O'REILLY'S STILL WORSE....

O'REILLY'S STILL WORSE. It's certainly a wise move for the Clinton campaign to curry some favor with the netroots set, and this DailyKos diary defending the Kos convention from Bill O'Reilly is a smart start. But is this really correct?

Sen. Clinton does not agree with everything said on Daily Kos, but isolating a few comments as a way to smear a blog frequented by hundreds of thousands of people a day is wrong. Certainly you would understand this when you look at some of the extreme views guests on your show have advocated over the years. Here are just a few examples:

"You've hosted Michael Savage, who has called MLK Jr. Day a "racket" designed to steal ‘white males' birthright.’

"You've hosted David Horowitz, who has called Democrats ‘apologists for terrorists.’

"You've hosted, Ann Coulter who said of the 9/11 widows: ‘I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ death so much.’

"It wouldn't be reasonable to attribute these views to you...

But why not? DailyKos really is like a town square: People walk into the middle of it and shout. Not so with O'Reilly's show. There, a group of producers and editors, in consultation with O'Reilly, consciously invite guests who will be able to use the program's prominence as a megaphone for their message. O'Reilly could, of course, launch into an attack on these people, but when he brings them on as simply erudite commentators and observers, as he often does with the group mentioned here, he is endorsing their worth as analysts in the public sphere. In other words, the existence of obscene and offensive commentators on DailyKos is evidence of the site's passivity and openness. With O'Reilly, its evidence of what O'Reilly and his team wanted to proactively showcase on their program that evening. The two really are different.

All that said, props to the Clinton campaign for hitting back on O'Reilly. It's a real measure of the netroots' influence that the Clinton campaign is willing to get blasted by O'Reilly in order to rack up some points with the peoples of the internets.

--Ezra Klein

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