Tag Archives: Bill O’Reilly

How Emotion has taken over Politics

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Let me start by putting all my Trump supporting “friends” at ease.  This is not a trash Trump post. It is also not a trash Hillary post. I won’t even be trashing Bernie, despite my serious issues with his policies towards Israel. Actually, hold that thought.  I take that back.  I might trash Bernie a little. You see, the point is that to many people it makes no difference what these politician’s policies actually are.  What ultimately matters is who we like.

I start with a bit of disclaimer.  A friend of mine who has been around for many election cycles and has met numerous politicians, candidates and even presidents over the years told me that every election he’s ever seen was decided by who people like more than by the candidate’s policies.  That being said, personally I’ve never seen anything like what we are witnessing this year.  It’s so bad that if Clinton and Trump would do exactly the same thing the reactions would be completely different based on who people like.  Trump knows it.  We all assume he was joking when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and his supporters would still support him, but we all now know this is true.  Of course I don’t believe for one second Trump would shoot someone on 5th Avenue, he’s more likely to take them out back and do it on Madison Avenue (just kidding), but those who support him wouldn’t care either way.

It’s not just Trump supporters by any means.  I’ve seen numerous discussions take place between staunch Conservatives and Hilary Clinton supporters, and when they ask them about the deaths of 4 Americans in Benghazi and hold her responsible, her supporters never come back with a factual response.  They either say it doesn’t matter, there was nothing she could do, or that they don’t care if she made a mistake, they still support her. I’m not discussing her culpability in the matter, and I am not saying whether there is or is not a factual response, but if you support her and that is your answer, it’s not about policy, it’s either about personality or habit.  By habit I mean voting for someone because they represent the party you stand behind and you could never vote differently no matter what your candidate says or does. But let’s be honest. If you didn’t sufficiently like the candidate, that would most likely trump (pun intended) your usual habit.

A friend of mine in the sales world once said, “people buy with emotion, then justify it with logic”.  It would appear most Americans vote the same way.  Case in point, here are some of the most common terms of the day

“I love Trump”

“I hate Hilary”

“I hate Trump”

“Feel the Bern”

“I love Hilary”

“Trump scares me”

“I like Trump”

“I like Hilary”

“I like Bernie”

These 9 terms are indicative of what drives a large portion of the American electorate as  we sit here today May 18, 2016.  Don’t believe me?  Watch “Waters World” on the “O’Reilly Factor” just one time and you’ll see how a large percentage of people who choose the president think (using the word think very loosely).  And those are just the dumb ones. Want to hear a smart person sound really stupid? Turn on CNN and listen to Kayleigh Mcenany, Georgetown graduate who studied politics at Oxford University and Donald Trump surrogate. Surrogate is different than supporter. Supporters don’t need to sound smart, surrogates do.  The best way to describe Kayleigh Mcenany’s support for Donald Trump is to imagine him tweeting something to the effect of, Kayleigh Mcenany is an ugly cow (I use that as an hypothetical because she’s actually quite attractive).  I am fairly convinced that her response would be something like this.  I believe what Mr. Trump was trying to say was that he loves his wife Melania very much and that she is the most beautiful woman in the world.

You see, in this election cycle it doesn’t matter to the people what you say or what you’ve been accused of doing, all that matters is if you like them.  I’ve heard people who love Israel say they like Bernie Sanders in the same sentence.  Why? Because he’s a charismatic old dude from Brooklyn and they like him. It certainly can’t be because of his approach towards Israel, an approach that could facilitate its destruction. Then again, why listen to me.  I’m just saying that because “I hate Bernie”.  I’d add that to the list but it’s not a prevailing emotion. Most either like him or don’t take him seriously. I as a Jew and a Zionist feel strongly about him because of a stated policy approach.

Since I have my moments when I both like and don’t like Trump and Hilary, I’ll leave my personal feelings (other than my disapproval for Bernie) out of this.   I will say this in defense of everyone, myself included that base their support or lack of support on emotion.  There’s nothing wrong with voting for someone who makes you feel good about life, the future, and the country you love, or at least like.  Just admit it.  Don’t try so hard to pretend it’s because of policy when we all know that most candidates main policy issue anyway is just getting themselves elected.  Pick who you like, hold your breath, and hope you’re right.  And while you’re at it don’t insult someone who likes something or someone different than you do, because there is no right and wrong when it comes to what someone likes.  That would be like someone telling you they like Pizza and responding “your wrong”. Those of you who will say that is very different may be in that minority that does pick a candidate based on policy or claims to because they are justifying their emotional choice with logic, but let’s face the facts.  Elections are popularity contests, not referendums on judgment and experience.  And my friend is probably right.  It’s probably always been that way.

