O’REILLY MUST NOT WATCH HIS OWN SHOW…. John Cole noted yesterday, “I am watching CBS Sunday Morning, and they are interviewing O’Reilly, and he said ‘The meanness of our discourse upsets me.’ I almost dropped my damned coffee.”

I thought John might have been kidding. He wasn’t.

“[T]he meanness of the discourse, in general, bothers me,” O’Reilly said. “Okay, now some people say, ‘Well, you were mean to Barney Frank and you were mean to this one or that one.’ Sometimes I go overboard, okay? But that’s not my theme.”

O’Reilly thinks he has a theme? The man gets paid to tell people to “shut up.” And those are his good days. On his bad days, he has on-air meltdowns and shuts off the microphones on those who don’t play by his rules.

O’Reilly’s demagoguery is at least partially responsible for the “meanness of the discourse.” Those who make a mess don’t get to whine about afterwards with a straight face.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.