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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

(NOTE: Last year I wouldn't have written this, but in the last year, since the first "War on Christmas" was burying the last of the Christ-haters, Bill O'Reilly seems to have discarded all logic and tumbled into a territory where those who have lost certain mental faculty. I don't feel that it would be fair to the truly mentally challenged to put them in the same cart with Mr. O'Reilly. So it is, that the differentiation seem more one of labeling. There are those who are mentally unbalanced. And then there are those with sick minds. Bill O'Reilly's mind is sick.)

Those who do not understand Bill O'Reilly's sickness see him as just a bully or misinformed, a megalomaniac to be condemned, or in the case of Keith Olbermann's daily "Worst Person in the World" award, to be made fun of.

How tragically insensitive.

Mr. Olbermann, do we make fun of someone just because they look different than us...? Um... Okay, bad example.

Do you call anyone the "Worst Person in the World" for having cancer? No. Why? Because we accept it as a sickness. A sickness that has a certifiable diagnosis; a visible spot on an x-ray. Something to point at.

"Yep. It's cancer. Look at that. Sorry, Mr. Young. Have you already paid next month's rent? Have you drawn up a will? Hurry."

If someone has an emotional problem, a mental disorder, an psychological crisis, without some discernible physical evidence we want the person to "change;" "get over it;" "stop dribbling" on themselves.

I'm not talking about a "disease" like alcoholism. It's too excusable, overused, and believe me, as a card-carrying alcoholic, I can tell my brethren from a mile away. Usually they're the ones who just got caught doing something they can't get out of. But even an alcoholic on a binge can, sooner or later, sleep it off. Not so with a mental disease. To the layman it appears only in thoughts or actions. But there's no mole changing shape or color.

Foppish narcissism might actually work as a self-esteem tool. But when in the hands of a sick mind with a national audience who risks severe ligament damage from chronic patting himself on the back, it reeks of mental sickness. Pity, yes. "Worst Person in the World?" Only someone without sense of decency would mock the sick.

O'Reilly's Christmas war plotting suggests a semblance of a psychotic road map:


Delusions of grandeur in promoting himself as the flag bearer for all Christendom


Infantile egocentrism in his projection of his own religion onto the entire population in a society that has explicitly disavowed the adoption of a national religion


Paranoid ideation in perceiving persecutory motives in the marketing efforts of retailers who in fact have no dog in O'Reilly's imagined apocalyptic fight between good (Christian) and evil (secular and/or any religious tradition other than Christian).

Bill's tenuous grip on reality is further reflected in his apparent sincere dual beliefs that he is a journalist and that he pursues his "profession" in a "fair and balanced" manner. If Freud were to be consulted by Bill O, he would no doubt encourage his client to embark on an inner exploration into the deep associations he has buried to the image of journalist. There is a high percentage likelihood that the trail of associations, whether followed through dream metaphors involving snakes wearing trench coats, through inkblot projections (snakes with steno pads) or through free associative techniques, would lead back to an early trauma in which Mother O threatened on repeated occasion to "report on" the wayward toddler to his unbearably authoritarian father. Jung, on the other hand, would seek to unravel the nature of what Jung would have described as Bill O's "Journalist Complex." Jung would likely find that the complex was triggered by the presence of any camera lens and/or at least one willing listener. Once in the grip of this complex, Bill O becomes disoriented and is unable to distinguish between Crate and Barrel,, and Satan.

As far as a diagnosis, I would look to the above-mentioned symptomatology, but keep in mind that he displays a tremendous reservoir of hostility which is expressed as verbal aggression -- suggesting roots in the oral stage of development, during which gratification was obviously irregular and not a dependable feature of his bond with mama. Altogether what is suggested is a severe borderline oral-aggressive personality disorder.

I always found it disconcerting when Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity are considered equally deceitful. When Hannity likens Congressman (and Muslim) Keith Ellison's wanting to take his oath with his hand on the Koran, to someone taking the oath on Mein Kampf, you know Sean doesn't actually believe it. That's because Hannity is not sick man. Snake oil salesman, for sure. But certainly not a sick.

Cherry-picking tidbits of fact to support their point of view has long been the talk radio M.O.. Hannity is probably the best of the bunch. But at least he takes the time to select the cherry he picks apart unmercifully, actually able to back up the resultant cherry cobbler. Meanwhile Bill will search his mind -- or his ass -- where he will pull out some concocted and cockeyed misrepresentation to make him seem the bestest anyone could ever be. He needs not a single fact to support his argument. By the time a thought pops into Bill's "brain" and heads towards his mouth, he's already believing that it's not only true but that he was ordained to be the first and most competent to both conceive and express the message. He really believes it. And that's sick. Hannity knows he's a conman. O'Reilly actually believes what he's saying is true. Of course, both Bill and Sean believe that their target audience buys their bullshit. The difference is, O'Reilly doesn't believe it's bullshit. That's not because he's not really a bad guy. It's because he's sick. A man to be helped not humiliated.

Now I'm not saying Bill isn't a bastard or a real schmuck. I'm just saying the reason he believes there's a War on Christmas or that saying you're a tough guy makes you one, or that anyone with half a mind would ever believe he's an independent, is simply because he's of a mental problem.

So, Mr. Olbermann, instead of ridiculing the sick, you might want to think of helping them. Being part of the answer. Or in the least, change your segment something more sympathetic. Something like, MOST SICK PERSON IN THE WORLD. At that sir, even a sicky like Bill would appreciate.

Steve Young is author of the wacky new children's novel, "15-Minutes" (HarperCollins)

Credit Due: Much of the diagnosis above is based on psychological analysis from the writings of Dr. Howard Dansky, Liverock, PA

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Albion Monitor   November 30, 2006   (

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