Bill O’Reilly on Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young
Bruce Springsteen's latest album Magic has generated a great deal of controversy over some of its anti-war themes. This does seem familiar given what Neil Young went through last year with his Living With War album.
Springsteen recently gave an interview on CBS's 60 Minutes saying "Silence is unpatriotic" and answering critics who say his new anti-war album is unpatriotic.
Now comes FOX News' The O’Reilly Factor with right-wing hate monger Bill O’Reilly on October 8, 2007. Stick with this transcript as Neil and Bruce intersect in a bizarre fashion.
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: The top story tonight: rocker Bruce Springsteen also believes the U.S. is torturing people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, MUSICIAN: We've seen things that have happened over the past six years that I did not think anybody ever thought they'd ever see in the United States. When people think of the American identity, they don't think of torture. They don't think of illegal wiretapping. They don't think of voter suppression. They don't think of no habeas corpus, no right to a lawyer, you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Yes, I don't know Mr. Springsteen, but I'd like him to back up his statements at least. So I've offered to donate $25,000 to Habitat for Humanity if Mr. Springsteen enters the no spin zone. We are not expecting a positive response from him.
But joining us now from Austin, Texas is another outspoken entertainer, Kinky Friedman, the author of the brand new book "You Can Lead a Politician to Water, but You Can't Make Him Think." Could you throw in you could lead a politician to water and an entertainer, but you can't make them think?
KINKY FRIEDMAN, MUSICIAN AND AUTHOR: Well, Bill, Bill, Bill, let me — as far as Bruce is concerned, you know, I mean, I've met the guy on one occasion and I think it was in '75 or something. And I was at that time touring with Bob Dylan. And I was flying on 11 different kinds of herbs and spices I guess.
And I refused to shake hands with him for some reason. And I got seven years of bad luck following that. So I'd like to make it up to Bruce.
I have to tell you, Bill, we should distinguish when you talk about celebrities and musicians that write their own words and music and have been, you know, veteran souls for decades that have been speaking to people. I think Bruce is a thoughtful man. And what he has to say is important. And — I mean, not that he's right on target, but he's not a diva. He's not a Justin Timberlake or a Barbra Streisand.
O'REILLY: No, but he is been consistently liberal and has been for decades, which is fine. I don't mind that.
But you know, you know, you put yourself in a position, and I want your opinion on this, of Springsteen using his music and his talent to try to persuade people that his view of the world is right.
And that can be dangerous, Mr. Friedman, as I just said, in the War on Terror. You know, Mr. Springsteen objects to almost every anti-terror measure put in place since 9/11. Almost every single one. Yet, he won't come into a forum like this and answer any questions about it. I think that's irresponsible.
But I also think that Bruce Springsteen and others like him have an effect on how 18 to 35 year-old Americans, that age group primarily...
O'REILLY: ...think about their country and actually vote. Am I wrong?
FRIEDMAN: No, you're not. I mean, but art — I think Bob Dylan said that art should not reflect a culture, it should subvert it. And Bruce, you've got to hand one thing to a guy like that. And I would put Neil Young in there and a whole host of musicians that inspire people, Bill.
And if I make this a Talmudic question, I'd ask you what living politician inspires you? I mean, present company excluded. Tell me...
O'REILLY: Look, you're right about the charisma. And you're right about the talent that these men have. And that's why I'm doing this story, Mr. Friedman.
The power that they have, and a lot of viewers don't understand this. They say why do we care what Bruce Springsteen says? Why do we care what Neil Young says?
And the reason is because these men command, in an age group that votes, a lot of influence. Much more influence than the Speaker of the House, the president of the Senate, or anybody else.
And I say if Bruce Springsteen wants to undermine anti-terror measures, he has a responsibility to come in here and other places and explain it. Not just to do "drive by' stuff.
O'Reilly demonstrates his ignorance of rock fans as voters by saying that Springsteen and Young have more influence than "anybody else". This picture of blind allegiance plays to the worst of caricatures and stereotypes.
We can definitely say that we're not taking our voting cues from rock stars but from what we feel is right in our own heart.
And, actually, Bruce we hope that you don't take O'Reilly up on his offer to appear on his program. It's beneath you and not worth your time.
More on Bruce and Neil.