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Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly Regarding Media Involvement in Trump’s success

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Dear Bill,

I happen to be a fan of yours.  I watch your show often, find you engaging, informative and have a great admiration for your intelligence.  Normally I find you to be true to your word about being fair and balanced.  However in a recent discussion on your show in which you discussed the impact the media has had on the rise of Donald Trump I felt you did the one thing you normally do not do, you spun the story to benefit your position. Normally the manner in which you stay clear of that trap distinguishes you significantly from anyone else that comes close to your level of success.  In this matter however I fee that you failed tremendously, and here is why.

I find it unlikely you will read this, even less likely you will respond and next to impossible that my concerns will reach anyone beyond your organization or your show for that matter, but seeing as this is indeed a story I agree to be as significant as you maintain it to be, I felt it important to reach out to you.  You may indeed be entirely correct regarding some of your assertions of your lack of involvement in the promotion of Donald Trump.  I believe you when you say you have made unsuccessful attempts at getting other candidates on your show and I accept your argument that your job is to report the news and that Donald Trump makes news.  But what about the rest of the media, be it FOX ,CNN or others?  After last week’s primaries in Pennsylvania, my brother Marcel Groen, State Party Chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party was scheduled to appear on FOX Business with Neil Cavuto.  He waited for about an hour before he had to go back to attend to his responsibilities and commitments.  Why? Because almost every single guest that came on, some that appeared to not be originally scheduled, came on to speak about Donald Trump, pushing Neil Cavuto way over his schedule.   I understand that FOX is a network far more in sync with the Republican Party, but there was more news that night than Donald Trump.   I realize in fairness that what happened the day of the Pennsylvania primaries can not be directly seen as helping the rise of Donald Trump to that point, but it certainly did represent what has been going on for quite some time.  Also let me make something clear.  This is not about me being disappointed that my brother did not appear on air that night.  I am quite certain he got over it immediately as did I and anyone else who wanted to see him. However, it does clearly show how the coverage is driven by the Trump phenomena over everything else.

And it is hardly just FOX who is to blame. CNN has their very own Trump surrogate, Kayleigh Mcenany at almost every political discussion.  What other candidate can we say that about?  It often seemed that when there were Trump surrogates at most of these discussions, they were countered more with anti-Trump voices than with surrogates for Cruz or Kasich.

The media may not want to accept responsibility, but it has a responsibility nonetheless. For months all we heard about John Kasich was how he was the most qualified of any candidate. Yet since he was not exciting enough, and therefore might not have generated the same ratings, the percentage of time he was covered compared to Donald Trump and even Ted Cruz was catastrophic to his candidacy.  And Bill, regardless of whether or not the other candidates accept your invitation to be on your show, did you not have some responsibility to cover their activities in a more proportionate manner?  Your answer may very well be that you did not have that responsibility and that would certainly be within your rights. After all, as you often say, it is your show, you have been number 1 for a long time and you know what you are doing.  I just think it would be have been more fair and balanced to an audience possibly making the most important choice of its lifetime if you had accepted that responsibility.  Most of all it would have been far more honest if you would have come clean and admit it’s all about ratings rather than say the media did not play a significant role.

I have heard the argument that has been made about how so much of the negative press about Donald Trump also comes from the media.  That immediately made me remember one of my best friends from my High School days in London who once told me, “I don’t really care if people love me or hate me, as long as they talk about me”. Donald Trump has benefited from this excessive coverage from the start, be it good or bad.  But Bill, I ask you to consider the following analogy.  When a fan rushes on to a baseball field, television no longer shows the fan in realization that in doing so the allure of rushing the field has been significantly diminished.  Who knows what might have happened for example if the media had reacted comparably to Donald Trump saying that John McCain was not a war hero because he got caught.  The Trump campaign may never have gotten to where it is today.

All this being said I will continue to watch because I do respect you and enjoy your show, even if I do feel that regarding this topic you have been much less truthful than you normally are, not just to your audience but possibly to yourself as well.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Another Open Letter to Russell Brand

rus2Dear Russell,

Frankly I am not sure what upsets me more, the fact that you are still talking or the fact that last week the Huffington Post chose to provide you with a forum to regurgitate more of your self-serving ramblings(CLICK HERE TO READ THE OP-ED).   I am glad you think you’re not an anti-Semite because indeed that may be a step in the right direction, but unless you wrote that piece after once again dropping acid, something that in the past gave you your “pro-Jewish” epiphany, you are missing some very important points in your argument.

