Don Roberts’ column, “O’Reilly latest casualty of culture war,” is so willfully obtuse that it borders on offensive — not because Roberts is willing to choose a side (which can be admirable) but because he opts to ignore any facts that don’t fit his conspiracy theory as he assembles his straw man.

Roberts’ argument rests on his assessment that there’s no merit to the O’Reilly charges. He must reserve some vitriol for Fox News, which therefore paid $13 million for no reason. He similarly asserts that the reason Roger Ailes no longer works at Fox is that employees were “urge[d]” to charge harassment — charges that Roberts implies are baseless.

In 2008, I was a resident of New York state when our liberal governor Eliot Spitzer was caught hiring prostitutes. Albany Democrats were dismayed that their white knight was fatally flawed, but they didn’t waste any breath denying it. For Roberts to burn 700-plus words complaining that his side is the victim (devoting a third of his space to O’Reilly quotations) is a disservice to critical thinking and to your editorial page.

Ailes and O’Reilly are ambitious, intelligent, influential men who earned positions of power through years of careful planning and hard work. Had they kept their pants where they belonged, they’d both work at Fox News.

Ian Murphy

Waterville