O’Reilly Jumps Shark with Gay Terrorist Sneer

Andrew Belonsky :: Friday, June 4th, 2010 10:56 am

Bill O’Reilly’s no stranger to controversy: the Fox News man has made millions by inflaming political, social and cultural tensions. His latest stunt – comparing gay people to Al-Qaeda terrorists – thrust him into an entirely new realm of absurdity.

O’Reilly, as you may have heard, was discussing McDonalds’ new gay ad, which is airing in France and urges customers to “Come as You Are,” when he wondered, “They want to make a political statement selling burgers. They’re entitled to it. It will never run in the USA. They’ll never do that. Do they have an al Qaeda ad, you know, come as you are? You know?” You bloody fool.

Gays, straights and others are absolutely outraged by the vague comparison. “Bill O’Reilly should be ashamed for equating a family with a gay son to terrorists,” The Human Rights Campaign told Media Matters. “It may be news to him but most Americans know and love LGBT people and would be offended at this kind of comparison. An apology is certainly warranted.” Yes, as a gay man, I find O’Reilly’s juxtaposition a bit worrisome. I’m not necessarily offended, though, or surprised: this isn’t the first time O’Reilly has taken on the queers. Just last month he compared trans people to Ewoks, which is simply ridiculous, because Ewoks are fictional creatures, not human beings, but such distinctions matter not to O’Reilly.

I can’t help but wonder whether O’Reilly – and the rest of his Fox brood – have jumped the shark. Glenn Beck, by far the network’s most outrageous personality, has been struggling in the ratings department. Though O’Reilly remains the cable news king, how long can he stay on top, especially as Americans turn their attention to on-the-ground issues.

As the populist movement spreads, Americans may lose patience for histrionics and right-wing inflammation, because, quite simply, Americans are already inflamed. The economy, the oil spill and other dinner table issues are far more deserving of their attention. More than that, HRC’s right: more and more Americans are “going gay” when it comes to social inclusion: 53% of Americans believe being gay is “morally acceptable.” That’s the highest percentage in history.

O’Reilly’s recent statements are more ludicrous than usual, and I’m hoping the more rational of the American public, which may or may not be the majority, realizes that this news man, like The Fonz in Happy Days, has reached the end of his rope. Or perhaps we should keep watching just to see what slop he’ll dish out next.