First of all, there is no fair way to discuss Israel’s military action in Gaza without mentioning the terrorist activities of Hamas.  Not only do you not do that, you never once even mention Hamas.  I maintain, as I did in my last letter to you(CLICK HERE TO READ), that you, like so many others don’t go after terrorist groups as hard as you go after Israel because you know the Israeli government won’t hunt you down and kill you in the street.  Hamas just might.  So conveniently leaving Hamas out of the discussion, and with all the dribble you wrote I am sure it was not a mere oversight, you are once again showing your cowardice.

Here is why mentioning Hamas is so key to the discussion.  You claim the actions by Israel are based in the economic gains of a right-wing government aligned with right-wing institutions in other parts of the world.  You do not back it up with facts, facts I would love to see because it would be enlightening to see how the Gaza campaign did anything to better anyone economically.  In truth the Gaza campaign was necessary, and sadly more campaigns will be in the future, because the ruling party of Gaza is sworn to the destruction of Israel and to the death of all Jews.  You somehow missed that in your long Op Ed professing your love for the Jewish people.

Allow me to teach you something you are required to learn if you do not want to be deemed an anti-Semite or someone who promotes anti-Semitism.  What you need to understand is more than just what you choose to see about an Israeli government.  What you need to grasp better is the concept of the modern State of Israel.

The State of Israel declared independence in 1948, 3 years removed from the murder of 6 millions Jews.  Or as your buddy Khaleed Meshaal says, a genocide only half as bad as what Israel committed in Gaza.  Israel was not set up as a way for Jews to colonize the entire Middle East or commit atrocities.  It was set up as a safe-haven, a guardian nation so to speak, for a race of people, my people incidentally, that was devastated in an unspeakable fashion.  The State of Israel was in somewhat set up as a nation designed to guarantee that what happened to the Jewish people under Hitler would indeed never happen again. So when you promote political and philosophical viewpoints that put the State of Israel in danger for its life, you don’t merely attack Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud, you attack Jews worldwide.  You may claim that you are not an anti-Semite, but your statements increase the likelihood of many dead Jews. Regardless of what you claim to be your intentions, it doesn’t get much more anti-Semitic than that.

I loved this line of yours in your Op Ed: “It is the exclusion of the sane majority that allows extremists to prosper. The insanity across the Middle East is so deeply terrifying and giddyingly futile that most people, despondent and bilious want to look away.”  And yet, no mention of Hamas.  No mention of terrorism.  No mention of how similar Hamas is to ISIS or how Israel gives more civil rights to their Muslim citizens than almost every Arab country. It seems like you almost get it sometimes, but then your personal bias or delusion takes over and you revert back to the Neo anti-Semite you so don’t want to be.  Cough cough.

Although most people seemed to like my first letter to you, there were some disturbed my personal attacks on you. I almost felt bad about it till I read how in referring to Bill O’Reilly you said he was “A hollering parasite of his own punctured anus,” and Sean Hannity you called a  “Fox News’ shop-dummy-polemicist.”  I feel much better about calling you an idiot and a coward now.  Something I still believe to be true.

Since you claim to believe in positive action, here’s a suggestion for some very positive action. Shut up.  You are actually doing more harm than good.  I know you think you are this generations Jesus, but in truth you are merely a court jester giving more Brits the ultimate justification to jump on a plane to Syria, (via Turkey) to sign up for ISIS and battle the west you clearly seem to hate so much.  Funny enough, it’s the same west that made you rich.  I think you need to realize there is something far worse than being so despondent and bilious that you want to look away.  It’s looking right at it and ignoring the truth.  Something anti-Semites are very good at.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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The Solution Starts with the Media

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If there is one thing the majority of people opining since last week’s tragedy in Newtown, Ct., myself included  have in common, is that we have said a lot, spoken of what we like and don’t like about the current situation, and have offered no solution to the problem.  Part of this is due to the fact that many of the responses are emotional, so in essence the comments are reactions and expressions of how we feel, and since the tragedy caused so many to feel strong emotions, it is easy to understand why this is happening.  In this post however, I offer my solution, conceptually if nothing else.  Where does the solution lie?  It lies in the middle.

