Transterrestrial Musings  

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay

Alan Boyle (MSNBC)
Space Politics (Jeff Foust)
Space Transport News (Clark Lindsey)
NASA Watch
NASA Space Flight
Hobby Space
A Voyage To Arcturus (Jay Manifold)
Dispatches From The Final Frontier (Michael Belfiore)
Personal Spaceflight (Jeff Foust)
Mars Blog
The Flame Trench (Florida Today)
Space Cynic
Rocket Forge (Michael Mealing)
COTS Watch (Michael Mealing)
Curmudgeon's Corner (Mark Whittington)
Selenian Boondocks
Tales of the Heliosphere
Out Of The Cradle
Space For Commerce (Brian Dunbar)
True Anomaly
Kevin Parkin
The Speculist (Phil Bowermaster)
Spacecraft (Chris Hall)
Space Pragmatism (Dan Schrimpsher)
Eternal Golden Braid (Fred Kiesche)
Carried Away (Dan Schmelzer)
Laughing Wolf (C. Blake Powers)
Chair Force Engineer (Air Force Procurement)
Saturn Follies
JesusPhreaks (Scott Bell)
The Ombudsgod
Cut On The Bias (Susanna Cornett)
Joanne Jacobs

Site designed by

Powered by
Movable Type
Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

« Effective Cooperation | Main | A Natural For The Sequel »

O'Reilly's Right

[Note: This post has been superceded by this one. If this is your first visit here, I'd suggest reading the final version. Then if you're interested, come back to this one, and read all the comments.]

I often disagree with Bill O'Reilly, and a lot of smart people are bashing him on line, particularly in the blogosphere, but I think that this just proves his point, and I want to defend him. I think that he's spot on with this erudite and well-reasoned editorial. This "Internet" thingie is just too powerful.

When the Founders wrote the First Amendment, they could never have conceived a technology that would allow anyone to publish anything at any time, at almost no cost, and have it readable by millions instantaneously.

It's one thing to have free speech when the most effective means of communicating ideas is with a printing press that few can afford, and has to have the type set by hand, and they have to be printed on expensive paper, and transported no faster than a horse can run, and distributed by walking door to door. Such a laborious and expensive process ensures that potentially dangerous ideas are more thought out, and well edited, and can usually be easily traced to their author. Such a high required investment makes it much more likely that only responsible people will be publishing things, and that you won't have wackos running around spewing crazy or confused, even false or misinformed notions at innocent and naive passers by.

In that environment, it made perfect sense to grant an individual right to print things (to bear presses, as it were), because there was little danger of it getting out of hand.

But surely the Founders never intended for every single citizen to be able to exercise such a right--they would have known it would lead to chaos and unfettered thought. They couldn't possibly have imagined the rapid-fire distribution of dangerous ideas made possible by twenty-first-century technology. Why, some people might have even put forth the absurd notion that free speech is the right of everyone.

Had they actually anticipated the possibility that the cost of publishing could drop so dramatically, they would surely have made the First Amendment a much more explicitly collective right (like the Second), in which people would only have a right to free speech in a well-regulated state newspaper.

Let's be reasonable--of course it's fine to let people have typewriters, and copiers, as long as they don't have a paper magazine of more than a quarter-ream capacity, and can't print more than two pages per minute in high-density color. There are legitimate uses for such things--printing up book reports for school, making PTA meeting notices and party invitations, and the like. We respect the rights of those who wish to indulge in such innocuous, if pointless activities, long a part of the American cultural tradition (though it would certainly make sense to register such devices, in case they're stolen, or lest they're used to express some untoward or scandalous thought).

Of course, we do need to outlaw the cheap Sunday-night specials, old manual machines still available in pawn shops, with sticky keys, that cause ink stains, and from which a large number of late term papers are produced by the criminal procrastinating class during the witching hours. But really, folks, chill--no one wants to take away your typewriters.

But the Founders would realize also, just as Bill O'Reilly and I do today, that no one, other than the police and politicians, needs the kind of "idea assault" publishing capability offered by word processors, blogging software, and even fifteen-page-per-minute ink-jet printers, which really have no legitimate use--they only propagate calumny and wrong-headed notions, tragically damaging innocent celebrities' egos, sometimes permanently.

