Bill O’Reilly Is Aggrieved At Your Grievances

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 11:05 EDT
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Fox News host Bill O'Reilly
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Bill O’Reilly is aggrieved. (What’s new?) He’s aggrieved that other people—people who are not older white men—are aggrieved.  Older white men are the only one allowed grievances, because the only grievance really allowed is to be aggrieved that younger, more female, and more racially diverse people do not accept your natural authority as an older white man. No, I am not exaggerating his point of view.

From the transcript:

The protests of the 60s and early 70s brought about profound change and many of the radicals back then have become authority figures today especially in the media. But now we have a new anti-authority movement and it has been created by the grievance industry which President Obama and the Democratic Party have used very effectively to assume and maintain power.

The grievance industry basically says that America is not a fair nation that the deck is stacked against minorities, women, the poor, gays, atheists, Muslims — you name it. And the bad guys are white males, the Republican Party and anybody who doesn’t buy into the grievance industry.

To prove his point that there is a “grievance industry” of people profiting off their untoward demands to stop assuming that older white straight Christian men are their natural superiors, i.e. authority figures, O’Reilly chooses two puzzling examples: 1) A spring break riot in Santa Barbara that broke out because cops tried to bust up the partying and the partiers drunkenly fought back 2) A bunch of Dartmouth students taking over the college president’s office in order to demand a bunch of changes to school policy they believe will result in more racial diversity and gender fairness. O’Reilly would have you believe the latter is some kind of radical, over-the-top strangeness, but mostly it’s a bunch of stuff like hiring more racial minorities and having gender neutral bathrooms.*

What you’ll notice about these two examples is neither of them can remotely be understood as results of any kind of “grievance industry”. In the first case, the grievance seems to be they were fighting for their right to party, which has nothing to do with the list of grievances that O’Reilly considers illegitimate: this of “minorities, women, the poor, gays, atheists, Muslims”. I don’t think those students were rioting to stop school prayer or anything.

On the second tip, they were, indeed, doing what O’Reilly hates and expressing grievances about racial, sexual, etc. inequality. You’ll notice, however, that no one made money expressing these grievances, which shuts down his accusation that they’re running an “industry”. I mean, obviously it’s completely ridiculous for O’Reilly to denounce people for trying to get equal treatment. But even within that ridiculous assumption, he’s telling a lie, since these students aren’t making money at it.

In fact, as O’Reilly acknowledges, they’re actually paying quite a bit of money to go to Dartmouth. “Those loons believe Dartmouth is a gulag a place of oppression and bigotry for which you pay more than $65,000 a year to attend.” Yes, how dare a bunch of students who are paying tuition that helps keep the school afloat and running think they should get a return on that money. I guess that works on the same principle as asserting the right to deny a woman the right to use her own insurance plan she earned on contraception. That principle being that only older rich white guys are allowed to demand a return on their investment.

Interestingly, while no one in the story that O’Reilly accuses of being a member of a “grievance industry” is profiting off expressing grievances, he himself makes an absolute fortune off expressing grievances. He attracts viewers by spouting an endless litany of grievances, and therefore gets handsomely paid to do it. Perusing his website, here’s a list of some recent grievances he was paid handsomely to utter:

  • That Christians can’t impose their religions on non-Christians through public schools
  • More phony outrage about Benghazi
  • That stupid scientists keep insisting on the science of global warming even though it’s harshing O’Reilly’s fondness for inefficient gas guzzlers
  • That he wants to use social welfare programs to harangue and humiliate poor people about their most private life choices
  • Beyonce wrote a song about sex with her husband

Interestingly, none of the aggrieved people in O’Reilly’s world suffer even a fraction of the damage that actual targets of racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. endure. Hell, having to not go see “Noah” or feel slight pangs of doubt over your gas guzzling car might be inconvenient for conservatives, but even they aren’t suffering as much as people who got arrested by the cops for drunken rioting did. I mean, I’m not supporting drunken rioting, but in terms of “grievance”, getting arrested for it does count as measurable harm, unlike anything the “Noah” movie did to fundies. Which is to say that O’Reilly’s one-man grievance industry is all industry, and the grievance part is pure hustle. But, you know, it’s the liberals who are the bad guys here, with all their complaining about actual, measurable harm.

*This continues to be a bugaboo on the right, but in a lot of cities it’s becoming quite normal in bars and restaurants, in no small part because it’s just straight up easier to manage than having specific restrooms. It’s not just trans people who benefit. If anything, men generally are the big winners here. I’ve had to use men’s rooms in desperation before. I don’t know why it is, but something about having a male-only space to pee in seems to create a competition between men to see who can do the most serious damage to the restroom by peeing all over the floor and toilet seat. Having to share with women tends to scale that back dramatically. Maybe O’Reilly is one of those dudes who thinks it’s hilarious to mark his territory with a stream of urine straight to the floor that other men have to step around, and that’s why he’s crabby about this. To which, I say, too bad. Making other people step in your pee isn’t your right. It’s just rude.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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