Let me start by saying something that may shock those who know me well.  My views have somewhat changed in the past week.  As a result of speaking with people, reading articles and posts, and watching news programs, I have moved somewhat away from my extreme view of wanting to ban guns from the common citizen.  I have spoken with some very good people who own guns.  The country does not become a better place by taking away their guns.  I have read posts on social media outlets and articles in news agencies from people who are not angry or hateful people, who feel owning a gun is important to them and give every indication of being thoughtful people who know that guns are dangerous if misused or unaccounted for.  The country does not get better by taking away their guns.  I watched Bill O’Reilly a few days ago, and was impressed by the insistence of a well-known Republican celebrity and gun owner admitting that there is a problem and that something needs to be done.  So now there is me, someone who has in the past made the statement that I question if the American people have lost their right to bear arms, thinking that the best answer may very well be one that allows people to continue to have that right.  However, they may need to make some sacrifices to help improve the chances that others don’t end up making the ultimate sacrifice.  I make no claim to know the technicalities of the current gun laws, but this post will not be dealing with technicalities, instead it will be dealing with a concept that I feel is critical to our civilizations survival.

I came up with my “solution” after going through a thought process brought on by a combination of factors.  One factor was the attempt by lunatic organizations and the Iranian government to somehow connect Jews and even Israeli military to the shootings in Newton, Ct.  It’s so insane that it’s gotten very little play outside the inner circles of those who fabricated the stories, but enough that many of us have heard it.

The next thing I considered was the situation between Israel, the Palestinians, and the rest of the Arab and Muslim world.  All reports indicate that tensions are now rising in the West Bank and that radical organizations are trying to get another Intifada started.  The key and extremely important word there is “radical”.

I also read about those so-called religious leaders and organizations that blame the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary on the lack of God in the school and in our society, implying, sometimes saying outright that it is our behavior as people going away from God that caused this and other tragedies to happen, even those not caused by man directly, such as Hurricane Sandy.

The final thing that helped me come to my conclusion was the frustration of a good friend who, after looking at many of these issues, concluded that there appears to be no way to solve any of them.  This was coming from an otherwise positive individual who was feeling tremendous frustration at the apparent futility of any of the answers provided by anyone out there with any influence.

So what is the answer?  The answer lies in marginalizing extremists.  Over the past week I have seen a very clear distinction, on both sides of the political spectrum, between those who attack policy and those who attack people.  Those who without provocation attack the people who do not agree with them are always extremists in one way or another, while those who attack the issues are sometimes extremists, often not extremists, and generally not the problem.  Although I believe that the influence by their leadership has caused a large percentage of Muslims to at best dislike Jews and Israel and be people who would not mourn the loss of Jewish life, I absolutely believe that the majority do not want to murder anyone, including Jews.  I am confident that the majority of gun enthusiasts find making America a safer place to live just as important an issue as those who push for stricter gun laws.  In fact, it needs to be said, in fairness, that many gun owners feel this way because they in fact do not feel safe without one.  This means that although stricter gun laws may be important, they need to go hand in hand with finding ways to make citizens feel safer.

So how do we go about marginalizing extremists?  We call on, actually we demand help from the media.  The Mayans may or not be correct about the date, but unless we do something dramatic, they have a really good chance at being correct about the outcome.  Except at this rate the world is headed more towards catastrophic implosions than cosmic explosions.   Here is my call to the media and why I feel the answer lies in the major media outlets working together.  Most people hold views that fall in a safe zone somewhere between the far right and the far left.  By safe zone I mean a place where even if they are clearly Liberal or clearly Conservative, they are not dangerous people.  I also believe that even if a network like FOX News has a Conservative agenda, and MSNBC has a Liberal agenda, they both agree on the issues that have the greatest impact on our survival.  Neither advocates terrorist activity, mass murder, or outright bigotry.  These networks have enormous influence worldwide, and if they took it on themselves to work together in discussing the issues they do agree on, they might be able to impact society towards a middle of the road mentality.  In fact I feel that on a daily basis the major networks should coordinate a simulcast for at least one hour where they discuss the issues they agree upon regarding our safety, health, and basic ethics, and leave the harsher philosophical battles for the rest of the day.   Imagine Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, and Bill O’Reilly on the same broadcast, shown on all 3 of these networks discussing the heroics of the schoolteachers of Sandy Hook, Ct., or condemning terrorist who blow up buses or kill dozens in roadside bombings.  They can discuss their feelings on the specifics of gun control laws on any other broadcast, but if they got together for one hour a day and spoke of ways to improve mental health or identify potential murderers, imagine the good they could do.

There has been much talk this past week on the need of our society to change its mindset.  I believe everyone agrees with this in one way or another.  However, with all the time being wasted on blaming the extremists on both sides, we may be missing out on a great opportunity to begin the shift towards a more civilized world.   I don’t lay the blame on the media, but I do think that it has an unprecedented opportunity and responsibility to marginalize the radicals and extremists who either are only concerned about their own personal or agenda or are so far gone they no longer care about anything important.