Surely the far-fringe First Amendment absolutists are misreading it--there is a hint of a shadow of an umbra of a penumbra in there, easily accessed by referencing the Second Amendment. Bearing this in mind, it is more properly read with the following implicit preface: "A well-regulated press being necessary for the security of the State and self-important talk-show hosts, Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

Clearly, viewed in the light of that implicit purpose clause, these were not intended to be individual rights, any more than they were in the Second Amendment, because obviously, the Founders wouldn't have meant one thing by the words "the right of the people" in the one case, and a different thing in the other, particularly in two adjacent amendments.

Accordingly it is equally clear that we need to implement what would obviously have been the Founders' intent had they foreseen the Internet, and immediately pass some laws to get this thing under control. Let's do it for the children.

Particularly Bill O'Reilly.

[Update at 4 PM PDT]

Richard Heddleson points out in the comment section another little-known fact of the technology of colonial times:

The fallacy of our understanding of the meaning of the first amendment in early times is exposed in the book, Printing America, whose author will be on O'Reilly next week. Incredibly detailed research into probate inventories shows that not only did most Americans not have a printing press but that those who did had let them fall into such disrepair that they could not be used. That is why the Continental Congress had to create Committees of Correspondence. Congress understood that this dangerous activity had to be conducted under the guidance and control of the state.

Exactly, though I suspect that the print nuts will attack this brave author's work as a fabrication.

[Another update, at 4:54 PM PDT]

Kim du Toit asks if I have a license for my "assault keyboard." No, I didn't need one, because I employed the "computer show loophole."

I bought it from a no-name vendor in Pomona last weekend, with no background check. It only cost me $7.50 and it's fully automatic--you can hold down any key, and it will spit out hundreds of characters per minute, and it doesn't even need a belt. We simply have to shut down this madness.

[Update on Wednesday at 5 PM PDT]

I've written a new version, based on further thought and some of the comments here--thanks for all the input. It can be found here.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 17, 2003 10:35 AM
TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference this post from Transterrestrial Musings.
Makes Your Head Spin
Excerpt: Sex, Lies and Videotape on the Internet Bill "No Spin Zone" O'Reilly Sex, lies and videotape on the Internet, that's...
Weblog: blogoSFERICS
Tracked: June 17, 2003 10:57 AM
Excerpt: So Bill is all pissed about "the Internet." Whoop de do. I guess that the "David v. Goliath" comparison that he's always drawing to his work he's going to keep to himself, now that he's a multi-millionaire in a suit...
Weblog: Ryne McClaren: A Weblog
Tracked: June 17, 2003 11:13 AM
Bill O'Reilly Needs a Hug
Excerpt: Bill O?Reilly sure knows how to piss off his (former?) supporters. I predict that this dumb piece of O?Reilly?s, inconsequential
Weblog: Blogs of War
Tracked: June 17, 2003 03:36 PM
Bill O'Reilly, no spin for you
Excerpt: As Bill O'Reilly's professed hatred of free speech rockets around the blogosphere, all I have to say is: Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. I love to hate Bill O'Reilly for so many reasons. His unfettered sense of self-importance. His superhuman ab...
Weblog: The Dead Parrot Society
Tracked: June 17, 2003 04:23 PM
Bill O'Reilly
Excerpt: The blogosphere is quite upset with Bill O'Reilly today, for saying this:The reason these net people get away with all...
Weblog: Occam's Toothbrush
Tracked: June 17, 2003 04:30 PM
blogger bill
Excerpt: Michele has my favorite take so far on the Bill O'Reilly vs. The Internet brouhaha. It's de-linking writ large. Heh. This is pretty great as well....
Weblog: Dr. Frank's Blogs of War
Tracked: June 17, 2003 05:41 PM
blogger bill
Excerpt: Michele has my favorite take so far on the Bill O'Reilly vs. The Internet brouhaha. It's de-linking writ large. Heh. UPDATE: This is pretty great as well....
Weblog: Dr. Frank's Blogs of War
Tracked: June 17, 2003 05:44 PM
Factor This!
Excerpt: Well, Bill O'Reilly has inserted his foot into his mouth for the umpteenth time, and this time, he has swallowed...
Tracked: June 17, 2003 07:49 PM
Assault Ideas
Excerpt: Rand Simberg see things clearlynow. When the Founders wrote the First Amendment, they never could have imagined a technology that would allow anyone to publish anything at any time, at almost no cost, and have it readable by millions instantaneously....
Weblog: Just Some Poor Schmuck
Tracked: June 17, 2003 08:01 PM
Shades of Swift
Excerpt: The Professor points to one of the funnier takes on O'Reilly's rant against the Evil Internet EmpireTM that I've seen
Weblog: Res Ipsa Loquitur
Tracked: June 18, 2003 04:41 AM
Print Nuts
Excerpt: Rand Simberg looks at the danger posed to a free society by assault-grade word processors, as highlighted by Bill O'Reilly,...
Weblog: Redwood Dragon
Tracked: June 18, 2003 09:11 AM
Fools and Cranks
Excerpt: Matt's worry about civil liberties seems to be ever more well-founded. This column has been widely derided, correctly so, on...
Weblog: Now That Everyone Else Has One
Tracked: June 18, 2003 11:10 AM

