Jon Stewart's interview last night of Bill O'Reilly was fascinating for a number of reasons, but Digby picked up on something.
Stewart kicked off the segment by showing a bunch of quotes about how nervous and scared Billo is with the prospect of an Obama Presidency, and then he pulled out the cocoa and marshmallows and a snuggly teddy bear and tried to make him feel more comfortable. Late in the interview, a propos of nothing, O'Reilly starts talking about the bear.
Now, the clip. The moment is at the end, at the 5:30 mark.
Okay. The exchange was this: O'Reilly made a passing reference to the teddy bear, calling it a "panda". Digby:
O'REILLY: As long as I can have the panda, I'm fine.
STEWART: That's not a panda!
O'REILLY: Sure it is! This is a panda! What do you think it is?
STEWART: You've gotta get out of your "luxury Long Island life" and get around and start seeing animals.
It's really not that he got the name of the animal wrong. It's that he was so sure of it, and immediately when told he was wrong, he clung to it. That's not only his knee-jerk reaction, but the entire conservative movement. Their version of what's right is whatever their opponents say is wrong. Facts are tangential.
I didn't think we'd ever get such a clear "2+2=5" moment, on national television no less. Maybe I shouldn't make so much out of it, but I'm instituting this feature into my writing: any time a conservative delivers obvious misinformation, they will be heretofore described as "hugging the panda." And when you're in an argument with one of them, over whether this is a center-right nation or whether tax cuts increase revenue or whether the social safety net hurts poor people, remember that these are the kind of people who not only think a teddy bear is a panda, but who insist it even when they are told they are wrong.
"Hugging the panda". I like it.