On the O’Reilly Factor I’m a “Conservative Intellectual?” Ouch.

December 13th, 2011 at 9:23 am David Frum | 78 Comments |

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It seems only yesterday that Bill O’Reilly, described me on air as a “great American.”

As I look it up, however, I see it was almost 4 years ago. I’d been stalked at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books by a 9/11 truther trying to videotape my conversations. After an escalating exchange of words, we had a final confrontation that ended with me smacking his camera.

At which point the confrontation took a Monty Python turn. The stalker – who was for the record bigger than me – called out some equivalent of “help, help I’m being repressed” and sought police protection, unsuccessfully.

Disappointed by the law, the stalker and his support group posted video of our encounter. A few days later, the item caught the attention of some O’Reilly Factor researcher.

Times change. I got a call from my inlaws about 8:30pm: turn on O’Reilly. The show was about to feature Bernie Goldberg, on the attack against my negative comments about Fox News on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources.”

I tuned in. Here’s Mediaite’s summary of what happened next:

CNN contributor David Frum caught Bill O’Reilly‘s eye yesterday on Reliable Sources, when he went after Fox News for being a bad influence and agent of misinformation in the 2012 election. O’Reilly didn’t understand Frum’s “beef” with the network, but Bernie Goldberg had an answer: Frum was merely “an intellectual who is frustrated because he doesn’t have the clout that you have.”

“Not that he’s an important guy, Frum,” O’Reilly noted as he asked Goldberg for analysis, but did note that it was a strange attack coming from a conservative. “They seem to be mad at Fox News,” he suggested. Goldberg had an answer to why this was the case: “there are two kinds of conservatives… intellectual conservatives, or something close to that– they don’t like the riff-raff.” Goldberg argued Frum was one of these intellectuals, and almost seemed sympathetic when asking O’Reilly rhetorically, “could you imagine how frustrating it must be to be an intellectual” who realizes “the riff-raff have more of an influence on politics and culture?” “They resent the fact that Fox News is an important player in the culture and, by and large, they’re not,” he concluded.

It continues in this vein for some while.

I won’t be the first person to make this point, and I won’t be the last, but still:

You’ve got to be dazzled by the capacity for double-think on display here.

On the one hand, Fox News are the despised riff-raff, the outsiders, the people unfairly dismissed as dumb and tragically excluded from all those magical Georgetown cocktail parties.

On the other hand, they’re the top, the nose on the great Durante, the dominant player in the political culture.

In the same way, Fox and talk radio claim to be staging an insurgency against a Washington Beltway Republican “establishment” – at the same time as Dick Morris astutely boasts on their air that the most important Republican primary is the one being conducted on the Fox News interview couch.

It’s some trick to believe both groups of things at the same time – and not only to believe them both, but to persuade a large TV audience to believe both those things too. Yet it’s done. As is another piece of double-think, this admittedly of more personal interest: the prolonged discussion of the irrelevance and unimportance of my comments about Fox. If they are so irrelevant and unimportant, gentlemen, why are you troubling yourselves over them?

Edit: This piece was originally published with minor errors that have been corrected.

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78 Comments so far ↓

  • mc419

    They forgot to mention that you hate Tebow too.

  • stuart777

    I am very pleased that Bill O’Reily does not approve of your point of view, if he did I would question myself for following this blog.

    • Graychin

      Everyone take notice! Mr. Frum has added O’Reilly and Goldberg to the Pantheon of Praise at the right of this page!

      Along with everyone from William Buckley to Steven Colbert.

  • kuri3460

    What I’m learning as I get older and (hopefully) wiser is that there’s simply no point in trying to hold a conversation about politics with certain people. It’s one thing to have strongly-held opinions, and quite another to simply be an argumentative contrarian.

  • Oldskool

    Ha, good smackdown. Fox personalities adopt the nastier traits of their bosses, Ailes and Murdoch. Or, they’re recruited because they already share those shortcomings.

    The Fox phenomena is all about destruction and machismo and paranoia, the kind you see in street gangs.

    • Fart Carbuncle

      “…we had a final confrontation that ended with me smacking his camera.”

      Violent reactionary would probably fit better than conservative intellectual.

  • overshoot

    Fox News may be the leading voice in conservative America, but they’re outsiders because conservatives in America are locked out of the corridors of power.

