Fox News channel talk show host Bill O'Reilly says "shut up" the way other people say "um."
On his daily show, The O'Reilly Factor, he uses it as a place-holder for an idea still formulating in his brain. As a way to begin a sentence, end it, or punctuate it. Sometimes he says "shut up" with fury, eyes bulging. When he's being dismissive, he delivers it offhandedly and without real malice. Other times he says it gently, with a minxlike twinkle in his eye, signaling to all the world that he's just being frisky.
O'Reilly wants specific individuals to shut up, and he names them. He would like all gays and lesbians to zip it—even though he's invited them on his show to talk about … homosexuality. He's even heaved this impolite language at entire nations, demanding they recuse themselves from the international conversation.
In the half-decade his top-rated show has been on the air, he's called for the muzzling of practically everybody. At the rate O'Reilly is going, he'll be the only person allowed to speak in a couple of years. Which, I suppose, is his master plan. Here are excerpts from his show:
Two-for-One Bank Shot
"Already the two parties are blaming each other [about the power blackout]. And I have two words for them—shut up."
—Aug. 15, 2003
On Location at the Los Angeles Book Fair
[To Al Franken]: "Hey, shut up! You had your 35 minutes! Shut up!"
—June 1, 2003
Where O'Reilly Learned To Say "Shut Up"
"My father didn't tell me anything. My father just said: 'Shut up. Eat your food. There are people starving in Korea,' but he didn't—he didn't offer a lot of career counseling, but he never discouraged me."
—Sept. 17, 1999
"All of these spin-meisters on both sides should just shut up until all the [Florida] votes are counted."
—Nov. 9, 2000
That Means You, Sid Blumenthal
"There is no victory for any American in the impeachment trial. The president should be ashamed of himself, and his partisans should shut up."
—Feb. 4, 1999
"He has dodged this program, Alec Baldwin has, for years. Bottom line: If you're going to sling it, Alec, then stand up to some fire. If not, shut up and don't be ridiculous."
—Jan. 2, 1999