Bill O’Reilly of The O’Reilly Factor and Jon Stewart of The Daily Show’s took to podiums October 6, 2012 for a 90-minute debate in Washington, D.C. The Daily Show host and the Fox News star had promised to engage in a substantive discussion about the same topics as the ones discussed by Romney and Obama in their first presidential debate: deficit, health care, and government spending. Stewart and O’Reilly’s debate however, was more enjoyable, partly because the debaters weren’t busy dodging questions. Their debate was also more enjoyable because it was goofy. Stewart who was introduced by E. D. Hill, the moderator, as “a hobbit-like 5 foot 7 inches tall,” looked strikingly short when he shook hands with O’Reilly, described as standing “a gargantuan 6 feet 4 inches”. But that disadvantage was not to last: producers installed a mechanical platform behind Stewart’s podium that he could raise and lower like an elevator. “I can see why Obama did badly in the debate,” he said after going up. “The altitude really is rough up here.”
The first hour was done in a relatively formal style, with both opponents standing at podiums responding to questions posed by the moderator, as well as replying to and rebutting one another. Both men were very much in character and seemed to have a good time. O'Reilly was his usual smug, overbearing self, providing over-simplified slogans to comfort simple-minded people, while Stewart played off of it with his usual wit and underrated knowledge and intelligence.
O’Reilly is a staunch conservative, but he is also a fairly independent mind. He did not attempt to ignore or support Romney’s “47 percent” statement, but instead modified it. In his opening statement, O’Reilly states that Romney “was off by 27 percent … about 20 percent of us are slackers, and it’s a growing industry,” echoing Romney’s infamous remark that 47 percent of Americans won’t take responsibility for their lives. To which Stewart responded: “My friend Bill O’Reilly is completely full of shit.” Stewart said that this deep divide, between exploited makers and parasitic takers, is a dangerous, reductive fantasy seen through the ideological equivalent of an empty toilet-paper roll. He called people who promote it “denizens of Bullshit Mountain” and that, O’Reilly was its mayor. O’Reilly stated that in fact there is about 20 percent of the nation who truly are lazy, feel entitled to free stuff, and couldn’t care less about the consequences to others. He also said that that number was growing, and that this represents a significant danger to our nation. His primary concern, therefore, is irresponsibility. He feels that Democrats should stop whining about Bush after the first two years of Obama’s presidency. Bill O’Reilly claimed that liberals are fostering an entitlement mindset, and that it is necessary to curtail government services to force everyone to take personal responsibility. Taking from the rich to give to the poor means taking from the responsible people to give to those who might not be responsible; and if the poor are to be helped, those that have should take responsibility to do so without being compelled by the government. If the government gets involved, it will simply foster irresponsibility while delivering goods inefficiently and for political ends, and ultimately destroy the very producers it was counting on to fund things.
Stewart’s statement did not reply either to Ms. Hill or to Mr. O’Reilly. Instead, he presented a long monologue describing “Bullshit Mountain.” Its inhabitants, he said, live in a world where normal rules of facticity and logic do not apply. On Bullshit Mountain, everything was wonderful until about four years ago, when a Kenyan-Muslim President began destroying the relationship between the government and the American people. Before Obama, Congress and the President were bipartisan and effective and the economy was solid and the U.S. was respected in the world and every