    • sweatyb

      I guess you can make the case that John Boehner, Mitch Mcconnell, Scott Walker, Newt Romney etc are not really “conservatives” based on some definition of the word conservative that excludes morally bankrupt Republicans and so therefore, “conservatives” are not in the “halls of power”.

      It’s harder to make the case that there’s any distance between Fox News and those same morally bankrupt Republicans. So either Fox does has nearly unlimited access to the “halls of power” or they’re not any more “conservative” than the Republicans who they promote.

      • overshoot

        I think you misunderstand: this is a tribal lore tautology. True Conservatives™ are always outsiders. Even when Bedouin conquer a kingdom, they are still Bedouin. Likewise Real American Conservatives™.

  • kccd

    In the same way, many conservatives believe that Christians, followers of the dominant religion in America, are persecuted in the USA.

  • Geprodis

    Only on Fox News is “intellectual” an insult.

  • bdtex

    Careful Dave. O’Reilly will probably send his ambush crew to stalk you. If there’s a confrontation,just say “They could’ve had knives.”.

  • beowulf

    I believe this was what David was referring to.

    “Fox News viewers are less informed than people who don’t watch any news, according to a new poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University…
    Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson, explained in a statement, “Because of the controls for partisanship, we know these results are not just driven by Republicans or other groups being more likely to watch Fox News. Rather, the results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all.
    This isn’t the first study that has found that Fox News viewers more misinformed in comparison to others. Last year, a study from the University of Maryland found that Fox News viewers were more likely to believe false information about politics.”

    • overshoot

      Rather, the results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all.

      That’s because the questions score The Truth™ as a wrong answer.

  • baw1064

    “Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!” would make a pretty good slogan for the average Fox News viewer.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    “Not that he’s an important guy, Frum,”
    Don’t worry Dave, you are important to us, and far, far more significantly, you are important to your family. As to O’Reilly, in 10 years he will be retired and tormenting the help.

    By the way, this was hilarious: The stalker – who was for the record bigger than me – called out some equivalent of “help, help I’m being repressed”

    That said, you really shouldn’t have smacked his camera, unless it was literally threatening you. Why get down to that type of idiots level? The best revenge is to be pleasant so as to rob them of their indignation.

  • midwest guy

    Being dismissed and publicly denigrated by the network which knowingly, intentionally, proudly displays ignorance and misinformation as truth would seem to be a very good thing. What exactly is the problem?

  • jamesj

    Drawing the ire of Bill O’Reilly is one of the highest forms of a honor a man can attain.

  • ottovbvs

    Don’t be too upset David, the bar for “conservative intellectuals” is pretty low made up as it is of folks like David Brooks, Bill Kristol and Charlie Krauthammer. I don’t see too many Nobel’s lurking there do you?

  • jdd_stl1


    Better to be an intellectual conservative than a ditto-head or a Fox News believer.

    From your ‘negative comments” mediaite link:

    “Yet despite all his criticisms of the party, Frum maintains he is still a Republican and intends to support his party’s nominee against President Obama next year.”

    So, even if Fox News and Limbaugh drive the selection of someone like Gingrich,
    you will still support him over Obama?

    Need I remind you what you said in the National Post:

    ‘A Gingrich presidency, if such a thing can even be imagined, would be a chaotic catastrophe. ”


    Is a catastrophe orchestrated by your own “party” what you really want to support?

    • overshoot

      Is a catastrophe orchestrated by your own “party” what you really want to support?

      Right or wrong, my Party!

    • jdd_stl1

      On the other hand, I can see the Democratic commercial already:

      “Dubbed a Conservative Intellectual by Fox News, David Frum
      predicted, ‘A Gingrich presidency, if such a thing can even be
      imagined, would be a chaotic catastrophe. ‘”

      • Reflection Ephemeral

        Huh, I thought you were going to say that was a Gingrich ad against Romney. “David Frum is part of the anti-family, pro-reparations, food stamp-loving, anti-colonialist, liberal-media-biased, homosexual agenda. And David Frum doesn’t like Newt Gingrich! Screw that guy! Paid for by Newt 2012“.

        As to the doublethink on display at Fox, I think pointing out that what they said didn’t make logical sense gives them too much credit. They don’t really have any ideology or rationale; they just have a team. So in Fox world, we’re awesome because we’re popular, and you’re lame because you’re trying to be popular, or whatever. Parsing the logic is like pointing out that the school bully contradicted himself when he was taunting you. Even if he did, that’s not the game he’s playing. Pointing it out is just going to get you hit, again.

