By MARC MCDONALD
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has long maintained that he came from humble, working-class roots.
In his interview Wednesday with Hillary Clinton, O'Reilly once again displayed his "I'm just a regular working stiff" persona and reminded viewers that he grew up in Levittown, a working-class suburb of New York City.
Indeed, O'Reilly's bio on the Fox News Web site continues to claim that O'Reilly came from "from humble beginnings" and that he "lived in a modest house with his father, mother and sister in the Westbury section of Levittown."
"You don't come from any lower than I came from on an economic scale," O'Reilly once claimed.
Indeed, in his interview with Clinton, O'Reilly regularly trotted out the phrase "the folks," as though he knows what's on the minds of ordinary working-class Americans. It's a gimmick often used by Rush Limbaugh and George W. Bush, as well. Which is ironic, because all three men are immensely wealthy. For example, O'Reilly makes an eye-popping $9 million a year.
O'Reilly has previously pointed out that his father, who retired in 1978, never made more than $35,000 a year. It's a misleading and dishonest claim though that this made the O'Reilly family's circumstances "humble." As the media watch group FAIR has pointed out, O'Reilly's father's income is actually equivalent to over $90,000 today in inflation-adjusted dollars.
And as Media Matters has noted, the median income for a U.S. household today is $48,451. Which means O'Reilly's father earned almost double the nation's household median income. Hardly "working-class."
Of course, O'Reilly is hardly alone among millionaire media celebrities in being clueless about the lives of real ordinary working Americans these days. After all, during a Jan. 5 Democratic debate ABC's Charlie Gibson claimed that families making $200,000 a year are "middle-class."