Via yet another tangled web of links (via Crooks&Liars, via BradBlog, via RatTube), we find this rather remarkable Fox “News” video. In late March 2008, the Reverend Michael Pfleger invited Jeremiah Wright, conservative demon of the month, to deliver a blessing at Saint Sabina in Chicago. Bill O’Reilly sent one of his ill-informed conservative waifs to ambush, harass and interrogate the Reverend, but the Reverend wasn’t going to be readily pushed around. Video link after the fold:
Two things really impressed me about this video, one from a message level and one from a technique level.
The Reverend’s argument in defense of his friend and colleague Wright is clear, cogent, extremely reasonable yet impassioned, and he really destroys the arguments of the man-child interviewing him. As a person who typically has little time and patience for proponents of organized religion, I found myself quite moved by this speech. I didn’t agree with everything the Reverend said, but he clearly has a well-thought-out view of the topics he’s discussing. I’m not sure why we don’t see more religious leaders acting like this: if there are very few of them, or they just don’t get the airtime. I’d love to see more of this, though.
Watching the video, it is clear that the Reverend is an amazingly skilled arguer. A classic technique for ‘winning’ an argument is to keep shifting the focus of the argument to a place where you’re on stronger footing. The Reverend is having none of this, though, and continually calls the interviewer on his subject-changing attempts and refuses to allow the discussion to be shifted. Again, a rather remarkable performance.
O’Reilly, naturally, edited the ten-minute interview into a five-second clip which he used to call on the Catholic Church to sanction Pfleger. If there’s any sanity and sense in the world, and in the church, O’Reilly won’t have much of an impact.