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And, let me be perfectly clear, you probably should hate him.  But, let me get to what I wanted to talk about.  Did anyone see the clip where Bill O'Reilly takes on the president of the American Atheists, Dave Silverman?  It's been making the rounds lately, I'll put it here in a bit.  But, I just wanna make a few comments on it, give you a few things to think about before you watch it, because I think that this displays a lot of the reasons that conservatives are so powerful in the radio/tv commentator business.

O'Reilly is a real expert at this.  His debating skills are very good.  And, you have to remember, these guys are all extremely calculated in what they say.  They are very able at defeating the people who are on their programs.  He never lets up on the attack.  As the old sports mantra goes, a good offense is a good defense.  (Like all gay men, I know nothing about sports.)

Just notice the conviction with which Bill is saying everything.  He may be a sophist, but he's really convinced that his sophistry is correct at that moment.  Also, he never lets himself get dragged into a longer and deeper argument, he keeps changing the subject so that Silverman can't get a toe hold.  This has two separate advantages: first, he's placing Silverman on the defensive constantly; second, it means that he can always be asserting his own truths, rather than simply denying what Silverman is saying.  Towards the end Silverman starts being better.  He's getting assertive and placing O'Reilly on the defensive, but it's almost too late, he's essentially lost the argument.

Bill is a pretty horrible guy for a lot of reasons.  But, he really is a master at his craft.  So, even if you hate him, you've gotta have a bit of gentlepersonly respect for how well he does it.  I also have gotta say that it's really hard to watch these people go on there and get just smacked down by Bill.  Dave holds his own a little bit better, but he still loses to Bill.  I'm a bit astounded that these people don't study the craft of these conservative commentators - that they don't work at trying to be better than them, and at methods of trying to keep on message and stop Bill from using his every day techniques against them.  We all need to learn how to counter these techniques, whether it be in an argument with our friends, or whether we're going on mainstream television.

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