        I was writing about this kind of “us vs. Them” tribalism as the sum total of GOP allegiance a while back, starting with a transcript of Richard Nixon saying a bunch of stuff about how infuriatingly disloyal and partial to the First Amendment Jews were, then I concluded:

        Nixon’s lingering influence in American politics is his use of code words in campaigns to target the id of whites. The funny thing is, in terms of the policies he pursued as president, he was something of a pragmatist. Today, of course, the Republican Party is 100% id (Johann Hari: “Confront the Republicans with any long-term social or economic problem, and they have one response: it would go away if only we insisted on our assumptions more aggressively.”). Billy Graham sat there in the Oval Office and nodded along with some of Nixon’s antisemitic comments; today, no one would utter such comments in polite company, but there’s an entire political party based on nothing but the Southern Strategy.


  • PracticalGirl

    I continue to be amused at the caliber of talk personalities who are going on the defensive after you, David. And by “caliber” I mean popularity, not quality. If indeed you are not an “important guy”, then why the “downward” attack (anathema to talkers) from O’Reilly?

  • armstp

    Here is an example of the most recent lying by FOX News. Pretty pathetic. They once again completely lie on their graphics. It is so blantant. How do they get away with it?



  • nhthinker

    On Howard Kurtz show,
    Frum claimed: “…we know for a fact that people that watch a lot of Fox come away knowing a lot less about important world events”
    Kurtz interrupts:…”you are assuming cause and effect there!”
    Frum “I’m not assuming…thats…
    Kurtz smiles…{knowing he caught Frum in a false assertion}
    Frum: “that’s a correlation, we know… BUT here’s what we can say… go from the Christmas tree to the biggest story in the world right now, which is what is going on in Europe and what the United States can or could do to help…One of the things you have to understand to understand this crisis is: what drives it. If you participate in the alternative knowledge system, you would think, what is going on in Europe is a debt crisis. There’s a big article in the wall street journal oped pages just the other day by Senator Jim DeMint…there are hundreds and hundreds of these articles that Europe is in trouble because of its debts…Spain has a lower debt level than Britain. And Britain is not in crisis and Spain is.
    Kurtz: “Lets get to the why” {because you are rambling}
    “you were very specific about talk radio, fox news, why do you think, in your view, and I’M NOT BUYING INTO THIS, your view, that they are pushing propaganda, and false facts, pseudofacts and information toward what end?”

    Frum: ” Because, um, these, ah, media institutions started as political projects, they started as ways to offer an alternative point of view for events. They have become an important industry so they see the conservative world, not as a set of ideas, but as a demographic. And the way you appeal to a demographic, is working by conflict. This is the oldest rule in how TV works and I’ve been writing..I wrote a history of the 1970s that made this point. TV enhances its own credibility by destroying the credibility of all other institutions. And you can see this in polls. Other institutions credibility decline, TVs credibility goes up…The old advertising model, local news stations, we’re right, and on your side”
    Kurtz: “Right” {where is this rambling going? he never answered my charge}
    Frum: “All those other people that are not”

    blah, blah, blah.
    Frum: “I worry about my team”

    Kurtz continued to HAMMER Frum and did not buy ANYTHING of what Frum was selling.

    Kurtz did a very respectable job showing Frum did not have anything real to back up his POV.

    Kurtz was totally incredulous of all Frum’s conspiracy charges.

    Frum goes on to claim that Romney had to reinvent himself to be appealing and that is NOT who Romney really is. {The sheer pompousness of Frum basically saying he knows who Romney is better than Romney does}

    Frum closes basically asking why Republicans are not for Keynesian stimulus at this point.

    Kurtz: “I’m not clear on how the media, Fox News, WSJ editorial page, have somehow forced the party to into this direction”

    Frum: It may be..um..because.. there have been people who are more creative…somebody like Rick Santorum, for example, is willing to say, ‘hey, upward mobility is not only not the best in the world, it’s one of the worse in the world’”

    Kurtz: “And what has happened to those people?”

    Frum: “They have been completely marginalized”

    Kurtz” “Deliberately?”

    Frum: “Ummm…look..I ..deliberately? It’s…It’s an ecosystem that has it’s own rules…If you go on TV and say there is no other country in the world that you can be born poor and become rich…you get a huge megaphone. If you tell people the truth which is most people most studies show the united states is worse that everybody else except Britain at upward mobility, there is no audience for you. Yet that is an important fact from a conservative point of view.”

