Why Bill O'Reilly is wrong about Bruce Springsteen

By Gary Korb

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.


azure said…
Arghhhhhhhh!!! Bill O'Reilly is a war-mongering, fear-mongering, loud-mouthed, pontificating polemic ratings whore. 'Nuff said.
Dan said…
I like O'Reiily and still Tivo it every night. Recently all those "Body Talk" segments and none stop smear campaigns on NBC, CNN and MSNBC are just to much. Focus on social and political issues with talking points and stop the smear campaigns. I find myself fast forwarding and deleting episode's more and more these days.
Just imagine if every news channel spent a segment every hour to smearing the competition. Talk about propaganda / spin!
jdcree said…
Please...Although I don't care about Springsteen's political positions, nor O'Reilly's for that matter, don;t you get a little sick of the adoration and heavy panting given to celebrities political opinions in general? The "Boss" may be a great musician and entertainer, but why do, or should, his political opinions carry any more weight than yours or my own?

I think O'Reilly's point is that fans should at least remember that these celebs many times have nothing better to do than let their hearts bleed out to the uninformed fan base, rather than offering a more responsible position, like reality and the ""whole" truth.

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