Lots of people have terrible opinions on how to deal with the threat Islamic State poses to regional security, from sending in ground troops to allying with Syria President Bashar al-Assad. But Bill O'Reilly has raised the bar for stupid punditry by calling for the U.S. to mix a little free enterprise into the war on terror by creating an "anti-terror mercenary force paid for by coalition nations," free to strike anywhere in the globe they see fit, equipped with the latest weaponry and almost certainly illegal under international law (whoops).
O'Reilly is also not very happy with Stephen Colbert, who mocked his childish idea by comparing it to the kind of thing a fourth-grader would draw in a notebook:
Colbert added that "you know the mercenaries will be good guys because only the best people kill whoever you want for cash ... unlike those suckers who do it for love of country."
O'Reilly responded with an unbearably smug segment on his show titled "How to Deal With Dumb People." It's almost unbelievable in its inability to understand either satire or irony, which you can see below:
While rebutting Colbert, he used this unintentionally hilarious poll of "20,000 Americans" in an attempt to prove that many people believed that the mercenary army thing was a good idea — complete with the massive disclaimer: "NOT A SCIENTIFIC POLL":
"NOT ... SCIENTIFIC" probably understates what piss-poor evidence this is in favor of O'Reilly's bizarre plan, since the poll was actually of his website's fanbase. O'Reilly may imagine these people to be average Americans, but they're not. They're reactionary conservatives who broadly agree with him on everything. Basically, the poll might as well have been this:
In addition to calling Colbert dumb while citing a Web poll of his own supporters as evidence, O'Reilly repeatedly suggested that Colbert was an effete liberal who didn't understand big manly military matters:
"Mr. Colbert and others of his ilk have no bleeping clue how to fight the jihad. They don't know anything. And when somebody gets beheaded, their reaction is 'oh, that's bad'. But by being completely vacant, it doesn't stop these people from mocking ideas that might have some value, might solve some complex problems.
O'Reilly accompanied his little rant with occasional injections of ineffectual hand-waving and a falsetto nerd voice, solidifying his status as the biggest chest-thumper in the room. Here's a couple things wrong with this projection:
1. O'Reilly is pretty certain he knows how to "fight the jihad," but there's pretty much no one in the actual counterterrorism community who would entertain the possibility of using mercenaries to fight terrorism. As Colbert pointed out, even fellow Fox News regulars admitted O'Reilly is way off point with this.
2. Colbert's entire satirical shtick is being a right-wing extremist based almost entirely on O'Reilly's actual persona — you know, the kind of guy who doesn't understand serious issues but still "feels" strongly about them. By responding to Colbert's faux self-righteous stupidity with a self-righteous, stupid speech accusing Colbert of actual self-righteous stupidity, it's almost approaching the point where I'm embarrassed for O'Reilly's ignorance. But not quite.
3. O'Reilly isn't even pretending to listen to his own advice. He's telling people to ignore the haters in the same segment he devoted to making a big deal of Colbert's rebuttal.
Anyhow, while O'Reilly is busy plotting how his supercool and totally imaginary mercenary army will rid the world of Islamic State and devoting valuable airtime to arguing with a comedian, the rest of the world is busy desperately trying to figure out how to actually deal with IS.
Yet again, Fox News' most powerful on-air persona managed to make an important discussion all about him and his "feelings." The actual O'Reilly factor that distinguishes him from other commentators is increasingly his own bloated ego.