Sometimes I like O'Reilly. But his talking points on the "out of control" Internet were really idiotic.

Ooh, I just insulted Bill anonymously on the Internet. Exactly what he was talking about! And I won't be punished either! Awful!

Posted by Joshua Chamberlain at June 17, 2003 12:02 PM

Rand, you're a genius!

Posted by Michael M at June 17, 2003 12:23 PM

Out-friggin'-standing. O'Reilly lost me as a viewer when he said in a radio interview that no one would get elected president without first appearing on his show.

Yeah, now he's pissed that someone dared criticize him! Please Bill, get over yourself.

Rand, brilliant piece.


Posted by Bob at June 17, 2003 01:00 PM


Posted by Jay Solo at June 17, 2003 02:03 PM

Now if someone would do some serious reporting of the Bush Administration's complete disregard for the 3rd Amendment...

Posted by Raoul Ortega at June 17, 2003 02:06 PM

You know, with an ego that big, O'Reilly could be a blogger.

Posted by Jeremy at June 17, 2003 03:34 PM

The fallacy of our understanding of the meaning of the first amendment in early times is exposed in hte book, Printing America, whose author will be on O'Reilly next week. Incredibly detailed research into probate inventories shows that not only did most Americans not have a printing press but that those who did had let them fall into such disrepair that they could not be used. That is why the Continental Congress had to create Committees of Correspondence. Congress understood that this dangerous activity had to be conducted under the guidance and control of the state.

Posted by Richard Heddleson at June 17, 2003 03:46 PM

At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law:

"We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become."-- Benito Mussolini.

Congratulations Mr. Simberg, you are in excellent company.

Posted by Steve at June 17, 2003 03:47 PM

Accordingly it is equally clear that we need to implement what would obviously have been the Founders' intent had they foreseen the Internet, and immediately pass some laws to get this thing under control. Let's do it for the children.

Particularly Bill O'Reilly.

Ooops, note to self: read to the end of the article before getting on my high horse and getting indignant.

Sorry Mr. Simberg.

Posted by Steve at June 17, 2003 03:51 PM

O'Reilly should try his hand at blogging.

He'd be amazed what all the fact checking would do for his credibility, not to mention his humility.

Posted by Ryne McClaren at June 17, 2003 03:53 PM

By your same logic, should the Federal Government become so indebted (to a degree that the Founding Fathers couldn't dream of) that it couldn't afford base housing for all of its troops, it should rescind the Third Amendment and put a few dozen soldiers in my home?

No. Freaking. Way.

Posted by Laurence Simon at June 17, 2003 04:23 PM

Nice try, Mr. Swift--but obviously the author hasn't spent much time reading the 18th C. Phamphleteers!