    Frum did not answer any of Kurtz questions and sounded like a complete WHINER. His closing remark was an indictment of conservative “audiences” in general for not agreeing with Frum’s POV.

    Frum – Let us be clear – the vast preponderance of persons that would vote for a Republican Presidential candidate are fearful of large government, believe in balanced budgets, (just like most of Europe believes in balanced budgets, BTW), and are skeptical of more money printing while importing more than a half trillion of trade deficit every year- it is not sustainable to those that would vote Republican.

    • jakester

      Yeah, we all know just how intelligent, reasonable and thoughtful Bill’s and FOX’s fans are. Vulcan rationalism and total imperturbability at its finest

      • nhthinker

        Frum’s arguments were completely muddled and Kurtz called him on it.

        The “We know, for a fact…” was just a completely unreasoned irrational argument.

        Frum just did not “bring the goods” to prove his points, even to a center-left interviewer like Kurtz.

        Seemingly Fox has turned Frum into a muddled idiot and Frum claims he does not even watch Fox!

        As to O’Reilly, the same survey that Frum uses to say watching Fox “makes people stupid” actually indicates that watching O’Reilly “makes people 16 points smarter”.

        • jakester

          Watching O’Reilly makes people smarter? Drilling a hole in your head relieves migraines?

        • sweatyb

          Kurtz, the host, was completely unreceptive to what Frum was saying. When was Frum supposed to “bring the goods”? Every time he tried to make a point, Kurtz interrupted him.

          From your transcript, it doesn’t seem like Frum did a very good job. But I would venture to guess that Frum didn’t expect Kurtz to be so hostile. The only means that a guest has in such a situation is to completely ignore the host’s interruptions, be rude, and just say your piece as though you were doing a monologue.

          Otherwise you end up flustered, like Frum, with the host putting words in your mouth and making you defend positions you never took.

          He may be center-left to you, but he was carrying water for Fox News in the interview.

    • sweatyb

      Fox News viewers know less than people who don’t watch any news.

      Nobody circles the wagons like the conservative news media. It’s amazing.

      Frum claimed: “…we know for a fact that people that watch a lot of Fox come away knowing a lot less about important world events” Kurtz interrupts:…”you are assuming cause and effect there!”

      So, right here, Kurtz is saying that you can’t assume that Fox deliberately misleads its viewers because it could just be that Fox News viewers are overwhelmingly stupid!

      Kurtz then offers a different defense through the rest of the conversation, focusing on whether the misinformation is “deliberate”. Implying that it’s OK that Fox News leaves its viewers less informed than they were before they started watching because they didn’t mean it. It’s not their fault. They have really crappy reporters!

      • nhthinker

        Kurtz acted like a decent reporter should, asking for facts and challenging unsupportable rhetoric trying to be passed off as reason. Frum came off as an irrational cry-baby.

        • sweatyb

          Kurtz acted like a decent reporter should

          Judging from your transcript he was condescending, rude, and impatient. (Though, that might just be because you projected your personality into it when you wrote the transcript.)

          Kurtz refuses to engage on Frum’s main point: that Fox News viewers the most misinformed. Instead of saying, “that is really awful and embarrassing for a news agency.” he attacks Frum asking “Why?” Fox News would intentionally provide its audience bad information. Who cares? A news agency is supposed to be informing their audience! Not misleading them.

          If you want an answer to why (Frum suggests a profit motive) read about the “Two Santa Claus Theory” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jude_Wanniski#The_Two_Santa_Claus_Theory

          The truth does not fit the Republican agenda. Republicans are not for balanced budgets, smaller government or reduced trade deficits, unfortunately for you. They are for more wealth for the wealthy.

          Fox News provides them a platform from which they can safely declare Reagan shrunk the government and never raised taxes, the Bush tax cuts and wars did not cause the deficit to balloon, the rich “create” jobs, Obama is a terrorist appeaser, up is down and the moon’s made of goldfish.

