Rewriting History, with no sense of shame

A few weeks ago when I saw that Bill O’Reilly’s new book was called “Killing Lincoln,” I thought, huh? O’Reilly isn’t an historian. Why is he writing a book on Lincoln? Turns out, of course, it isn’t a history book. It’s just more ramblings from a Right Wing demigod who thinks he can make stuff up and if he says it, then it must have happened that way. How bad is O’Reilly’s book? So bad the National Park Service recommends that it not be sold at their bookstore at Ford’s Theater due to the numerous factual errors and complete lack of citing sources for its claims. It’s no surprise to get a book like this from Billo. It’s just sad that so many people watch his show and trust him. And most of those people live in a bubble, so they will never know that actual historians have denounced the book and found fault with it. So the nation sinks farther into the land of truthiness, and Killing Lincoln sits at number two on the non-fiction best-seller list (yeah, it should probably be on the fiction list).Looking at the review with the list of errors from the NPS historian, the errors aren’t necessarily egregious, for the most part. He doesn’t seem to be claiming, for example, that slavery wasn’t at the heart of the civil war, as some have done recently. Yet the number of errors show that O’Reilly is not careful in his writing, and does not understand what it means to write a history book, does not understand the importance of facts, the importance of getting things right. Of course, anyone who has ever seen his show knows that. You wonder why he even bothered writing the book. I can only guess that it was mostly written by his co-author, with Bill lending his name and collecting his pay. For really, the only reason he does anything is for the money. He has said as much, claiming that if his taxes went up he might just quit his show (and of course when Jon Stewart called him on that he had to sheepishly admit that threat was empty; he’d keep collecting his paycheck even he only took home 19 million a year rather than 20 million).


About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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