Fox News show host Bill O'Reilly invited Professor Patricia Jenkins of TCU, an authority on film, TV and digital media, to be on his show last evening.
She has written several articles, published in major newspapers and for liberal web blogs, critical of what she calls the "Militaristic Super Bowl."
In her articles she has complained about the "steady diet sports fans have been fed of nearly compulsory worshipfulness of our armed forces."
She has been critical of military flyovers, air force parachutists landing on football fields with the game football and handing it to referees, and stadium and arena announcers saying things like "you should rise as one" during the National Anthem and thank our troops for "protecting our freedom."
These aren't entreaties for national unity. They are "militaristic exercises" urging support for whatever war the U.S. happens to be fighting she argues.
She particularly scoffs at the idea America's freedom has been at stake in Vietnam, Iraq, and the later stages of the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan.
"Yes, I support our troops all right. Bring them home to their families and loved ones. That's support! Don't you see that they're nothing but cannon fodder for the neo-cons, none of whom ever went to war in their lives."
"The precious blood of young men flows from their veins onto the soil of Afghanistan and they sit safely in their Country Clubs," she said in a radio interview last year.
On last night's O'Rielly program she told the newsman:
"Bill, you know CBS is once again going to cut to shots of troops watching the game overseas, vets will be recognized on the stadium's video boards. What's the meaning of all of this in 2014 when we're all sick and tired of war?"
O'Reilly didn't mince any words. "It sounds like to me, professor, that you're not patriotic, you don't support our boys in uniform."
She responded that there were also women in uniform and that if one opposed an unpopular war, such as the one in Iraq, one wasn't neither unpatriotic nor not in support of the troops.
Jenkins: People who went to games during that war, and who were opposed to it, were forced to pretend that it was ok. Sports fans who. . .
O'Reilly: They were singing about the "bombs bursting in air." They were supporting our soldiers in uniform. They wanted to do that.
Jenkins: Yes, they were applauding our troops but not the war.
O'Reilly: You don't know that...you couldn't possibly know that. I Like it when the American people stand as one against the terrorists. Do you remember 9/11 professor?
At this point, as he always does when he is losing an argument, O'Reilly said he wanted a commercial break. During the time out he looked at his notes and probably thought that he could get one up on Professor Jenkins.
" So, professor, I suppose you remember when Toni Smith of Manhattanville College turned her back on the flag during the national anthem in the 2002-2003 basketball season. I suppose you supported that," he stated.
O'Reilly continued, "And, In 2004, the Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado wouldn't stand with his teammates during 'God Bless America. ' Right? Remember when Yankees' fans booed Delgado when he came out of the dugout?
Ha! then he lined and then all of New York and shouted 'U.S.A., U.S.A.' I would have shouted louder than anybody. And you, professor, what would you have done?
But Dr. Jenkins wouldn't take the bait.
"Bill, what comes next in the Super Bowls of the future? Navy Seals sneaking through the bleachers to deliver free pizzas? Beer sold in combat-boot-shaped cups? Or maybe miniature drones dropping T-shirts onto the crowds below?"
I was in the "green room" waiting to be interviewed by O'reilly for a Fox News special on gun control, when I saw his encounter with Professor Jenkins. You won't see it. O'Reilly has understandably cancelled the program.