This is a guest post from Kent Thune, blog author of The Financial Philosopher.

Years ago, I replaced my frustration over the political process with amusement.   Instead of getting angry with politicians and political pundits when they make abstract, misleading comments, I just laugh.   After all, isn’t the political process and related discourse a form of entertainment?

The rise of political satirists, such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, suggests many other Americans like me would also rather laugh than continue their frustration with politics.  The lasting legacy of great comedians, such as the late George Carlin, also demonstrates that intelligence, passion, and anger wrapped in a humorous package can be more honest and effective than a fist-pounding radio talk show host.

Therefore, with my everything is entertainment in politics perspective, upon the rare occasion when I view a video clip or listen to talk radio, instead of arguing my point back to them (as if they could hear me), I laugh.

Would you like to give it a try? Watch this video clip of Bill O’Reilly from Fox News blaming high oil prices on Obama:

At which point did you laugh the most?  Was it when O’Reilly said “Obama wants oil prices to go higher” so he can sell his green energy policies or when O’Reilly said “oil companies know they can make more money in China, so they send it over there and raise the price at the pump here”?  My chuckle turned into a full roar when he turned to his impartial economist and expert, Lou Dobbs, on what really drives oil prices.  Once Dobbs added his unbiased statistics, I knew the big payoff must be about to arrive!  Unfortunately, I was disappointed by less amusing contradictory spin but I did get one more chuckle out of O’Reilly’s comment, “It’s my job to tell you the truth.” Now that’s a joke!  All he needs is a laugh track or live audience to give his lines more impact.

To satisfy my remaining hunger to get a good laugh, I decided to follow another link related to oil and energy with Colbert’s video on Santorum and Satan.  I may as well laugh at something actually intended to be funny!

Honestly, and thankfully, I watch very little news, primarily because I don’t have cable television and I subscribe to no news publications, either in print or online. I just happened to catch this video clip on a social media page and couldn’t help but watch… and laugh.  Also, is it me or does O’Reilly seem to deliver his video clip with just a bit of sarcasm, almost as if he knows most of his points would work better as comedy?

I’d love to hear your comments, either comical or serious. Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

If George Carlin were living today, which Republican candidate would he endorse, if any, and why?

Why do you think most political satirists are left-leaning and most radio talk show hosts are right-leaning?

If you wanted to do a better job connecting Obama to high oil prices than O’Reilly did, how would you do it?

And what about those political ads from the Presidential election campaign?  They’re the best comedy!


Follow Kent Thune on Twitter or at his blog, The Financial Philosopher.

Category: Humor, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

20 Responses to “Punch Lines or Politics? We May As Well Laugh…”

  1. A says:

    The biggest problem with Mr. O’Reilly and, for that matter, Fox News, is that people actually watch it.

  2. mcelus says:

    Serious reporting left this country a long time ago. People on FOX, CNN, MSNBC and all the others (ex maybe Bloomberg) couldn’t tell you the truth (or at least the entire truth) if their own lives depended on it. What’s scarier than the people who watch the network to get the “truth” is that most of the commentators on these stations seem to actually believe what they are saying is in fact true.

    The reality is even people directly involved in these markets don’t fully know why things go up or down. We’ve for far too long given too much credit to the executive branch and the White House itself for the movement of gas prices. Presidents have very little if any effect at all. And hey Bill, how about fed printing and a secular decline the value of a dollar since 1985? Nope, nope, nothing here, just move along. Supply and demand influences? No, that’s silly…it’s the President (if you’re on the right). Or no, that’s silly, it’s the crazy speculators (if you’re on the left). Pelosi has a gem of a speech she recently gave on this.

    Answers to questions:

    1) If he voted at all (he was a cynic afterall) he’d vote for whomever would piss the most people off.

    2) It’s like a natural habitat for each side.

    3) He told people to inflate their tires and no one listened!

    4$ SuperPACs4EVA. Wonder how many foregin shell companies are funneling money to current candidates? What a great country, you don’t even have to be a citizen to vote anymore.

  3. cfischer says:

    The bigger problem is that an awful lot of people believe he knows what he’s talking about, and many of them vote and own firearms.

  4. drewburn says:

    Funniest is where O’Really seems to imply that we shouldn’t allow a free market, worldwide, in oil & gas. If supply is so big in the US that we’re sending it overseas, then the way to keep prices down here is to institution export restrictions (???) …….which would……..uh………not be a……..uh…….free market. But it’s OK to let China control their currency and ship US jobs overseas because the free market is ……….uh…….. perfect……………..

  5. bergsten says:

    I’m not sure what is “funnier” — that you, Kent, took time out of your valuable remaining lifespan to write this, that Barry took time out of his to post it, or that I’m taking the time out of mine to input this comment (my “excuse” for what it’s worth is a combination of lack-of-sleep due to a wife and kid with this, and general real-work-avoidance).

    But to answer the question you actually asked, I thought the funniest part was O’Reilly’s hair. I haven’t seen him in years. Jeez. Where did his hair go?

    As regards George Carlin, to misquote Randy Newman, if he were alive today, he’d be rolling around in his grave.

  6. louiswi says:

    Of course the best laugh of all about OReilly is not his TV show but rather his claim to be a historian. Laughing at these clowns is clearly the best choice for the average bear.