Posted by Elmo Roundhead at June 17, 2003 04:25 PM

Mr. Simberg, someone, enlighten me... "there was little danger of it getting out of control." "For the children". Not serious?

Out of CONTROL? As satire, thumbs up and hearty chuckles, though I'm not familiar with your style.

Iffff you were serious, you haven't read the pamphleteers! - those malcontents were "blogging" (of sorts) way ahead of you, on expensive processed forest and random fibres. They were out of control.

Now, if only the web could bounce revolution back to the motherland... oh, never mind.

Posted by Ranald Hay at June 17, 2003 04:35 PM

Pamphleteers? Just a myth promulgated by "print nut" whack jobs.

As Richard and I pointed out, the probate records indicate that few people could afford working printing presses. That Tom Paine guy was actually subsidized by the Masons, or else he'd never have gotten anything published.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 17, 2003 04:43 PM

Thanks! A positively Swiftian piece of satire.

Posted by Dewi Williams at June 17, 2003 04:47 PM

Rand... do you have a license for that "assault keyboard" you just used?

Posted by Kim du Toit at June 17, 2003 04:47 PM

A license? They didn't mention anything about that when I bought it at that computer show last weekend...

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 17, 2003 04:51 PM


Posted by JOHN B at June 17, 2003 04:54 PM

I'm suprised that we even let people learn to read and write. Surely the Founding Fathers would have balked at the idea of public education for every human. How can there be control in the government and media if everyone is producing the news?
There is so much out there I don't know what to think anymore.
Someone stop this maddness!

Posted by Matt at June 17, 2003 04:58 PM

Looks like a new addition to my "Favorites" list. Damn, one more blog to read on a daily basis! =)

Posted by docob at June 17, 2003 04:58 PM

Mr. Simberg, surely closer investigation will prove that the so-called Masonic connection of the purported Tom Paine (an obvious rip-off the the blog) is actually a ploy to conceal the evil machinations of the Knights of Malta.

Posted by JorgXMcKie at June 17, 2003 05:01 PM



Posted by Sage at June 17, 2003 05:06 PM

Hah. Ryne. I think you VASTLY underestimate the pregability of O'Reilly's ego.


Posted by Addison at June 17, 2003 05:09 PM

Outstanding! Allow me to join Dr. Reynolds and dare you to make this your next Fox column. As for me, they can have my assault keyboard when they pry it from my cold, dead, fingers -- and with luck rigor will keep the keys firing even then...

Posted by Laughing Wolf at June 17, 2003 05:15 PM


Posted by Samkit at June 17, 2003 05:25 PM

A very nice bit of satire indeed! I really can't think of anything to add that wouldn't be redundant after that wonderful work.

Suffice to say, O'Reilly's apparent disregard for the freedom of speech of others when it doesn't suit him (or worse yet, disagrees with him) borders on the pathetic, and hovers over 'scary' (as some folks might listen to him and take this ='suggestions' to heart)

Posted by D.M. at June 17, 2003 05:32 PM

Rand, "emerging international law" suggests strongly that printing rights are culturally relativisitc. As one group in society prints more, so necessarily must other groups being printing less. Such oppressed printing inexorably leads to diminished rights for these groups. What's needed, of course, is a UN agency that will allocate printing rights and equipment in a "north to south" redistribution scheme. Such an agency (e.g., the "UN Information Program on Overall Printing", or "UNIPOOP") could help monitor group printing rights, and allow non-governmental organizations opportunities to tell the less-fortunate how and what to print.

Posted by Steve White at June 17, 2003 05:33 PM

What a read!

Thanks for such a cleverly written bit of satire - it would be hysterically funny if people like O'Reilly weren't so serious. Perhaps because I'm Canadian, I've had the good fortune to not see him on TV yet, but from what I've read, I'm slightly astounded that Fox allows such demagoguery to pass for informed commentary.

So if keyboards are assault weapons, what does that make a laptop with a wireless net connection? A tactical nuke? :)

Posted by at June 17, 2003 05:39 PM


But I cannot possibly top that one.

