Putting their obvious personal animosity aside, the entire
brouhaha boils down to this: Kinsley doesn't challenge the facts O'Reilly
presents about his upbringing, only the label O'Reilly attaches to them. I
would suggest that O'Reilly uses a definition of "working class"
different than that of most people.
Two indications of being "working class" are,
therefore, working for wages, and the type of job (manual labor).
Bill O'Reilly's father was an accountant. An accountant is
not doing manual labor.
As for working for wages, it would seem clear that not
everyone who works for wages is working class, if the wages are high enough.
But if a person's wages are similar to those for doing manual labor, then
perhaps the appellation "working class" could be applied to such a
person, even if manual labor is not involved.
Under this analysis, an accountant who worked, for example,
at a non-profit organization might, conceivably, be paid so little that he
could be considered working class, even if his job itself isn't manual
labor. But one has to assume that an accountant for an oil company who
commutes to New York City every day from suburban Long Island, such as
O'Reilly's father, would be paid wages far above those accorded manual
If such was not the case, Bill O'Reilly can produce evidence
as to his father's working-class-level salary during those years. Otherwise,
the assumption that his father's salary was far above "working
class" must stand.
And further on this point, O'Reilly has already stated that
his father's salary was at one point $35,000 a year. Not realizing he was
hoisting himself on his own petard, O'Reilly apparently didn't think to
compute that in today's dollars, that would be about $100,000, hardly a
salary level associated with the "working class."
It seems, therefore, that the creator of the "No-Spin
Zone" has himself done some spinning about his past. Maybe it's
unconscious, and O'Reilly honestly believes that if he wasn't wealthy, if
his family wasn't "rolling in dough" when he grew up, he was from
the "working class." But that's just not the way most people think
about these things.
Most generously to Bill O'Reilly's position, he may have
been "lower middle class" as opposed to "upper middle
class," but only someone with spin doctor skills, if not conscious spin doctor intent, would insist on labeling an
oil company accountant "working class!"