Knocked Up & Around

Last night I went to a screening of "KNOCKED UP" the new comedy from Judd Apatow, the writer/director of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" as well as television's fabled "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared."

It stars Seth Rogen (Steve Carrell's tattooed coworker in "Virgin") and "Grey's Anatomy"'s Katherine Heigl as a couple that has a one-night stand that results in an unintended pregnancy.

There's a humanity to Apatow's work that is missing from a lot of the comedy in the current "frat pack" genre, and unlike the classic "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," his work is always plausible.

Anyway, it was cute and funny. I'm interviewing Apatow for a Nightline profile; looking forward to it.

Moving on…

Researchers at Indiana University have conducted a study (CLICK HERE) that concludes:

That in Fox News Channel's Bill O’Reilly’s ‘‘Talking Points Memo’’ editorials, "O’Reilly is a heavier and less nuanced user of the seven devices developed by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in the late 1930s than the notorious radio commentator of that time, Father Charles Coughlin."

(These are, incidentally: "name calling," which the study concluded O'Reilly employs 8.88 times a minutes, "glittering generalities," "transfer," "testimonial," "plain folks," "card stacking," and "band wagon.")

"This includes ample use of fear appeals and the construction of the battle between good and evil. The most evil villains in O’Reilly’s world are illegal aliens, terrorists, and foreigners because they are apparently a physical and moral threat to the United States. Slightly less evil but unambiguously bad are groups (media, organizations, politicians) who share a political leaning to the left. On the other side, the virtuous flank emerged as an all-American crew made up of the military, criminal justice system, Bush administration, and ordinary US citizens."

The study actually concludes that Coughlin was more nuanched and less propagandasitc than O'Reilly.

What do you think about studies like this? Do they have value? Are the cards in the liberal world of academia stacked against a conservative such as O'Reilly? Or is this truly fair and balanced?

- jpt

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