Colbert and O'Reilly: Arrogance as an Art Form

05/25/2011 11:50 am ET
  • Peter Daou Political analyst, former Hillary Clinton adviser

On a typical weekday night, 11:30 pm is a moment of domestic decision: watch as the clock winds down on Iron Chef or switch over to the Colbert Report.

My appetite for Colbert -- billed as a "mega-American" in the show's intro -- was whetted by Fox's Bill O'Reilly, a man whose arrogance attains heights (or should I say depths) unmatched in (fake) journalism. Colbert's spoof of O'Reilly-style reporting elevates O'Reilly's arrogance to an art form. Monday's highlights included a report on what Colbert labeled the "so-called separation" of church and state. "In God We Trust is right there where Jesus would want it, on our money," intones Colbert, in his uber-American, love-it-or-leave-it voice.

In my recent media blogging on the Daou Report Repohr, I've focused on the insidious effects of pro-Bush narratives pervading the supposedly 'neutral' press, narratives peddled by the likes of Wolf Blitzer, Chris Matthews, Paula Zahn, Kyra Phillips, Cokie Roberts, Tom Brokaw, Jim VandeHei, Bob Schieffer, Bill Schneider, Tim Russert, Howard Fineman, Norah O'Donnell, Elizabeth Bumiller, Adam Nagourney, and Bob Woodward. (Examples here and here.)

However, I can't avoid the abysmal fact that O'Reilly -- or Papa Bear, as Colbert calls him -- and his Fox cohorts exert significant influence on the national discourse. In the pantheon of rightwing drum-beaters, O'Reilly's overblown ego is unmatched. Here's a taste of his bloviating courtesy of O'Reilly's arch nemesis, Media Matters: