For mischaracterizing a Portland school principal's actions and deluging her with hate mail from his whack-job Fox TV viewers, ex-KATU gasbag Bill O'Reilly sweeps this week's highest ratings from the Rogue Desk.
Last Thursday, O'Reilly devoted a segment of his The O'Reilly Factor to discussing a minor brouhaha over the Pledge of Allegiance at Capitol Hill Elementary in Southwest Portland earlier this month.
Principal Pam Wilson had decided her fifth-grade students should recite the preamble to the Constitution at their graduation ceremony June 10 instead of the Pledge. When one mom asked why, Wilson gave a clumsy answer about wanting the ceremony to be inclusive. She thought the pledge's words "under God" were not. But the mom was enraged. So she shared Wilson's response with the media.
First, Lars Larson took up the cause. Then O'Reilly went on national TV to say Wilson had "banned" the Pledge. Not really. But at least 60 angry emails landed on Wilson and Portland Public Schools anyway. "YOU SCUMBAG AMERICAN HATING BASTARDS," one viewer wrote in all caps. "THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE IS NOT OFFENSIVE TO US AND IF IT OFFENDS ANYONE THEN FUCK THEM.... I WISH AN EARTHQUAKE WOULD REMOVE THE WHOLE LEFT COAST."
A Fox spokesman said the broadcast was accurate. So we'll end with O'Reilly's own quote on the topic and replace "educators" with "cable news bloviators" and "kids" with "television viewers":
"If you let the crazy educators [or cable news bloviators] run wild, which they are in many, many parts of the country, then we're just going to lose the country, because the kids [and television viewers] are confused. They don't know what the heck is going on."
So true, O'Reilly. So true.