  • magatha

    I am more concerned that intellectuals are increasingly objects of derision. I’ve noticed that public scorn of intellectuals has now made it acceptable to mock intellectuals in private exchanges. While I acknowledge that some intellectuals can be irritating (especially the ones who insist on extending civil rights to everyone, or point out that blanket stereotyping of specific components of the overall population are inaccurate and unfair) but, for the most part, the vast majority of intellectuals’ greatest “negative” attribute is that they are capable of critical thought. Every time a group claims the high ground or power based on the censure of intellectualism, very bad things happen (Khmer Rouge, the Chinese Proletarian Revolution, Hitler’s persecution of Jewish intellectuals are only a few examples). Am I the only one who is worried about where such attitudes might lead us?

  • jakester

    Bill O’Reilly is not only the embodiment of anti-intellectualism, the godfather of knee jerk ignorance, he totally lacks class. He routinely uses his show to attack his personal and FOX News critics under the aegis that he is reporting something profound. For a guy who is the #1 anchor in even dumbed down America, he always impressed me as being an insecure bully.

    For instance a couple weeks ago he launched into a blistering tirade against Ellen Barkin, because Ellen complained about being criticized by Billdo earlier, when she was a guest on the talk show, the Joy Behar Show. He couched his attack as some hypocritical irony laden assault on bad media, the ones who don’t research things but just attack and attack, since he never attacked Barkin on his “Factor” & CNN was derelict for not fact checking. The laugh was, Joy’s show is a talk show, not a news show, she is not obligated to research the comments of her guests before they even say them. But here’s the kicker, O’Reilly did attack Barkin, but not on the “Factor”. So he gins up his mindless fans by playing the victim yet again, while extolling the impeccable reputation of FOX. I mean if you are #1, even if she outright lied and he never once said a bad word about her, he should have enough class and gravitas to take an insult or two. Well Bill has sort of a point, in his hilariously hypocritical, unintentionally ironic way. CNN’s HLN (AKA Headline News) once actually had headline news. Now it is almost all some dumb talk show like Joy’s, Nancy Grace, Dr this or that, yadda yadda. US news in general seems like 85% opinion BS these days with FOX leading the pack.

  • lilrky

    Phrases that Fox News and it’s watchers cannot hear:
    cognitive dissonance
    critical thinking
    magical thinking
    junk science
    question authority

  • Primrose

    Fox News capacity for double-think is hardly news, but it is funny that Mr. Frum has gotten under O’Reilly’s skin, but then who doesn’t? O’Reilly tells Jon Steward he is unimportant and envies him (O’Reilly).

    I think this double think is classic narcissism. You are so great that the only reason things aren’t working out great is because people are oppressing you. If you don’t constantly see your reflection when you look out a window, it must be because someone boarded it up.

    More than any other philosophy this is what Fox news trumpets. Themselves. They teach people to be incapable of seeing anything but their own world view.

    I just heard that the show American Muslim is being boycotted because it shows Muslims as ordinary Americans going about their day. It fails to show them as radical, misogynists, out to kill all non-muslims. (I’m not joking that is the actually explanation of the Boycott.) This is not only dangerous for your party Mr. Frum, but the country as a whole. We can’t solve problems if some of us are incapable of processing reality.

    • jakester

      While I think boycotting the show “American Muslim” is pretty shallow and hysterical, I hope they do expose the hate filled jihadist types too on that show. I think it is pretty hypocritical of the Left and Liberals to attack nutter conservative Christians, while pretending that Muslims are just bundles of poor oppressed misunderstood people who need to be protected. I have no problem attacking any religious nutcase and fascist regardless of their faith, skin color or nationality.

      • sweatyb

        I hope they do expose the hate filled jihadist types too on that show.

        I don’t understand this line of reasoning. Should “Little People Big World” try to expose the hate-filled jihadist dwarf families in America? Or are you just assuming that if you get any group of muslim-americans together, some number of them will be jihadists terrorists bent on the destruction of America?

        If the latter, you might want to reconsider your knee-jerk reaction here.

        • jakester

          You are operating in the Religion of Peace paradigm. If it is okay to routinely trash and mock conservative Christians, then why not Muslims? Seems not only hypocritical but downright deadly foolish to me. That is like complaining about the terriers and schnauzers that nip at legs and bark, but ignoring far more dangerous pitbulls. Fact is those jihadist types and coreligionists who share their dim worldview are not a some phantom group.

        • Cindyflo

          So you are saying that any show about Christians should also include a guy who shoots up abortion clinics?

