Why Bill O'Reilly is wrong about Bruce Springsteen
I confess! I'm a regular viewer of The O'Reilly Factor. It's not because I'm an O'Reilly "Kool-Aid drinker," as he might say. Nor am I a Republican or a Neo-Con. I watch it primarily because Mr. O'Reilly has a good mix of regular weekly analysts like Bernie Goldstein, Dennis Miller, Geraldo Rivera, and my favorite conservative hottie, Michelle Malkin. Although I tend to see eye-to-eye with Bill on many issues, it seems that lately the more I watch "The Factor," the more I seem to disagree with him. What gnaws at me is his obsession with certain topics. Case in point: Liberal-minded (so-called) celebrities.
Last night, Bill had on Kinky Friedman (holding one of his big cigars in plain view of the camera - go Kinky!) to respond to Bill's accusations that Springsteen, who was featured this past Sunday night in a 60 Minutes interview, was ill-informed with regard to his views on the Bush administration's handling of homeland security and the war in Iraq. O'Reilly even went so far as to saying Bruce was "using his music and his talent to try and persuade people that his view of the world is right, and that can be dangerous in the war on terror." Later on in the interview he refers to The Boss "a pinhead." Hey, I thought this was the "NO-spin zone."
It was obvious that Kinky is Springsteen fan, if even from a distance, and by Kinky's reactions (watch the video, "Kinky Friedman on Bruce Springsteen" in the Fox News Video box) I think O'Reilly made Mr. Friedman somewhat uncomfortable, maybe even a little intimated. When the pontificating O'Reilly finally gave him a chance to speak Kinky did have some good comebacks, At one point in the segment, referring to the inspiration fans get from stars like Springsteen, et. al., Kinky said, "Have you ever met one politician who's inspired you." Later Kinky added, "Musicians can run this place better than politicians," which O'Reilly arrogantly shrugged-off. (As a musician, I agree with Kinky.)
Having been a long-time follower of Mr. Springsteen's oeuvre, I don't think Bruce wants to willfully influence anybody. His words and music speak for themselves and are open to interpretation, just like the music of artists like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, which Kinky clearly pointed out.
Bill, get off your high horse and leave the actors and musicians alone. Sure, they have some influence on young people, many of whom are of voting age (Bill's main concern on this issue).
To be fair, if you make a statement with regard to the Iraq war or the way the administration is handling things, you should be able to back it up.
That said, with regard to most Springsteen fans - many of whom are closer to Bruce in age, and like him, have families (myself included) - I believe they are quite capable of making up their own minds on the issues, and more interested in just listening to some good music.