics you accused of making ad hominem attacks only a few weeks ago. While I’m sure you, and certainly I, find him grating, O’Reilly makes several reasoned points. If you wish to dismiss them, then first you should disprove them.


  • Nate

    Did anyone see the Glick appearance on O’Reilly’s show? I had always read that Glick said some things that O’Reilly didn’t like and O’Reilly went ballistic. Now O’Reilly says that it was Glick who was out of control. Is O’Reilly lying?

  • RGM

    I watched the Glick episode of the O’Reilly Factor, and O’Reilly is stretching the truth a whole lot. Glick came on the show as an opponent to the way the Bush administration reacted post-9/11, but was very well spoken, calm, and collected during the interview. O’Reilly got really upset by this and was saying some pretty terrible things, for instance he yelled that Glick’s father, who died in the attacks, would be disappointed in his son. O’Reilly then wouldn’t have any more of Glick, who throughout O’Reilly’s attacks somehow maintained his composure, and just started screaming ‘shut up’ over and over until Glick gave up. It was a really depressing show.

    Regarding the Terry Gross interview: O’Reilly lied about the Glick interview then, too. Only after Gross admitted not having watched the Glick episode did O’Reilly begin telling the story that made O’Reilly look like a victim. It’s pretty much the same story in the link that Professor Lessig posted, though in person he was much more dramatic about it.

    It really is tragic that O’Reilly gets away with as much as he does. Even ‘Republicans’ should be able to see him for the arrogant charlatan that he is.

  • 20 Tank


    I don’t like Bush and I don’t like Fox. But let us not forget that moveon.org also has an agenda to push.

  • jt

    I agree with kd. Larry, you appear to me mischaracterizing the link. It certainly doesn’t look like a “tantrum”, and he does appear to make several points which you still refuse to address. This is your blog and you may do as you will, but I think it is certainly intellectually dishonest of you to try to stifle debate about the content that YOU linked.

    I hope you realize that because of your work on IP, many of the visitors to your blog do not share your other political views. Honestly, I visited your blog today hoping to hear your thoughts on the INDUCE hearing, but all I can see is page after page of random comments about this Outfoxed thing. I can’t even figure out what your argument is.

    Did you expect us to thoughtlessly jump on the bandwagon with you to point-and-laugh at O’Reilly? I’m no fan of him myself, but claiming that O’Reilly is egotistical is like saying Rush is biased to the right. It’s hardly news.

  • http://www.aaronsw.com/ Aaron Swartz

    Where are O’Reilly’s reasoned points exactly?

  • Mike

    Got to agree with jt on this one – you’re spending how much time ranting on about “Outfoxed”, and how little about INDUCE?

    As far as the rest, O’Reilly and Glick have issues with each other. That much is clear. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle, and Outfoxed itself IS propaganda, not an exploration of anything approaching real truth.

    Every day I come here, Lessig, I have to remind myself that you’re really not THAT far out there, that you do have important work with Creative Commons, the EFF, and IP law.

    As for your other political views, well, let’s face it – all I see is yet another partisan hack going at it. And that’s sad.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    I hope I’m not messing up any strategy by pointing out that the focus on “OutFoxed” stems in part from a hope that Fox News will be extremely stupid, by bringing a weak copyright-infringement lawsuit against a “lovable hero” of a defendant. After all, it happened with the trademark lawsuit against Al Franken’s book. But fortunately or unfortunately, it seems FOX has learned their lesson. Or at least cooler heads have prevailed this time.

    Speaking of relevant Net stuff in the news, can I try shameless self-promotion of my Nitke v. Ashcroft report, given that just a few days ago there was an EFF Deep Links article mentioning it? – Will Obscenity Ruling Break Online Anonymity?

  • Julie

    I’m with Aaron, and am asking this honestly and non-aggressively:

    Can someone (jt? kd?) please tell me (in quotes) O’Reilly’s points?

    Thank you.

  • Julie

    I meant I’m with Aaron on this, not I’m *with* Aaron. I don’t even know Aaron.

