Following the shocking video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight surfacing on Sunday night, there were plenty of reactions that were sensitive, nuanced, and appropriately outraged. Bill O'Reilly's response on Monday night was not. Instead, O'Reilly laughed as he played the United Airlines video on Monday night's episode of The O'Reilly Factor.
The video of the passenger being dragged off the plane quickly captured the concern and contempt of the internet. It featured "aviation police," according to the Chicago Police Department, violently dragging a man who was selected to "volunteer" to give up his seat on an overbooked flight — and the airline's initial response felt chillingly indifferent. It also certainly didn't help that this was the second viral faux pas for the airline, which also came out against people wearing leggings on their flights in late March.
While those familiar with O'Reilly's general tone and approach to his program (remember how he treated Maxine Waters?) won't be shocked that he couldn't muster up a sympathetic response, it was yet another tragically hypocritical move from the Fox News' anchor who just launched a new book extolling the virtues of his brand of "family values." (Awk-ward.)
However, just because there's a devastatingly low bar for conduct for a certain TV personality doesn't mean that it's any less terrible when he trips over it. Introducing the video, he said:
Personal story segment tonight. Another airline horror story. Sunday night, Chicago to Louisville overbooked. United Airlines offers money to folks to give up their seat. No takers. Then the cops come on board and remove a guy by force.
[Laughs] Joining us — I shouldn't be laughing, but it's just so bizarre.
What we're seeing with O'Reilly could either be (1) a major lack of foresight by refusing to acknowledge that a person being injured trying to do something as mundane as traveling for work is objectively terrible, or (2) a strategy to take a callous, contrarian stance and pander to viewers who generally want to disagree with the anti-violence stances of so-called "SJW Twitter."
Regardless of how partisan every news story tends to be, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all just agree that laughing at a person who was injured by a perfect storm of corporate mistakes, unclear travel policies, and unnecessary aggression is never OK?