  7. louis says:

    I’m sure some just sat in a Boston Tavern circa 1770′s and laughed all nite, some got their guns and said FU&^ this.

    George Carlin would say this.

  8. rd says:

    ” Isn’t it strange that evolution would give us a sense of homor? When you think about it, it’s weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We LAUGH at nonsense. We LIKE it. We think it’s funny. Don’t you think it’s odd that we appreciate absurdity? Why would we develop that way? How does it benefit us? I suppose if we couldn’t laugh at things that don’t make sense, we couldn’t react to a lot of life. I can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.”

    Calvin and Hobbes 3/3/91

  9. @ bergsten: Sometimes I’m not sure what I’m thinking until I begin writing. This particular post was a bit out of my mainstream but I had fun doing it….

    “I write to keep from going mad from the contradictions I find among mankind — and to work some of those contradictions out for myself.” ~ Michel de Montaigne

  10. NoKidding says:

    But from blamed high oil prices on just last !

  11. NoKidding says:

    Oops, I meant:

    But (liberal talking head) from (left leaning network) blamed high oil prices on (republican president) just last (short timespan)!

    (link to youtube of cat eating parakeet)

  12. lobsterfest says:


    You’re waaaay out of touch with the average idiotic American. You wear nice suits, own quality shoes, and have faith in logic and reson. I used to live in Manhattan and now that I can’t afford it…. I’ve been getting in touch with Sarah Palin’s Real America. Btw, I miss fake American laundry service and fake American subway systems.

    Fox News is on a lot at my apartment….. my roommate is obsessed with it. Bill O’Reilly’s delivery isn’t sarcastic, it’s smug. As the unquestioned King, with the ratings to prove it, he is incapable of being wrong, becuase you can’t have great ratings and be wrong. Us real Americans are too smart for that ;-)

    Your post hits on something I’ve dwelled on for a while. The GOP drives me insane. I can dedicate the entirety of my 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s to the liberal cause (without the aid of money), or I can turn to the bottle and comedy central. It’s gotta be tough raising money when you believe in progressive taxation. And I make just enough to pay for light beer and cable.

  13. skier5150 says:

    drewburn: and the way to restrict exports is to not build Keystone. I was in Montana 1/21 and regular gas was 3.00, diesel 3.78, no where to send all the excess.

  14. Jim67545 says:

    How ironic. The Republicans staged a bizillion “debates” (if you can call 1 minute responses to the deep issues of the day a debate), they loved Citizens United and formed Super PACs and then used that amunition to tear each other apart, the press viewed as a friend asked stupid inflamatory question after stupid question and made the candidates look equally stupid. Now, today’s poll shows 55% of Republicans want another choice in candidates. Only 22% are satisfied with their choices.

    If the “comedy” you enjoy referred to baseball or whether the fish are biting it would be better than that it refers to the economy, unemployment, Iran, my future as an American citizen, etc. It’s more a tragedy and cause for a tear or two.

  15. Lester Friedman says:

    OK…Bill O’Reilly…there’s too much government…but the government should stop oil companies from free-market exercise…the government can tell the oil companies what to do…but government shouldn’t tell us what to do…the President wants oil prices to rise…but the President needs the economy to improve to get elected…as noted above, the saddest part of this isn’t O’Reilly’s ignornace but that there are voting citizens that actually believe Bill knows what he is talking about and believe that it is the truth.

    “The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but still ’tis nonsense.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

  16. arbitrage789 says:

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Obama is solely responsible for the rising gasoline prices.
    But the monetary policies of the Fed and the ECB are major drivers of commodity prices.
    And Obama does indeed have significant influence, if not outright control, over the Fed.


    BR: The President has “outright control, over the Fed” ? Your daft!

  17. ReductiMat says:

    Does anyone actually think Bill believes what he’s saying? Or Rush?

    They just want their paycheck like everyone else.

  18. theexpertisin says:

    Happened to catch Bill as he ranted against the OIL COMPANIES and not Obama.

    On this issue, at least from my limited viewing of his show, he has come down harder – much harder- on Big Oil than on Obama.

    That said, somewhere within the White House, theremust be glee about gas prices ramping up. It is what President Obama said he wanted a few years ago, publicly. Unfortunately it is happening earler than 2013, which is the trigger year for so many of his “revenue enhancements” .

  19. AtlasRocked says:

    Ironically, Today the WSJ editorial makes a decent case for blaming Obama’s easy money policies for the gas price rising:

    Fed officials and Mr. Obama want to take credit for easy money if stock-market and housing prices rise, but then deny any responsibility if commodity prices rise too, causing food and energy prices to soar for consumers. They can’t have it both ways, as not-so-stupid Americans intuitively understand when they buy groceries or gas. This is the double-edged sword of an economic recovery “built to last” on easy money rather than on sound fiscal and regulatory policies.


    BR: I’m sorry, did you say Obama’s easy money policies?

  20. GuinnessFan says:

    Geez, for all the reading I’ve done on the blogosphere and seen on the financial media outlets, I haven’t seen the interpreptation for oil prices offered by Mr. O’Reilly.

    Perhaps Mr. Murdoch’s staff’s expertise in wiretapping allowed him to uncover the true motivation of the President.

    We must all be thankful that Mr. O’Reilly could bring us the “truth”. Truth, Justice, and the American Way brought to you Fox News style.