  • http://commonthoughts.com Robert Buice

    A point that both Fox and their critics (and many other people) seem to forget when discussing the issue of “bias” in the media, is that there is no such thing as truth. There are only perceptions. In that sense, everything is propaganda. Just because the final result does not give equal time to both sides does not preclude the fact that equal weighting could have been given to both sides in the research for a peice. Fox could run a stop watch in the corner of their news cast that ticked off equal time spent on “liberal” and “conservative” and the network would be no less biased than it is now. Fox does run a number of liberal guests, but they do so with a carefully prepared and timed series of high school debate tactics that result in a denegration of the liberal view. An interesting result of perception to me is that O’Reilly once had a tabloid tv new show. No one took him seriously; he was written off as a complete hack. A major network sticks the Fox News symbol and the “Fair and Balanced” moniker in front of him and suddenly he is a journalist that merits discussion.

  • jt

    Sure, i’ll play along.

    But everyone here should be smart enough to find his main points, because they’re labeled. Below is my outline of the transcript.

    Thesis: ‘The Times’ uses its news pages to promote a liberal editorial position and uses its columnists to smear high profile people with whom the paper disagrees.

    Supporting point 1: book reviewer Janet Maslin gave glowing tribute to Stewart Smalley’s defamation. When I mailed Maslin proof the man was lying, proof, she ignored the evidence completely.

    Supporting point 2: Frank Rich accused me of taking bribes from Mel Gibson over “The Passion” controversy. Rich couldn’t produce any evidence of that. And on the same subject, “The Times” had to issue a printed retraction when one of their reporters wrote that Gibson “deployed” me.

    Supporting point 3: “The Times” has run 46 front-page stories about the Abu Ghraib scandal, far more than any major American paper and is using the issue to directly hammer the Bush administration.

    We also have to acknowledge that the whole “Glick” interview is a matter of interpretation. I happen to think they were both equally at fault, Glick for prodding O’Reilly, and O’Reilly for responding predictably. However, his points above sound pretty reasoned.

  • john

    I don’t know about you, but I thought that the point of interviewing someone was to ask them questions and usually that means finding out (for the sake of the viewers) how the guest feels.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the guest might have a hard time answering questions if they are told to “shut up”.

  • Glenn Fleishman

    Points on O’Reilly:

    1. We don’t know what proof he sent. I’ve seen the counter to this when Al Franken has systematically taken apart O’Reilly’s claim of Franken lying. The whole Peabody Award thing is a weird exercise on O’Reilly’s part, for instance, and he continues to claim that he never said things that you can watch him say on the tape. We’d need to see O’Reilly proof (in a blog? that would be great!) to counter it, and know whether Maslin was right to not correct her review.

    2. I can’t find the citation, but Rich didn’t call it a bribe. He noted the financial connection between Gibson paying O’Reilly millions of dollars for the rights to a book, and then O’Reilly promoted Gibson’s film without disclosing that relationship. Those are all facts. O’Reilly is calling it a bribe. Rich was calling it an undisclosed financial connection that any media organization should disclose when attempting to portray news.

    3. I don’t have the resources to confirm whether the Times ran this many stories or if other papers with other characterized political bents did more or less. We haven’t seen the bottom of this story yet, so expect more when the rape videos actually finally leak out.

  • Daniel West

    I’ve heard and read the Glick interview and read the ad Glick signed.

    I have to disagree with Lessig on the idea that the ad does not equate US military actions with terrorist acts – in the 1st column it certainly does create a parallel between 9/11 and US attacks in Vietnam, Baghdad etc. I think the intention to say that recent US political/military actions have similar qualities to those of terrorists or repressionary regimes is quite clear.

    However I also have to disagree with jt – we don’t have to acknowledge that the conduct of the Glick interview and the way O’Reilly has subsequently portrayed it is a matter of perception – O’Reilly was unforgivably personally offensive and threatening to a man who remained calm the whole time, he deliberately misinterpreted Glick’s statements and position (primarily making him out to be anti-American when he had not said that) and has subsequently mischaracterised the nature of the exchange. There is very very little room for perception.

    Lastly I do feel Glenn has well summed up the answers to O’Reilly’s points. Your summation of those points and Glenn’s answers show why O’Reilly and similar entertainers get taken seriously – as they can make assertions that sound very reasonable, but either don’t contain enough information or connect two ideas (the Times having alot of front page stories on a topic and the Times being politically biased) that need an awful lot more analysis to really connect.

    Now I’m going to look up what “INDUCE” is.