Bravo, sir, bravo! Absolutely outstanding piece.

Posted by Kevin Baker at June 17, 2003 06:05 PM


I stood up and cheered when I got to the end.

Then I realized I was the only person in my room.

Posted by at June 17, 2003 06:16 PM

Very, very funny.

It is sad though. O'Reilly is one of the few commentators who has any penchant for independent thought and one of the few who is willing to book guests who disagree with him that are reasonably intelligent (as opposed to the foaming lunatic strawmen Hannity digs up when he wants to "debate").

Posted by Sean at June 17, 2003 06:28 PM

If this is satire, brilliant.

If this is serious, idiotic.

Posted by David Block at June 17, 2003 06:41 PM

Your Constitutional arguments against an unfettered Internet miss a much more important issue: Information overload.

Back when our nation was founded, all we had were a few books and pamphlets and newspapers scattered around the country. Most of the time people stared blankly at the rear ends of their horses as they plowed their fields. They didn't have to devote large portions of their attention and mental capacity to acquiring knowledge or thinking about unfamiliar ideas.

This blissful condition lasted well into the Twentieth Century, when high-speed printing presses and then radio and finally television began to engulf the population in more and more information. The human mind is clearly not designed to process such large quantities of information in an efficient fashion. Our mental evolutionary roots remain oriented towards horses' asses.

Now VCRs and DVDs and the Internet have turned the information flood into a tsunami. We cry out for leaders who will rescue us from drowning. Bill O'Reilly has bravely dared to answer that desperate plea. He is willing to be our life-raft. And instead of thanks, he gets bloggers poking holes in his platform.

After such a display of ingratitude, I wouldn't blame O'Reilly if he washed his hands of every non-famous person in the country. He tried to shield us from all that excess information and opinion that we can't possibly handle, and we spurned his wisdom and generosity. We deserve the consequences.

Posted by Daniel Wiener at June 17, 2003 06:58 PM

Funny! You're actually pretty dang close to a real live framer's intent argument. Justice Taney would approve, no doubt.

Posted by spacetoast at June 17, 2003 07:10 PM

"you won't have wackos running around spewing crazy or confused, even false or misinformed notions at innocent and naive passers by."

That's just nonsense. The press has rarely been much more responsible than the internet is today. At a time where media conglomerates control so much of our access to information, I think it would be nuts to start clamping down on free expression online.

Posted by AST at June 17, 2003 07:45 PM

I must admit it has been awhile since I red "Brave new world", so I forget. Exactly how many more times does Fox need to repeat the phrase "FAIR AND BALANCED" before it becomes the truth?

Posted by Shawn at June 17, 2003 08:03 PM

You all are pointing fingers at O'Reilly but the European Union is passing a law that makes it manditory for BLOGGERS to provide at their expence space for the oppositions opinions.IS it possible to post a hyperlink in a comment? I guess not . Oh well here it is the old fashioned way. I always thought of Blogs as the only place a person could post desenting opinions. What do you think?

Posted by James Mayeau at June 17, 2003 10:12 PM

"When blogs are outlawed, only outlaws will have blogs."

Posted by Tom Bross at June 17, 2003 10:44 PM

Well said, Rand. If you know of a keyboard and monitor buy-back program, will you let us know?

Posted by Andrew at June 17, 2003 11:14 PM

They'll take my computer when they pry the mouse from my cold, dead fingers.

Posted by Alan K. Henderson at June 17, 2003 11:28 PM

Funny, anyone else think that this comment at the bottom of the page on Foxnews (where Bill O'Reilly's article was) should have been at the top?

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

Posted by BlackStrain at June 17, 2003 11:48 PM

Non-satirically, for a moment... I find it wonderful that an obscure Persian nobleman, over a hundred years ago, wrote from exiled imprisonment in Akka, stating that "From two ranks amongst mankind hath power been seized... kings and ecclesiastics."

For 7,000 years, since agriculture first spawned cities and Hammurabi realized we needed a code of conduct to live together, we had kings who could read and govern us, and priests who could read and govern us. It worked, more or less, up until 1844.