        • jakester

          Oh give me a break, So according to you, all Muslims in the USA are as enlightened and committed to pluralism, pacifism, tolerance and secularism like you are. As well as those bad Muslims are not real Muslims, since they are not committed to pluralism, pacifism, tolerance and secularism like you are.

          Yes, if I was doing a series on Christians in America, I would include at least a segment on some serious militia, dominionist, Westboro Baptist, Jesus camp type right wingers. I would hope the audience would realize they are a minority too

        • sweatyb

          You are saying that any show that purports to depict muslims should also show jihadists in order to be credible. With the implication that a show that doesn’t show jihadists is covering up the truth.

          How about a show about Jewish-Americans. Does it have to be about banker jews? Or a show about Italian Americans. Does it have to be about the mafia?

          I implore you to really read what I just wrote and think about why I wrote it. Don’t just think of what you’re going to write in your next post.

        • AnBr

          If it is okay to routinely trash and mock conservative Christians, then why not Muslims?

          You are very close to a false equivalency, comparing a sub set of one group (conservative Christians) to the entirety of another group, (all?) Muslims.

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          What a shame that you cannot distinguish secularist opposition to religious extremism — a position most notably taken these days by thinkers such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens– from the sordid racial demogoguery of morons like Glenn Beck and Pamela Gellar. Jakester’s views on Islam are plainly of the former sort. He isn’t a bigot, he simply doesn’t take kindly to any individuals or groups who menace the Enlightenment values he obviously holds, and as he has stated above (as well as on numerous other occasions) this includes Christians as well as Muslims. Your implication that he is a bigot is based on a flawed understanding of the subject of political Islam, one that conflates religious idenitiy with race or ethnicity. Really, I think Jakester could care less if religious fanatics have a pinkish or dusky complexion; he merely doesn’t want them meddling with his sex life, censoring the books and blogs he reads, or harrasing him for not hating gays. Or trying to kill him.

          Sweaty, your responses to Jakester’s posts border on the sort of subliterate pc sentimentalism that, as Sam Harris has ably pointed out, enables religious extremism and even allows it to flourish. I hope your not the sort of liberal who takes the self-pitying complaints of such idiots as Pentacostals and Palinite yokels at face value and wants to extend the undue niceties of multiculturalism to them, the poor things. (And if you don’t think that such persons exist in influential positions, simply do a Google search of “Lisa Miller,” “Newsweek,” and “Washington Post.”)

        • sweatyb

          A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.

          Doesn’t say anything about the color of someone’s skin. Nor did I say anything about skin color. I do think the word applies.

          secularist opposition to religious extremism

          OK, I understand. Religion is violent and dangerous and if we all just follow the principles of the Enlightenment we’ll have world peace and all our problems will be solved: a second golden age!

          he merely doesn’t want them meddling with his sex life, censoring the books and blogs he reads, or harrasing him for not hating gays. Or trying to kill him.

          You know what’s funny, I don’t want anyone doing that. I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth, but I bet if a completely secular organization wanted to censor the books he reads or tried to kill him, Jakester’d be pretty upset.

          OK, I get it. You don’t like religion. You’re happy to toss in the word “extremism” to make it more palatable but in truth you don’t believe that religion can exist without the extremists. Go on with your bad self; stand vigilant against the billions of people who pray to their Deities and go about their lives ignorant of the deep dark evil that festers inside them.

          It’s in me too, I guess.

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          In response to Sweaty:

          When I wrote that you implied that Jakester was a “bigot,” I erred. I should have been more specific and written “racist,” for you were clearly implying that he was one.

          I can see how my unintended vagueness may have confused you. I hope there is no longer any grounds for confusion.

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          Oh, and Sweaty, I wasn’t condeming all religious persons for intolerance and psychopathy, only religious extremists. Religious moderates– I’m assuming you fall under this mantle– are another thing entirely. I wouldn’t consider such persons a threat to anyone’s life or liberty, however I entirely agree with Sam Harris that religious moderates enable religious extremists by not being as outspokenly against them as they ought to be. (I also agree with Harris that PC sentamentalism and multiculturalism play a leading role in their silence.)

          And this hypotehtical scenario you offer of a “secular organization” doing dirt to Jakester: okay, but what of it? And what, in all seriousness, is most likely in this day and age? A religious groups or a secular group harrasing him?

  • Nanotek

    “At which point the confrontation took a Monty Python turn.”

