During an April 20th exchange with author Arianna Huffington on FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly equated author and syndicated columnist Molly Ivins, comic and former TV host Bill Maher, Bill Moyers of PBS, and Seinfeld director Larry David with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and convicted serial killer Ted Bundy:
O'REILLY: You can understand how people like me and maybe a lot of people watching think you are a loony lefty when your book, 'Fanatics & Fools,' which I like the title, but I hope you are not in that group, is endorsed by the following: Molly Ivins; Bill Maher, Bill Moyers; and Larry David. Why don't you get Che Guevara on that, oh, he's dead. How about Fidel Castro? Come on, they are the far left fringe. That's who you're hanging with, Arianna. ...
O'REILLY: You don't think Molly Ivins is a socialist, read her books. She even admitted it.
HUFFINGTON: I have read her books. Bill, let me just say something. They are Americans, the same kind of Americans...
O'REILLY: Ted Bundy was an American.
HUFFINGTON: Oh come on.
O'REILLY: All right. That is a joke. That is a joke. Just kidding.
Ivins, Maher, Moyers, and David, of course, hold no brief for Fidel Castro or Ted Bundy. Ivins, for example, called Castro a "Bad Man" in print less than three years ago; less than four years ago, she wrote, "I truly think Fidel Castro is a bad, bad man."
And it's probably safe to say that neither Ivins, nor Maher, nor Moyers, nor David killed between 36 and 136 women, as Bundy did.
O'Reilly also claimed that the American people "despise" Ivins, Maher, Moyers, and David:
O'REILLY: We have common ground but the problem I think that you have fallen into, with all due respect, because I like you, I want your book to do OK, is that you are hanging out with fringe people, all right, who Americans despise. They do. They despise these people because these people are just ramming socialism and stuff like that down people's throats.
As for the mainstream appeal of David -- the director, writer, and co-creator of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld -- here are some numbers:
The O'Reilly Factor's nightly viewership during the Iraq War*: 4.4 million
Seinfeld's approximate nightly viewership: 20 million
Seinfeld series finale viewership: 76 million
*Correction: When this item was first published, it said that 4.4 million was The O'Reilly Factor's "approximate nightly viewership." In fact, 4.4 million viewers was FOX News Channel's average nightly primetime viewership for the week ending March 20, 2003, when O'Reilly and FOX experienced elevated ratings following the outbreak of the Iraq war, according to Zap2It.com, a TV information website. Typical ratings for The O'Reilly Factor hover around two million viewers, according to the July 21 edition of The Wall Street Journal (subscription only).