Then, He wrote, "I have given power to the people." And now, despite the Christian clergy's widespread denial, we the people HAVE the power to govern ourselves. In Europe, we tend to give our God-given rights and responsibilities to self-appointed 'betters', eunux, who govern we-the-masses for the benefit of them, our betters; and in Russo-China we give our self-government to The Party, since we're all equal-comrades anyway, and the Party is only a little more equal than the rank-and-file; but in America the Founding Fathers trusted WE, the People...

And despite the nay-sayers, we the people are learning to publish, on-line, and study, on-line, in ways unimaginable 200 years ago, let alone 7,000 years ago... We're also honing critical thinking skills, fact-checking skills and habits, and ascertaining WHO can articulate a given thought in a credible manner and who don't got no grammer.

Its a humanity-wide eye opener.

Posted by Eye Opener at June 17, 2003 11:49 PM

The Eurobot-Chup Committee will probably NOT pass its idiotic law, but if it does, this Blog (here, is ALREADY providing space for opposing viewpoints.

Reilly is compared to a half-witted Michael Moore? He comes on and posts a rebuttal: "I am NOT half as intelligent as Michael Moore!"

And if he wants to put his figurative head even FURTHER up his own rectal orifice, THAT, too, would be 're-buttal', wouldn't it?

Posted by Sharpshooter at June 17, 2003 11:56 PM

Alan K, right on, my sentiments exactly. You beat me to the Charlton Heston quote. How 'bout "Get your paws off my computer you damn dirty ape!"... doesn't quite work as well...

Posted by lewy14 at June 17, 2003 11:59 PM

Can't we just strike a balance, here? We should be able to work it out so that better-educated people in Manhattan, San Francisco, Chicago, and Hollywood can self-publish over the internet, but some of these . . . others . . . can't.

If we simply licensed each computer with a modem or broadband connection, and distributed those licenses to people of, well, discernment and taste, some of this irresponsible electronic publishing by the unwashed masses could be eliminated.

I think that's all O'Reilly really wanted: sensible blog-control laws.

Gotta go: I need to call Senator Feinstein.

Posted by Little Miss Attila at June 18, 2003 12:44 AM

A note about the pamphleteers: they were managing to sneak out all sorts of "little books" about the outrages of Louis XV then Louis XVI in France at the end of the 18th c. While some were outrageous - alleging that peasants were being slaughtered to make blood pudding for the king and that sort of thing - some argued that taxes were too high, the government was irresponsible, etc. In French, the little books were known as "libellules," and they all got lumped together when the term "libel" was coined. The man's been trying to keep independent publishers down and out a long time.

Posted by Geoffrey Barto at June 18, 2003 01:22 AM

It's only going to get worse, once the American Medical Association recommends that doctors ask their patients about pentium speeds and cable modems, in order to prevent "assault speech" from being distributed from the home. Expect a new version of "Physician Internet Safety Guide" to be released any day now.

Kids, of course, are going to be surveyed in the doctor's office and at school - "Do your parents own a computer? Is it hooked to something called "the internet"? Do you know if they blog? Have they ever distributed any false or misinformed opinions about well-known political pundits over the Web?"

If any of these are in the affirmative, expect Child Protective Services to be notified immediately, of course.

Posted by Kimberly at June 18, 2003 03:43 AM

I've always thought that self-publishing, using laser printers, should be strictly controlled.

Letting just anybody monkey around with that dangerous death-ray technology was bound to cause trouble.

Posted by Kevin McGehee at June 18, 2003 04:30 AM

Love the 'children' line at the end, very Flanders.

How about adding "If we don't control free speech, the terrorists have won."

Posted by Doc at June 18, 2003 04:36 AM

Thanks Rand, got it.

(Mr. du Toit: this dual processor Mac is pre-ban.)

Posted by Ranald Hay at June 18, 2003 05:54 AM

The best defense of the internet is a clear demonstration of its worth, and you have done so. You have achieved a rarity - three birds with one stone: people who want to curtail second amendment rights, people who want ot curtail first amendment rights, and Bill O'Reilly. Okay, Bill's a soft target, but it's still an impressive achievement.