    I had forgotten that skit … thanks … it never ceases to make me laugh

    as for O’Reilly … consider the source? … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5qU4qudJYk

    I suspect life seems a prison from inside his head

  • MSheridan

    Blockquote from above (slighty expanded with more of Goldberg’s words):

    Goldberg had an answer to why this was the case: “there are two kinds of conservatives… intellectual conservatives, or something close to that– they don’t like the riff-raff, or who they see as the riff-raff. They don’t like the Tea Party people, for instance, because they think they’re dumb.” Goldberg argued Frum was one of these intellectuals, and almost seemed sympathetic when asking O’Reilly rhetorically, “could you imagine how frustrating it must be to be an intellectual” who realizes “the riff-raff have more of an influence on politics and culture?” “They resent the fact that Fox News is an important player in the culture and, by and large, they’re not,” he concluded.

    I don’t know about the “there are two kinds of conservatives” part of Goldberg’s statement. I think there are probably more than two. Otherwise, though, I have to say I think he got you dead to rights, and I don’t generally agree with Bernard Goldberg. You are an intellectual conservative, you don’t like the “riff-raff”, and you do seem to resent the fact that your party is now dominated by Tea Party people, who you do frequently seem to consider uninformed (at best).


  • beowulf

    “Not that he’s an important guy, Frum,” O’Reilly noted as he asked Goldberg for analysis…

    Oh, that will not go over well in the Vanuatu Islands! :o )

    “The idea of a messiah-like outsider was given a huge boost during the Second World War… They were impressed by the large amounts of cargo – tanks, weapons, medicine and food – brought by the US military. The shadowy spirit figure they already believed in gradually assumed a name and a nationality – Jon Frum is believed to be a contraction of John From America, a reference perhaps to a soldier who showed particular generosity.”

  • nhthinker

    “When was Frum supposed to “bring the goods”? Every time he tried to make a point, Kurtz interrupted him.”
    Kurtz let Frum ramble for minutes at a time. Just look at the transcript. After two minutes of rambling, it was clear that Frum had either forgotten Kurtz’s challenge for evidence or just decided not to care. In either case, it did not come off well for David.

    I have heard 9/11 Truthers make much more rational arguments of evidence than Frum was presenting to Kurtz.

    • sweatyb

      From your transcript, I’d agree that Frum’s performance was pretty weak. It’s tough because he’s trying to make the case for Mitt Romney and that’s causing an intense amount of cognitive dissonance. It’s hard to see someone you care about and think you know, embarrassing themselves. You make all sorts of rationalizations.

      And once you start bending reality to fit your fixed idea, it’s hard to carry a coherent argument.

      Frum would have been better off sticking with what’s true: Fox News does distort the news they report and their viewers are worse-off for having watched.

      • margoharris1

        Republicans are always in a state of fear that they will say something that the Grand Pooh-Bah of Upper Butt Crack, Limbaugh will punish them. Or that the head of the Wack Pack Donald Trump will try to get attention and say bad things about them. A party that lives a lie with followers that demand that they be lied to.
        Conservatism is dead, it just won’t lay down in it’s grave like a Zombie.

  • nitrat

    Wow, David, be careful.

    Murdoch had a private detective following Member of Parliament Tom Watson. He will probably sic O’Keefe or Breibart on you.

    Is anyone EVER going to ask Chris Christie why he refused to bring criminal charges against News Corp in the floor advertising computer hacking case? It sure won’t be anybody from Fox, I bet.

  • Rocketship7

    David: FOX News, and SUN News viewers are exposed to news that the MSM often ignore.

    That would make them more informed.

    • sweatyb

      Only if you accept that the information provided is legitimate and untainted.

      If Fox News shows a story that no one else is covering and that story is false or misleading, then they are less informed.

      If they show a story about the “War on Christmas” instead of a story on the unrest in Syria or the recall of the Governor of Wisconsin, then their audience is less informed.

  • NRA Liberal

    The so-called doublethink Frum points to is found everywhere in the conservative movement.

    The movement-conservative mindset alternates between two modes: “victim” and “bully”.

    As Corey Robin points out in his excellent new collection of political essays, the conservative worldview is rooted in the experience of losing power or status and fighting to retain it.

    So it’s not so much a matter of “doublethink” as of different moods.

    In one mood, for instance, Obama is a ruthless tyrant. In another mood, he’s a helpless, teleprompter-assisted wimp.

