July 18, 2003

Internet Bites O'Reilly Back



Fox News Attack Irish Terrier Bill O'Reilly riled up the Internet in mid-June when he brought his "I'm Right / You're Stupid" schtick to bear in a Talking Points segment called "Sex, lies and videotape on the Internet" (Note to Bill - Headlines that reference movies are amusing only for the first five years of constant use. Beyond that you risk have a close encounter of the cliched kind).

In this typical O'Reilly blatherfest, Bill accused the Internet in general of being a cesspit of lies, child porn, lies, child rape, lies, slander, lies, libel, child molestation, and, or course, lies. All perfectly true and yet most certainly false.

The Internet is not called the "Net of a Billion Lies" for nothing. It is, without a doubt, the largest repository of lies, bias, slants, half-truths, and hoaxes ever created by the cojoined minds of all personkind. And it is only getting started.

The Net, of course, does not like to be bitten in this manner and was quick to bite O'Reilly back. Torrents of bloggers quickly 'fact-checked his ass' and blasted Bill back into the videosphere where his "And that's the fact, Jack" schtick seemed safe.

If only he had stayed there. But then, with an hour of TV to fill, and our current wars on summer recess, hourly news shows can easily strike a dry patch where the dreaded 'dead air' threatens. For these quiet months, the Internet is a TV producer's wet dream; the fountain of foolish shows everywhere.

Yes, in slightly more than a month it seems that O'Reilly utterly forgot about the Net of a Billion Lies when he showcased last week's lovely "Hunting for Bambi" hoax on his show.

The video of Bill buying into this bit of bull is still available on his site and is captioned with:

Hunting 'Bambi' Some businessmen in Las Vegas are hiring women who are then stalked by men armed with paint! Is there anything illegal about this? O'Reilly talks with Michael Burdick the creator of this game, and one of the women who works for him, who goes by the name of "Julia"
As I recall this segment (which O'Reilly stuck at the back of his hour and breathlessly promoted with the 'There Outta Be A Law" technique), "Julia" declined to share her personal details with Bill when he asked the equivalent of "Why is a cheap, hapless hooker like you doing letting herself by shot by men with paintball guns?"

And well she should have. The venerable Snopeshas today put The Bambi Hunt into the probable hoax column:

Contributing to the public's belief in this venture (a concept which has already been perpetrated at least once before, at Hunt Naked Women), is the typical non-probing coverage of it by television news outlets such as a local Las Vegas television station, KLAS-TV, and FOXNews, both of whom ran features on Hunting for Bambi (complete with footage of "hunters" in action) and proclaimed it to be real....

...In common with most web-based business hoaxes, the Hunting for Bambi site displays a curious lack of contact information. Its putative parent company, Real Men Outdoor Productions, is indeed a registered Nevada corporation, but that in itself doesn't mean much, as anyone can register a business for a small fee. (The address listed for Real Men Outdoor Productions corresponds to the address of another registered Las Vegas company, Clean Your Carpets Inc., whose corporate status has since been revoked.) Perhaps more significant is that no business address or phone number is to be found on the Hunting for Bambi site, and several readers who expressed interest in booking a "hunt" have told us their e-mail inquiries to the Hunting for Bambi folks went unanswered. Those are rather odd business practices for a legitimate company looking to book customers at $10,000 a pop. We're still investigating, but we'd be quite surprised if this scheme was hatched as anything but an attempt to sell videos.

We still don't see any convincing evidence that Hunting for Bambi has actually conducted any genuine hunts for paying customers.

Will the Factor return to this thrilling story and will Bill consume a large baked crow on camera? Will Snopes find reason to recant as naked women stagger out of the Nevada desert with large stains and larger bruises counting bundles of cash? Will the Net of a Billion Lies continue to spew out fantasies only a frantic TV news producer will believe? Stay tuned.

Posted by Vanderleun at July 18, 2003 9:26 AM
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