Airing locally on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 94.3 WTRW-FM last Friday, conservative radio host Glenn Beck and Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly offered differing perspectives on the outlook for Occupy protestors in the weeks ahead.
The two initially touched on an erroneous report by the Washington Post that the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site gift shop had refused to carry Bill O’Reilly’s recent bestseller Killing Lincoln before moving on to Occupy Wall Street.
O’Reilly remained resolute in his opinion that Occupy demonstrations were on their last leg, while Glenn Beck was equally adamant the protests were a mere shadow of things to come.
The radio host disputed Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera’s estimation – given on the O’Reilly Factor – that Beck had been overly alarmist in his assessment of Occupy.
“Last night on my TV show [GBTV], I played the clip of Geraldo on your show saying I think Glenn is blowing this all out of proportion and everything. Really Geraldo? Have you seen what’s going on now? I mean – Bill – is it not clear? This is exactly what I said would happen,” Beck began.
“Yeah, but the one mistake you did make, with all due respect, ok—”
“Bring it on!” Beck joked.
“You overestimated the number of people.” O’Reilly continued. “There aren’t that many of these loons; they’re hardcore…”
“I didn’t give a number Bill. I said that there would be global revolution,” he objected.
“No, no, you said this was going to catch fire. And I don’t believe it is. I think it’s receding now. I think [Americans] are so fed up with these people,” O’Reilly replied, arguing alternative media had countered overly sympathetic coverage from mainstream news organizations.
“This movement has just begun,” the radio host insisted.
“I don’t think so. I think it’s on the decline if you look at the polls,” O’Reilly rejoined.
Outlook hazy with chance of guessing
Absent a crystal ball, there’s no telling what the end of this week will bring.
Polling data does show a rapid deterioration in public opinion towards the protestors.
And former DNC chairman Ed Rendell’s insistence that OWS demonstrations had become counterproductive suggests Bill O’Reilly is – at least in part – correct.
The bet on Occupy
Last Friday, O’Reilly was willing to wager his prognostication would prove correct in six months time.
“I’ll bet you another steak dinner in New York.”
“I think I paid for the last steak dinner, and it wasn’t even a bet!” Beck quipped.
It remains to be seen whether the evidence will bear out the conservative radio host or the cable news commentator. But six months from now in New York one man will be eating cow, the other crow.
Either way, it’s refreshing to find people willing to put their money where their mouth is.
Part 1 of this series, Ed Rendell criticizes Occupy, is available here
Ed Rendell criticizes Occupy (Part II) is available here
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