On Sunday evening after football the eagerly awaited first installment of the six-part “X-Files” reboot aired on Fox. Unfortunately, the writers let their liberalism interfere with common sense story telling, as the first half of the show featured slams on Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and an attack on America’s right to keep and bear arms.
The mini-series begins with the ostensibly conservative host of an internet-based TV show seeking out our intrepid FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). The character’s name is a not-so-subtle allusion to Bill O’Reilly and the connection is made all the more tangible when O’Reilly is even cited as another crazy conservative conspiracy theorist.
The web TV host character is unsubtly named “Tad O’Malley” (Joel McHale), and the first words we hear from him are when Mulder brings his show up on a laptop computer.
Mulder opens his lap top to reveal an appearance of Barack Obama on the Jimmy Kimmel show playing across the screen. The FBI agent switches his screen to the “Tad O’Malley” show, and we hear the host saying, “…it comes down to this: It’s the mainstream liberal media lying to you about life, liberty, and your god given right to bear arms.”
Immediately Mulder asks, “Why would I watch this jackass, Scully?”
Presumably we have just learned that Fox Mulder is against life, liberty, and the Second Amendment. But this would make no sense at all considering the fact that agent Mulder spent thirty years being accosted, shot at, attacked, oppressed, and suppressed by any manner of government operatives and agencies, including his own FBI.
In fact, the show reveals Mulder’s frustration with government when he acts belligerently towards the only man in government who ever supported him, FBI director Walter Skinner. Mulder’s cynicism is palpable in episode one of the new mini-series.
Yet, we are led to believe that a man whose whole adult life has been marred by oppression from government is against the people’s right to bear arms? We are presented with a man who has felt powerless in the face of overweening government but who opposes the rights of the people to oppose that same government?
It is a right indispensable to the American way of life and certainly one way to correct the sort of government overreach that Mulder despises. Or as founding father Joseph Story put it, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
Viewers ares also given a second helping of Tad O’Malley asserting that Americans’ right to bear arms must not be infringed. So, the first inclusion of the Second Amendment is not incidental to the character.
The O’Malley characterization also makes no sense because “X-Files” writers equate this web-based conspiracy monger to Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly.
During a meeting between Mulder and the Internet talk show host, Mulder essentially opines that O’Malley purveys conspiracy theories because they “sell” and have made O’Malley rich.
“I think you’re the ‘O’Reilly Factor’ with a shopworn little gimmick,” Mulder says.
The O’Malley character, though, makes little sense in a myriad of ways. Firstly the character is portrayed as having been made rich by his little web TV show. He has private helicopters, bullet-proofed limousines, and expensive suits. Clearly the producers of the show attempted to portray this character as a wealthy, “conservative” Fox News host full of crazy conspiracy theories. But there isn’t a soul in the world who has made that sort of money based solely on an Internet TV show.
Clearly the closest real-life person the show’s O’Malley character could emulate is web-based conspiracy monger Alex Jones, a man who has considerably fewer resources and audience than a Bill O’Reilly. Of course, if the “X-Files” writers made the more logical and realistic comparison for their show they couldn’t launch a shot at Fox News and Bill O’Reilly.
For many, the first episode had other problems, such as a plot that doesn’t hold together well. One reviewer even said the premier episode was an “underwhelming hour that will force even diehard fans… to consider whether pushing onward is really worth the time.”
But the show went straight and quickly for the spectacular with man-made flying saucers and government agents launching military-styled raids to kill scientists, not to mention using those UFOs as man-killing drones.
And yet, we are given a Fox Mulder who stands against the people’s right to defend themselves against this sort of militarism.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org