Damn You! I’m Not an Actor, I’m a Movie Star!

I am thrilled to introduce a new contributor to Trading 8s. He used to write for The Huffington Post, which makes his presence on our little blog even more special. Norman Horowitz will write the “Hollywood Insider” series on media, politics, and the business of entertainment, from Beverly Hills, CA. After serving in the US Air Force during the Korean War, Norman spent over 40 years in the telecommunications industry, from the early days of worldwide television through the development of cable, satellite, and internet companies. He served as VP of International Sales for Screen Gems, Director of International Sales for CBS, President of Worldwide Distribution for Columbia Pictures Television, President and Chief Operating Officer of Polygram Television, and President and Chief Executive Officer of MGM/UA Telecommunications Company. He co-founded the Cable Dating Network, Rxinfo.com, citiesLive networks, and citiescommercialLive networks. He has been an adjunct professor at the UCLA Graduate Business and Film Schools, as well as an associate professor at California State University, Northridge. I’m proud and honored to call him my mentor and friend. — AWO

Peter O’Toole spoke these words in the movie My Favorite Year.

In my hardly-ever-humble opinion, Bill O’Reilly is no longer a journalist (if he ever was one), but rather he is “an actor” who has become “a television star.”

In a manner of speaking, O’Reilly is a reincarnation of Howard Beale from the movie Network.  

Howard Beale famously said:

I’M AS MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE! I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad! You’ve got to say, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”

Beale is portrayed as being “a nut case” in the movie, while O’Reilly is apparently “sane.” However, to me, he portrays a host of a purported “news program,” yet he is (along with all the others of his ilk) a performer, and getting as large an audience as possible is his goal. His “performances” are as organized to appeal to viewers as the performances of Seinfeld.

FOX heavily promoted O’Reilly’s pre-Super Bowl interview with President Obama. It appeared that O’Reilly tried to remain civil throughout the interview. However, in the end, it appeared that his ego got in the way when he asked: “Does it disturb you that so many people hate you?”

This question supports the notion that FOX acts like a part of the Republican Party and treats Obama’s every move with disdain. It appears to me that they (FOX) have one goal in mind and that is to demean and defeat Obama in the upcoming election.

And now, from dictionary.com, “journalism”:

  1. the profession or practice of reporting about, photographing, or editing news stories for one of the mass media
  2. newspapers and magazines collectively; the press
  3. the material published in a newspaper, magazine, etc: this is badly-written journalism

And now, from Wikipedia, a career review of a real journalist, Eric Sevareid:

Sevareid worked during World War II, with Edward R. Murrow.

He was the first to report on the fall of France and the French surrender to Nazi Germany in 1940. Shortly after, he joined Murrow to report on the Battle of Britain.

He worked extensively for CBS News on television in the years following the war and the decades after.

He also served as the head of the CBS Washington bureau from 1946–1954 and became one of the early critics of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communism tactics.

From 1964 until he retired from CBS in 1977 Sevareid’s two-minute segments on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite inspired those who endeared him to dub him “The Grey Eminence,” who had won:

  • 1965: New York Newspaper Guild Page One Award
  • 1950: Peabody Award
  • 1964: Peabody Award
  • 1976: Peabody Award
  • Two-time Emmy Award winner
  • 1981: Harry S Truman Award
  • Two-time Overseas Press Club Award winner

(In the early eighties, Sevareid hosted a television series entitled “Eric Sevareid’s Chronicle” for Polygram Television. I wonder why the name of that company is so familiar.)

Now I dare you to compare O’Reilly in any way to Sevareid.

O’Reilly is certainly much more of a television star then he is a journalist.

And lest we forget that Bill O’Reilly has always been a screamer. He had a meltdown during his Inside Edition days.

He apparently “freaks out” because of bad writing on the teleprompter, and he unleashed an obscenity-laced tirade toward the writer. Inside Edition was originally a mix of tabloid crime stories, investigations, and celebrity gossip; that has become a mix of news, bizarre crime, investigative pieces on consumer scams/safety, pop culture features, celebrity news/gossip, offbeat and human interest stories. Bill must have been proud!

I continue to ask myself if Sevareid would have interviewed a United States President with the same “tonality” of O’Reilly with President Obama. I keep getting the same answer from myself and the answer is “of course not.”

Sevareid was a journalist, O’Reilly is a television personality.

He is, in a manner of speaking, Alan Swann from My Favorite Year. O’Reilly might one day say, “Damn you! I’m not a journalist, I’m a television star!”

How sad.