Jewish World Review Nov. 26, 2001 / 11 Kislev, 5762

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reiley
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Consumer Reports

Waiting in the Bushes -- WITH the Afghan war going exceedingly well and his approval rating hovering around 80 percent, President Bush has to be one happy Thanksgiving guy. Thus far, he has risen to the occasion -- directing what could turn out to be the most successful military operation of the 21st century. America's cause is just, and the bad guys keep falling without many U.S. casualties.

But hiding in the weeds, biding its time, is an enemy with its sights trained on Mr. Bush. This is the same foe that ambushed Bush's father in the early '90s and President Clinton throughout his tenure in office. This covert enemy lives to bring down the powerful and successful, and the attackers don't need bombs, anthrax or bullets. They use ink and innuendo.

It is a sad fact of life in America that the more successful one becomes, the more media snipers appear to blow your figurative brains out. I've already noticed the first ammunition being loaded against President Bush. The media assault will question his compassion as more Americans lose their jobs in the recession. The strategy will be to portray Mr. Bush's economic stimulus package as ignoring poor and working Americans by backing corporate tax breaks. Never mind that in order for the economy to rebound, corporations must be persuaded to begin spending again. That will not be mentioned. As soon as the war on terror subsides, Bush's alleged heartlessness will be played up big. You can take this to the bank.

Choking the powerful has become a blood sport in America, take it from me. By some mysterious quirk of fate, your humble correspondent has become a media success, much to the dismay of many. The more high profile I become -- the more vicious and personal the attacks on me get. Recently, Matt Drudge actually accused me of wanting to do a radio program to exploit Rush Limbaugh's deafness -- an erroneous charge so vitriolic it took my breath away.

For the first time, I now truly understand what people like the Bushes and the Clintons have to deal with. Once in power, you can insulate yourself to a degree, but the hateful arrows will still fly, and there's nothing anyone can do to stop them.

Of course, the Clintons brought many of the attacks on themselves by behaving badly. But the assaults would have arrived anyway. Once some in the media get a taste of blood, sharks tremble.

So I hope George W. Bush is preparing himself. A grateful America honored his father after the Gulf War, but the party ended long before midnight. A once-invincible president was battered and pillared as a man who didn't know the price of milk -- a man who didn't care about the regular folks.

That perception accomplished, many in the media took glee in watching the fast talker from Arkansas verbally dance his way into the White House, while the low-key blueblood from Connecticut could never shake the "out of touch" tag.

George W. Bush witnessed that media sniper parade firsthand and saw it bring down his father's administration. Mr. Bush must know the same enemy is waiting in the weeds again. Patiently, his foes are polishing generalizations of insensitivity and domestic incompetence. Ready for when the time is right to fire those flaming arrows directly into the Bush courtyard.

As the philosopher Rod Serling once said, "There's a signpost up ahead." That signpost may well spell big trouble for President Bush.

JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.


11/19/01:The sign of the Cross
11/09/01: Hollyweird strikes back
11/06/01: The fear factor
10/26/01: Show me the money
10/22/01: See no evil
10/15/01: Peace, but no quiet
10/08/01: The air war
10/01/01: I don't understand
09/24/01: We are all soldiers, and we have a job to do
09/14/01: Evil on display
09/11/01: Family matters!
09/04/01: End of summer blues
08/27/01: Summertime -- and the livin' ain't easy
08/20/01: The rap on rap
08/13/01: The truth hurts
08/06/01: Amnesty for illegals: Bush's political investment
07/30/01: The big picture on Condit-Levy
07/24/01: Silence of the Shams
07/16/01: Condit, Kennedy and cable news
07/09/01: Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence
07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate