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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

You can bet your Factor Gear that Bill O'Reilly will be showing clips of his Thursday night appearance on The Daily Show on his The O'Reilly Factor Monday night, but he won't be admitting that he had been exposed as a shallow, labels-are-more-important-than-content, bold fresh piece of humanity.

Probably because he got whipped and never saw the punch that got him.

To the Factor Folks, I'm sure Bill's venture into enemy territory was another example of just how their Looking Out For You No Spinster scored another knockdown.

Probably because they never understood the punch that got him.

Stewart was gracious as he always seems to be with those of dissimilar belief -- except perhaps for his pummeling of Bill Kristol and that one time with John McCain.

Certainly more amicable than he is on his own show when in disagreement with a guest, O'Reilly came on to promote his homage to himself tome, "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity." But you have to throw in the fact that The Factor is no The Daily Show.

First of all, The Factor doesn't have as much integrity as The Daily Show. When Stewart is making it up, Stewart admits it ("I'm not a news organization"). When O'Reilly makes it up, that IS The Factor. Bill said Stewart "gets paid to cheap shot." Stewart admitted it was a "great job." Think Bill ever would?

When Stewart's crew takes an actual story and edits it to transform it into a joke -- that is, if it needs any transformation at all (see: any off-the-cuff Palin) -- it's meant to be a joke. When BillO does it, it's meant to be an actual presentation of a reality.

Like Ali vs Foreman, Stewart allowed BillO his way for the first half of their match, letting him flail away at Jon seeming resting on the ropes, wearing the Culture Warrior down with only light amusing observations; not truly ready to go on the offensive.

Stewart played a series of O'Reilly clips to point out the "Obama fear" hovering over Fox News as a setup for a comforting hot chocolate tete te between Bill and Jon. BillO accused Jon "gerrymandering these clips like crazy." Jon certainly could have pointed out that Bill and his Fox cohorts making a living out of that, but when they do it they call it "news." But that's not to say that he didn't end up having fun with Bill.

Tell me when Stewart told Bill, "You're not an ideologue," you didn't ROFLOL. Course Stewart finished it with a nice little jab, "I don't know what you are."

It's not like Bill wasn't able to go funny toe to funny toe with Jon.

"You're a stand up comic," said Bill. "If you go to Alabama you're going to be killed. They'll stone you to death."

And they say satire doesn't work at Fox News.

But Jon can also break down the O'Reilly logic swifter and more coherent than any Democratic Fox consultant ever could. And when they came aback from commercial for the closing rounds the shoot 'em out, Stewart came off the ropes ready for the now NOT SO fresh piece of humanity.

When Bill threw out the mantra that most of America is a center right nation -- something Fox News and talk radio has been pounding out -- Jon served up his best flurry of the bout.

"Tradition is a progression of individual freedoms. You know what the tradition of America would say? Gay marriage is the next step in the tradition of America. You're misrepresenting the tradition. You're idea of tradition is a mythological 'Ozzie and Harriet' thing."

Never one to let a lucid argument get in the way of his quick wit, Bill shot back.

"That's your Greenwich Village logic," countered Bill.

No he di-int. Bill had taken Jon's thesis and counter-punched it neatly into a beatnik-referenced comeback. And you thought all Bill had was San Francisco left hand hook in his arsenal

Bill continued.

"The problem with you is, that you see it through a prism of..."

And before Bill could hammer it home, Stewart ducked blow and for all intent and purposes, Jon finished the thought...and the fight.

"...of logical thought."

Bill reeled back but didn't go down.

"Secular progressives want drastic change in the country," jabbed Bill going to the tried (tired?) and true. "You ever read The Daily Kos?"

Jon sidestepped the cliched swing deftly. When your opponent has a limited repertoire he tends to telegraph his punches.

"They want the tax rate to go from 36 to 39 percent. In what 3 percent does that turn it socialist?"

BAM. On the floor, Bill tried to shake away the cobwebs as he tried valiantly to get to his feet.

"You wanna..."

Though not interrupted, he never finished the thought...because there was none. He had nothing left, only to be comforted by the teddy (not panda) bear Jon handed him.

BillO swung again, this time more weakly than before, not realizing he was only setting up himself for a Stewart uppercut.

"You're telling me propaganda."

Jon shook it off like Ali shakes off Ernie Terrell, rearing back with the finishing blow.

"I'm telling you the thought behind the label."

There it was. The knockout punch. I'm sure Bill doesn't even remember it. Yet it defined so well the difference between the fighting style of the right wing Lords of Lord and Jon Stewart.

Labeling vs Thought.

Surface Epithets vs Deliberative Content.

Below the Belt vs Within the Wit.

And while a flagrant foul might take the air out of a thoughtful opponent for a round or two, over the course of 15 rounds a quicker, smarter fighter comes out on top.

Ask George Foreman after his Rumble in the Jungle.

Ask John McCain after his Rejection in the Election.

It's all about intellectual honesty brought to bear.

More than honesty about politics. Honesty about who you are and what you do.

Bill said Stewart "gets paid to cheap shot." Saying "it's a great job," Stewart admitted it to be what he does.

Think Bill ever would?

Award-winning TV writer and author of Great Failures of the Extremely Successful, Steve Young was an original talk show host at L.A.'s KTLK and blogs at

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Albion Monitor   November 13, 2008   (

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