Wednesday, January 4


My wife and I watch David Letterman's opening monologue most every weekday, including his "Top 10" list and, if the guest is interesting, his first talk show interview, or at least a portion of it, before calling it a night. We usually find him entertaining, witty, and the quintessential, disarming rascal of the late night television scene. While he's not even close to being the equal of Johnny Carson, he's head-and-shoulders more entertaining than Jay Leno and rises above the bawdiness and Vegas lounge show scruples of his NBC counterpart.

Last night, however, David Letterman set a new low in rude, boorish behavior for a talk show host in his ill-mannered treatment of his first guest, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. Regardless of one's politics, Letterman's behavior was more in the mold of a Chris Matthews-style "Hardball" ambush than that of entertainer-comedian host.

Ironically, I'm in the middle of Ann Coulter's "How To Talk To A Liberal" and I commented to my wife afterwards that Letterman's unrestrained nastiness toward O'Reilly was consistent with Coulter's descriptions and examples in the early chapters of her book of how liberals behave and how they debate. Letterman had the audacity to criticize the "O'Reilly Factor" as the antithesis of "fair and balanced," while conceding unabashedly that he had never viewed the show. Now how intelligent is that?

O'Reilly, to be sure, can be overbearing toward guests on his own show, endlessly interrupting those with whom he disagrees and sometimes going into play-to-the-camera fits of histrionics and righteous indignation to advance his viewpoints. But, in fairness to O'Reilly and even to Hardball's Chris Matthews, viewers of these kinds of shows are not surprised by animated, sometimes outrageous polemics. But when Letterman goes in this direction, with an abundant lack of civility, it's startling and its disagreeable.

David Letterman went down more than a few notches in my esteem last night. It's clear that O'Reilly doesn't get a pass, but misguided, tool-of-the-Left Cindy Sheehan, as a "Late Show with David Letterman" guest, would. That sort of patent unfairness will appeal to his largely liberal New York viewers, but not to those in Red State America.

David, you were a scoundrel last night and you ought to be ashamed of yourself for such boorish behavior. You ought to be locked up in the closet with the Late Show Bear. Your manners (and your brain) were in hibernation last night.

SOURCES: NewsBusters; Right Wing News; and, Michelle Malkin

FOLLOW-UP: The inimitable "ACE" of Ace of Spades weighs in on Letterman's poor form last night and brilliantly publishes a Letterman-style "Top 10" list of his own. Enjoy!

FOLLOW-UP II: Michelle Malkin covers the subject as well, and includes a link to one of my favorites (along with Michelle, of course) -- Lorie Byrd of Polipundit.

FOLLOW-UP III: Paul at Powerline is concise in his view of Dave Letterman as "classless."

FOLLOW-UP IV (01/05/06): Laura Ingraham, referencing David Letterman's rude treatment of guest Bill O'Reilly, has charged the late-night talk show host with being just another "angry, frustrated liberal" and is categorical this morning in saying that Letterman's conduct during that segment with Bill O'Reilly sickened her. She's indicated that she'll post her thoughts on Letterman at her Web site some time today. But she went on to say this morning on her morning radio show (carried on NewsTalk 870 KRLA) that Letterman's tone with O'Reilly was "condescending and snotty" and that he put the Fox News' broadcaster/commentator in "an impossible situation." Echoing my sentiments and my reference to the Ann Coulter book, Laura says that Letterman, true to form as a unthinking liberal, refused to deal with "facts." She asks: why invite Bill O'Reilly on the show only to ridicule him?

FOLLOW-UP V (01/06/06): This information, courtesy of Free Republic, will no doubt disappoint David Letterman, who from the sounds of it has an enlarged bleeding heart for misguided Leftie Cindy Sheehan.