Thursday, October 09, 2003

O'Reilly and what America wants

You've got to give O'Reilly credit. You really do. Check out last week's New York Times bestseller list:

1 WHO'S LOOKING OUT FOR YOU? by Bill O'Reilly.
3 MADAM SECRETARY, by Madeleine Albright with Bill Woodward.
4 BUSHWHACKED, by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose.
5 THE GREAT UNRAVELING, by Paul Krugman.
6 SHUT UP & SING, by Laura Ingraham. (+)
7 REAGAN: A Life in Letters, edited by Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson.
8 PERSECUTION, by David Limbaugh. (+)
9 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, by Walter Isaacson.
10 LIVING HISTORY, by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

O'Reilly took the top of the chart his first week out of the gate. According to Matt Drudge, he's going to lose it back to Al Franken's book (which held the top spot for five weeks before), but he took it all the same.

What he really deserves the credit for, though, is for doing it without help. Look at the two blatantly conservative books on the list -- those by Laura Ingraham and David Limbaugh. Make sure you point out to everyone that that means that "some bookstores report receiving bulk orders." In other words, conservative groups purchase boxes of these books and hand them out at meetings and conferences for the express purpose of raising the book's profile nationally. It's also a way to underwrite the work of right wing polemicists, ensuring that they will continue to get book contracts and be able to afford to write these books.

Note that not a single book by a liberal and/or Democrat -- half the list -- requires this type of economic stuffing of the ballot box. O'Reilly didn't need it either, so he deserves a pat on the back. This must say something about what America's really feeling right now.

Nitpicker is currently slogging through O'Reilly's book, however, and believes that it's selling more because of his continuous hawking of the book on his show than because it's a good book. Also, I got my copy from the library, adding not a single purchase to O'Reilly's sales total.

(I'll write tomorrow about one of O'Reilly's most egregiously unsupported arguments -- the idea that the founding fathers wanted religion and politics to hold hands.)


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