Bill O'Reilly battles Laura Ingraham: Is 'thump the Bible' a slur? (+video)(Read article summary)
O'Reilly says that civil rights is a 'compelling' argument for gay marriage, and conservatives won't win if they just reference ('thump') the Bible. Ingraham says conservatives can do better but that, yes, 'thump,' is an insult.
Fox News host Bill O‚ÄôReilly ripped into radio talker Laura Ingraham on ‚ÄúThe O‚ÄôReilly Factor‚ÄĚ last night, and Ms. Ingraham responded in kind. The subject was gay marriage ‚Äď specifically, whether it‚Äôs offensive for Mr. O‚ÄôReilly to say that those on the right who simply ‚Äúthump the Bible‚ÄĚ in opposing same will lose.
It was great TV but it was also an actual interesting debate on an important aspect of a hot national issue. That‚Äôs something you don‚Äôt always get on cable news shout shows.
We‚Äôll start with the background because it‚Äôs kind of convoluted. It begins with O‚ÄôReilly in a late March show saying that gay marriage proponents have successfully defined it as a civil rights issue, which he called a ‚Äúcompelling‚ÄĚ argument that social conservatives have yet to counter.
‚ÄúThe other side hasn‚Äôt been able to do anything but thump the Bible,‚ÄĚ he said.
O‚ÄôReilly had ‚Äúmarginalized‚ÄĚ many religious Fox News viewers with his statement, said Mr. Limbaugh.
Got that? So the stage is now set for last night.
O‚ÄôReilly began his Tuesday show with a segment downplaying any feud between him and Limbaugh. He said the left was trying to create an argument where none existed. Then he repeated his ‚Äúthump‚ÄĚ assertion.
‚ÄúZealots picked up on my statement that opponents must do more than thump the Bible if they want to win the civil debate. That‚Äôs absolutely true,‚ÄĚ he said.
Then he turned to guest Ingraham, who sometimes sits in for him and with whom he seems to have a good relationship. He appeared to think she would agree with him on Bible thumping. She didn‚Äôt.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt think you really needed to say that,‚ÄĚ she said.
Things went downhill quickly from there. O‚ÄôReilly quickly shouted her down and had his say, then let her have two minutes to respond, then jumped in and overwhelmed her with volume while she sat back and looked disgusted.
Her basic point was that opponents of gay marriage have been surprised by the quick turnaround in the national debate and haven‚Äôt had time to really articulate their beliefs. But to dismiss the beliefs of social conservatives as somehow irrelevant is insulting, she implied.
‚ÄúA lot of them do have a very deeply held religious belief about what traditional marriage is,‚ÄĚ said Ingraham.
O‚ÄôReilly countered that he was not insulting people‚Äôs religious belief.
‚ÄúWhy did you use the word ‚Äėthump?‚Äô ‚ÄĚ asked Ingraham.
‚ÄúBecause that‚Äôs the way you get it across,‚ÄĚ said O‚ÄôReilly.
By the end, they were pretty much just shouting past each other, though no furniture got thrown. Ingraham insisted that social conservatives would rally and come up with better arguments, and O‚ÄôReilly said he was just explaining the political facts of life.
‚ÄúYou and Rush should do a tour,‚ÄĚ sighed Ingraham at the end.
Wow! If that happens, perhaps the furniture will need to be bolted down.