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Columns December 22, 2011  RSS feed

Ideology TV

THE O’REILLY FACTOR
by Bill O’Reilly

Talk about an excruciating experience. The media research company Experian Simmons spent an entire year surveying diehard Republicans and Democrats regarding what they watch on TV, and the results are now in. The top non-auction Republican shows are: This Old House on PBS, The 700 Club on CBN, Swamp Loggers on the Discovery Channel, Top Shot on the History Channel and The Bachelor on ABC.

Democrats favored these: Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, Masterpiece on PBS, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation on NBC, and The View on ABC.

So let’s break it down. Apparently, conservatives enjoy fixing stuff and building things. This Old House is basically a repair program without Tim Allen. Swamp Loggers takes the viewer into the woods of North Carolina where trees are cut down and hauled away on camera. Please stop reading if the excitement is getting to be too much.

The 700 Club features spiritual guidance, Top Shot is about shooting guns and stuff, and The Bachelor is looking for love in all the wrong places (network TV). If we were to bring in an FBI profiler, the person who watches all these shows would likely pray before going on a date with an armed lumberjack.

On the liberal side, the analysis is easier. Jon Stewart and Stevie Colbert are experts in bear-baiting conservatives and have developed faux news programs to mock people like Mitt Romney. Stoned college kids are a big part of their audience.

Masterpiece is very highbrow, as the people in Cambridge, Mass., apparently can’t get enough of the angst among the British aristocracy. 30 Rock stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, and just thinking about them makes liberals warm all over. Same with The View. When Whoopi and Joy let loose, there is true joy in San Francisco.

It is obvious that liberal Americans enjoy personalities that see the world the way they do. Conservatives, on the other hand, want action. Shooting, tree cutting, praying: all action verbs. In fact, the only two personalities on the extended Republican show list are Larry the Cable Guy and Jay Leno, who is most likely mortified. The No. 12 show for right-wingers is Swamp People on the History Channel. Here we go again with the damp woods.

What is it about backwaters that Republicans like? I simply don’t know. Swamp People are citizens who ride around in airboats fishing and dodging water moccasins. Talk about must-see TV.

On the extended liberal list we find Cougar Town on ABC. This is a Courteney Cox vehicle whereby aging ladies socialize with younger guys. If those men would only live in the swamps, perhaps we could finally have détente between the right and the left in this country.

In the end, the television choices that both liberals and conservatives are making really tell us just one relevant thing: They all have too much time on their hands.

Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show The O’Reilly Factor and author of the book “Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama.”