You've also raised a knotty question for the EU's enforcement of internet equal time (though I doubt they've thought of it): Who gets equal time after satire? Here, the form would say first amendment supporters, yet the meaning would say Bill O'Reilly and second amendment suppressors. Only the lawyers will profit from such a requirement.

Posted by Kevin Murphy at June 18, 2003 07:07 AM

You can take my Mac when you pry my cold dead fingers off the mouse!

Posted by Don at June 18, 2003 07:32 AM


I haven't read the responses yet, but wow! Great article. I think you should have made the paragraph that starts...

"But surely the Founders never intended..."

To be the final paragraph. Then it would have been perfect. I give you a 9.8!

Posted by at June 18, 2003 08:12 AM

Half the fun of reading the comments is laughing at the people who didn't get the satire!

Posted by Merrijane at June 18, 2003 08:24 AM

Little known fact:

If you have a clean record, pay the transfer tax, and your state/local laws do not forbid it, ANYONE can own and use a dual processor Mac (10)

Posted by Phil Winsor at June 18, 2003 09:10 AM

The responses of those who were unsure of the satiric nature of your post make me fearful for the future of the Republic. Maybe we really do need poll tests.

Posted by Dave Trowbridge at June 18, 2003 09:14 AM

Sounds to me like O'Reilly and most of those over-eddjicated East-Coast mucky-mucks need to hear those words of adoration so lovingly expressed out here in the boondocks of the West when we are in the presence of those who are our self-appointed betters: "Git a rope!"

Posted by TomW at June 18, 2003 10:16 AM

My question to O'Reilly is: who is going to decide who has the right to publish and who doesn't?

His remarks show an underlying yet profound disdain for the public, as if we are such idiots that we can't tell fact from fiction.

But then again, silly me, I forgot who's in the White House ...

Posted by Wendy Cohen at June 18, 2003 10:27 AM

not much to add, except that Fox fighting for the right to lie kinda undermines O'Really's "argument".

Great article, BTW, my BS meter nearly exploded after the first few paragraphs. Then I started laughing.

Good work.

Posted by wah at June 18, 2003 10:32 AM

Absolutely brilliant bit of satire.

Or so I thought, until I saw some of the commenters who took you seriously.

Perhaps we do need some, reasonable restrictions on free speech. You know, a permit your local judge could issue, registration, maybe a waiting period before idiots are allowed to open their mouth and start talking... And for Christ's sake, some of these people should never be allowed to speak within 500 feet of a school zone.

Posted by Omnibus Bill at June 18, 2003 12:05 PM

D'oh! I just reread the main post and checked the links and realized that I was an idiot to fail to see the satire.

When I do something so stupid in public all I can do is say so and blush.

Bill O'Reilly is right on a lot of things, but I don't watch him because he's such a jerk. And when he's wrong, he's worse.

Posted by AST at June 18, 2003 01:12 PM

All I know is that I'm more than ready for one of those fabulous FOX infobabes to inherit that primetime slot. Rita, Laurie, Linda we're ready girls!

Posted by Lloyd at June 18, 2003 01:30 PM


Applause! Anyone with enough humility to admit he (or she) made a mistake -- especially on the Internet -- has some real character. Prosit!

Posted by Mike Koenecke at June 18, 2003 02:42 PM

To Mike

No big whup, but would you mind explaining how it is that "AST" shows character by anonymously making, and then withdrawing, his/her mistake. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by Lloyd at June 18, 2003 03:02 PM

It's just that after years of reading Usenet, online bulletin boards, comments, and the like, I find it exceptionally rare for *anyone* to admit they said something foolish. Somebody owning up to putting his foot in his mouth shows some personal humility, which I am surprised and gratified to see. And I think people like that should be encouraged.

But your point about anonymnity is well taken.

Posted by Mike Koenecke at June 19, 2003 11:06 AM

"Anonymity," that is.

Posted by Mike Koenecke at June 19, 2003 11:08 AM

Post a comment

Email Address: