“Slamming O’Reilly for O’Reilly-osity surely misses the point,” says Slate.
This from Katy Waldman’s smart review of “Kennedy’s Last Days,” a children’s book based on Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy. (Smart except for the fact that Waldman fails to credit JFK Facts for breaking the story. My feelings are not hurt. I swear.)
Waldman: “It’s more interesting to mine the characterization of Kennedy and his assassin for insight into what the author might value and fear. O’Reilly’s president is two things: a Hero and a Performer. As both, he is admired, beloved. Oswald is his opposite—the Envious Nobody. There goes LHO, “unhappy that his return to the United States has not attracted widespread media attention,” needing “to be noticed and appreciated,” with “little to show for his time on earth.
Fact check: There’s some evidence for the first of these claims. Oswald’s return to the United States from the Soviet Union in June 1962 generated some newspaper coverage in Texas but the 22-year old ex-Marine hoped for more. Oswald did like to get attention. George De Mohrenschildt described Oswald as an actor in the story of his own life. But the notion that Oswald felt that he had “little to show for his time on earth” is more imagined, than documented.
Waldman: “See his power fantasies and spasms of shame—how he measures “Marina’s cheap dresses” against Jackie O’s glamor.”
Fact check: O’Reilly’s version is debatable. Actually, Marina Oswald was the one who wanted to buy nice dresses and Lee didn’t care if she wore cheap dresses. He fought with his wife because he felt she was shallow and materialistic and insufficiently appreciative of his political ideals. Oswald did say good things about First Lady Jackie Kennedy, according to George De Mohrenschildt–but not at his wife’s expense.
Waldman: “On the other side, Kennedy. Courageous, handsome, anointed, “deadly serious about defending his country at all costs.” He “exudes fearlessness and vigor.” His “greenish-gray eyes” sparkle above a “dazzling smile and a deep tan.” You can feel O’Reilly reaching for both the highest compliment he can give JFK and the cruelest insult he can hurl at Oswald. They are these: Kennedy is Great. Oswald is small. Were the “slightly built drifter” given the opportunity, you could almost imagine him lying about his reportage on Fox News.”
Fact check: This is spot-on. O’Reilly views critics of his Fox News Reportage the same way he views Oswald: as contemptible worms who will be judge harshly by history. And O’Reilly’s critics view his reign of error about the Falklands Island War, the murder of the nuns in the El Salvador, and the riot in Los Angeles the same way they view his Fox News reportage: as the manifestation of misinformation, disinformation, and self-serving myth-making.