    I’m reminded of a quote from Umberto Eco’s “Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt”:

    When I was a boy I was taught to think of Englishmen as the five-meal people. They ate more frequently than the poor but sober Italians. Jews are rich and help each other through a secret web of mutual assistance. However, the followers of Ur-Fascism must also be convinced that they can overwhelm the enemies. Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak. Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy.

    • Holmes

      “The movement-conservative mindset alternates between two modes: ‘victim’ and ‘bully’.”

      As was said of the Germans, they are either at your throat or at your feet.

  • Gus

    Ha! Mr. Frum, have you not seen how Obama gets attacked? He’s simultaneously a communist and a Nazi; an atheist and a Muslim; a bumbling clod and a mastermind who is making the country socialist; an affirmative action beneficiary and an Ivy League elitist. You got nothing on him. Fox News attacks don’t have to make sense. They’re appealing to the unthinking instinctual lizard brain, not the higher faculties.

  • willard landreth

    Why’d Frum waste his time? After showing that Fox news consumers are more stupid than those who prefer no news at all, did he feel he was going to be able to make a logical argument of any kind about anything?

    Frum’s more naive than I thought. The only reason to go Fox news is to fight dirty not logically.

    • nhthinker

      “After showing that Fox news consumers are more stupid than those who prefer no news at all”

      Only an especially naive person would think that Frum actually showed this assertion. No decent pollster would ever make such a claim on such flimsy data. Certainly Howard Kurtz was not buying what Frum was selling.

  • Federalist Paupers » Blog Archive » Let’s define Intellectual

    [...] define Intellectual David Frum wonders how he’s transitioned from “Great American” to “intellectual” [...]

  • Clayman


    “Frum says Limbaugh is one of the most unpopular people in the country. That may well be true since the left has such hatred in their hearts. But ask any Republican who holds more influence, Rush or David Frum, and 99 times out of 100 their reaction will be “Who’s David Frum?”"

    “Frum is also a co-founder of the No Labels group, which apparently meets in a Grand Central phonebooth once a year, yet he’s always rather quick to label conservatives as some out-of-touch relics of a bygone era.”

  • jorae

    I see on this site of FrumForum, a quote and picture of “Oh ‘Really” has been added…The quote…”David Frum is A Great American”…LOL….I knew I liked DF…a good sense of humor…

  • Houndentenor

    “Intellectual” is only an insult among idiots. You are known by the company you keep, David. Get out while the getting is good.

  • Cathy Young

    I finally watched the clip of David Frum on Reliable Sources, and I think the transcript posted by nhthinker is quite misleading. Kurtz was not hostile — he was simply asking challenging questions — and David was not rambling or floundering as this selectively edited transcript suggests. I think he made his points very well.

    • nhthinker

      I never suggested that Kurtz was hostile. I was pointing out that left-of-center Kurtz was not buying what David was selling and David did not do a good job at all at defending his conspiracy theory that he was representing as factual.

      I think it’s pretty obvious that Kurtz kept coming back to the same question because he did not think Frum was answering it very well.

      You’re a freelance journalist…Why not send an email to Howard Kurtz and ask him directly and report the result back here?

      • WaStateUrbanGOPer

        “…left-of-center Kurtz…”

        Apparently, you haven’t read any of Howie Kurtz’s columns since 1996.

        • nhthinker

          Anyone that thinks NPR is not left of center, IS left of center- that includes Kurtz.


        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          Oh dear, NOThinker. Nowhere in that article does Kurtz deny that NPR is liberal. He merely reports the views of those who think that NPR executives’ lack of spine, NOT its liberalism, is endangering it as a publicly funded organization.

        • nhthinker

          This is how Kurtz ended the article- Its clear his sentiments here are left-of-center…

          [i]Would only liberals mourn a collapse of NPR? In an NPR survey last year, 37 percent of listeners described themselves as liberal or very liberal, 25 percent as middle of the road, and 28 percent as conservative or very conservative—a split very much on Inskeep’s mind in Cairo.

          “If you’re saying we’re a liberal propaganda front,” he says, “you’re insulting the intelligence of millions and millions of conservatives who listen to us every day. You are saying they’re stupid.”[/i]

          A centrist/objective journalist would have been compelled to compare those percentages to percentages of Americans in general or talk-radio listeners. Which would have obviously deflated Inskeep’s argument…But Kurtz had no interest in that, did he?