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O'Reilly Keeping Tabs on Me and Other Stuff



It was one of the stranger phone calls I've gotten in recent weeks, courtesy of my old pal, Fox News Channel gasbag Bill O'Reilly.Oreilly

It wasn't exactly from him, of course. It was a perky assistant named Rod, who had an odd request: Could I tell him whether I was a registered voter and if I had contributed to any political party?

This is, of course, a hot-button issue for some journalists, many of whom don't even vote at all to preserve their illusion of objectivity and disconnect from divisive political issues. According to Rod, O'Reilly was checking up on TV critics across the country using public records and phone calls like the one I was enduring at that moment.

Since I consider myself an opinion columnist and have not been shy about my political leanings in the past, I had no problem answering O'Reilly's questions, which are public record, anyway. (I haven't donated to any political party -- I think that's an odd crossing of the lines, from advocacy to action -- and i'm a reigstered Democrat. Surprise!)

Oreallybookcover I'm sure O'Reilly is expecting to prove that a majority of TV critics are Democrats and have given $$ to them (good luck on that last one; we barely make enough to afford the service fees on our TiVos).

I've always said that the standard for journalists, regardless of whether they write opinion or not, should be fairness. The very act of deciding that one issue makes a good story and another doesn't involves some side-taking. The goal is to be fair as possible, while informing readers as much as possible.

When that's your framework, it doesn't matter much what political party you belong to. But why should O'Reilly judge the nation's TV critics on our work?It's so much easier to damn us for our party affiliations.

Best of 2006 TV?

Heroeslogo It's never too early to start thinking on the one critic's obligation which never seems to go away: the year-end Best of List.

Trite? For sure. Predictable? Without a doubt. Formulaic?  Can there be anything more rote than a Top Ten, Top Five, Top Seven...?

But, you gotta admit, we love them.

Easy to write, fun to read (if done well), they're a convenient way to ruminate on yet anotherp op culture year gone by (don't you remember where you were when you heard Katie Couric was going to CBS?)

Dexter1a So I ask you, dear reader, what's your Top Moments?

I already imagine I'll be talking about Showtime's Dexter, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, ER, Keith Olbermann, Sleeper Cell, Studio 60 and YouTube. But I want to know: What do YOU think?


An example of what NOT to do when giving an interview about your awfully-named energy drink, Cocaine, to the Daily Show. HINT: Don't say, "If I was trying to target (inner city consumers) I would have called it crack." And don't admit that your drink causes a burning sensation in the back of your throat, either.

50 Cent says what some black fans have been grousing about for years: that Oprah has left her roots behind and become, in his words, an Oreo.

Prisonbreaktbag According to a survey sponsored by CBS, the top five shows adults watched with their kids this season includes a program in which two characters have been killed onscreen since the fall (ABC's Lost), a show in which an escaped prisoner has lsot his hand, again (Prison Break) and a program in which a character snapped and gunned down two people in grocery store being shot to death herself (Desperate Housewives). Guess I'm a wimp for limiting our family viewing to Deal or No Deal, Dancing with the Stars, Heroes, the Biggest Loser and Dirty Jobs.


[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:37pm]


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