Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

For advocating privacy, unless it’s someone he doesn’t like, Bill O’Reilly is our Media Putz

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Originally published on on February 12, 2009

Bill O’Reilly


Privacy is cherished, even if we can’t always agree on where the line should be drawn. We also generally agree that those in the position of power might have less privacy than regular folks.

Then there is the Bill O’Reilly standard for privacy. For Bill O, privacy is valuable unless you disagree with him: then privacy gets thrown out the window.

O’Reilly says: “the right to privacy is a basic Constitutional tenet, and that is not ridiculous at all.” Apparently this applies to celebrities, not people O’Reilly doesn’t like.

Jon Stewart’s take this week on “The Daily Show” (see above) was a culmination of a long-standing quest on O’Reilly’s part to invade the privacy of people with whom he disagrees. In typical O’Reilly cowardice, he does not do this work himself, but leaves the tacky, invasive behavior to lesser-paid producers.

O’Reilly sent his producer to chase down and invade the privacy of Columbia Journalism Review Editor Michael Hoyt. Why? Because Hoyt wouldn’t appear on O’Reilly’s show.

O’Reilly is clearly in favor (sometimes) of a Constitutional right to privacy, but may now know of the freedom of association: the individual right to meet with other individuals. By correlation, there is a freedom not to associate with people as well, as in Hoyt does not want to associate himself with Bill O’Reilly.

This is not an isolated incident: O’Reilly and his minions have done this numerous times over the years.

The bizarre nature of O’Reilly refusing to acknowledge the privacy of Americans with whom he disagrees is one thing, but his fascination with protecting celebrities from paparazzi — in direct hypocrisy to his otherwise opinion on the subject — is mind-boggling.

Stewart ends the segment by noting that O’Reilly thinks Angelina Jolie has a right to privacy, except when there was speculation that Jolie had banned FOX News from a movie premiere. Then O’Reilly sends a producer to go after Jolie. Or as Stewart put it, “For those of you at home who are studying law, America’s right to privacy is less than O’Reilly’s need to know.”

This anti-Bill Web site suggests any American whose privacy is invaded by one of O’Reilly’s peons to mention Andrea Mackris to ensure the video will never air. Mackris accused O’Reilly of more than one type of sexual harassment.

There are ways to find out information from people, even if they disagree with you. Respectable ways, decent ways. But O’Reilly has a different method: intimidation and invasion of privacy. And a lack of respect for constructive dialogue. For his continuing antics to degrade those with whom he disagrees and for the hypocrisy behind it all, Bill O’Reilly wins the Media Putz of the week award.

Bill O’Reilly previously won the Media Putz on September 4, 2008 and July 5, 2007.


Written by democracysoup

February 12, 2009 at 6:00 am

Posted in media criticism, MSM

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