Bill O’Reilly’s Amazing Psychological Projection

A new Gallup survey shows Americans almost exactly divided between those who identify as liberal and conservative, which has sent Bill O’Reilly into a frenzy of psychological projection and finger pointing. It’s all the fault of Hollywood influencing “simpletons,” of course.

A Gallup survey showing a more even ideological split in the US was a sign of the country’s intellectual decline, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly argued on Wednesday.

“I believe only about 50 percent of the American people take the time to understand important issues,” he said. “Half the country does not; they are simpletons, unwilling and unable to discipline themselves into formulating a philosophy of life.”

As the Washington Post reported, the survey of 1,024 adults showed a tie at 31 percent between respondents identifying themselves as liberals and conservatives — the first of its kind since Gallup began tracking political ideologies in 1999.

O’Reilly blamed the shift on the entertainment industry promoting a “libertine lifestyle” and what he described as a vast majority of progressive sites online

“The stars are lined up in favor of liberal thought, and that is a powerful influence” he said.

On Wednesday night, my friend Luke Galen, a psychology professor, gave a talk to CFI Michigan about the psychological roots of political ideology. One of the things that have been found in the many studies of psychology and political identification is that a preference for the simplest explanations directly correlates with being conservative. Liberals have a much higher acceptance of ambiguity and nuance in understanding the world. For crying out loud, who offers more simpleminded understandings of virtually everything more than Bill O’Reilly? It’s pretty much all he does.

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  • John Pieret

    The ideological tides go in, the ideological tides go out … nobody can explain that!

    BillyO, you are the last person to point to others as simpletons. Have another falafel.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Only 50% of Americans are simpletons?

  • StevoR

    “I believe only about 50 percent of the American people take the time to understand important issues,” he said. “Half the country does not; they are simpletons, unwilling and unable to discipline themselves into formulating a philosophy of life.”

    “.. I call them my audience,” he concluded?

  • cptdoom

    Half the country does not; they are simpletons, unwilling and unable to discipline themselves into formulating a philosophy of life.

    Especially those “simpletons” who went to those damn liberal indoctrination centers – known as colleges and universities to the rest of us – and got taught all that reality crap.

  • D. C. Sessions

    O’Really knows his audience:

    You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.

    Some people say that The Godfather contains all true wisdom. I’m more inclined to think it’s Mel Brooks.

  • John Hinkle

    Half the country does not; they are simpletons, unwilling and unable to discipline themselves into formulating a philosophy of life.

    “Yeah!”, said Jimmy Ray Rokskul of Dumfok Falls, Tennessee. “Honey, get me the dictionary. I needs to look up some o’ dem big words he just used.”

    “Jimmy Ray, when’s the last time you saw a book in this house?”

  • busterggi

    I’m just jealous that Doctor Professor Luke Galen is your friend!

  • abb3w

    @0, Ed Brayton

    One of the things that have been found in the many studies of psychology and political identification is that a preference for the simplest explanations directly correlates with being conservative.

    This seems too simply phrased for me. (Badum-tish.)

    Which measure? Need For Simple Structure is mentioned in (doi:10.1177/0146167204264333), but I think Need Ffor Cognitive Closure has also been referenced in some studies.

  • caseloweraz

    O’Reilly blamed the shift on the entertainment industry promoting a “libertine lifestyle” and what he described as a vast majority of progressive sites online.

    Liberal, libertine — those words sound so much alike…

  • vereverum

    “Half the country does not; they are simpletons, unwilling and unable to discipline themselves into formulating a philosophy of life.”

    (emphasis mine)

    .

    So they just take a prefab one off the bookshelf and since they can’t understand the 400 year old version of their own language, the go to weekly meetings to have it explained to them.

    StevoR is right, he’s talkin’ ’bout his own audience.

  • carpenterman

    I wonder how much of O’Reilly’s own bullshit he actually believes?

  • amadan

    @ carpenterman

    It starts as belief, or at least a preference that could be the result of upbringing, the shape of your education, whatever. Who questions the football team you support when you’re a kid?

    But you’re good at it! You win those arguments! It’s like when you decked that guy from the other school in the district semi-final! So you invest in what wins, whether consciously or not. You’re getting recognition now, who cares?

    You get a bit older, you see the way things work, you see your heroes are not gods. But where does that leave you? Are you just another idol with feet of clay?

    It’s about self-validation: it’s not about the rightness or wrongness of the argument any more, it’s about whether the punk on the other end of the debate gives you the respect you’re owed or not: and the only way the punk can do that is to tell you you’re right and you always have been.

    If not, why else would you be here?

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    “Half the country does not; they are simpletons, unwilling and unable to discipline themselves into formulating a philosophy of life.” For those people there is Fox News.