Bill O’Reilly ignites the fire of hate and kindles the flames of murder to earn the Media Putz
Originally published on MediaPutz.com on June 4, 2009
This was a special week for the lowest of the low in the media. We had a lot of great nominees for Media Putz. This was a week where these people did NOT win: Glenn Beck for his “Hispanic chick lady” rant; Rush Limbaugh for comparing Sonia Sotomayor to David Duke; and G. Gordon Liddy on the issue of racism, bizarre translations of Spanish, and of course, his fear of menstruating.
No, this week was special because one media figure stood above all the others, even above the previously stated mess. That person is Bill O’Reilly.
O’Reilly skewered Dr. George Tiller 29 times on the air since 2005, often in unbelievable reprehensible style. On Sunday, Dr. George Tiller was assassinated in cold blood inside a church where he worked as an usher.
Often in his rhetoric, O’Reilly would launch into “Tiller, the baby killer, as some call him.” Perhaps O’Reilly was correct, some may have called him that. But that speech pattern is prevalent in O’Reilly’s work, expressing his own feelings about someone but hiding behind the “some people said” phrasing. After all, some people said O’Reilly wore a toupee during his “Inside Edition” days, but saying so doesn’t mean it’s true. In his traditional brand of cowardice, O’Reilly backtracked this week without admitting that he did. Though saying that you aren’t backtracking means you probably are.
“No backpedaling here, madam [Mary Mapes]. Unlike you, I report honestly. Every single thing we said about Tiller was true, and my analysis was based on those facts.”
But it’s not true.
“Dr. George Tiller destroys fetuses for just about any reason, right up until the birth date.”
Nope, Kansas law requires that two independent doctors agree that the mother would not be at risk of irreparable harm by giving birth.
“If you want to kill a baby, you hire Tiller. You’ve got to pay him $5,000 up front, and he’ll kill the baby.”
Tiller performed the procedure on girls as young as 10 who were victims of incest. It’s doubtful that Tiller charged a 10-year-old girl $5,000 or demanded that up front before performing the procedure.
“This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union.”
No, this isn’t. Again, Kansas law — a rather conservative state — has careful procedures to make sure there are legitimate reasons for doing so. And the women who have these procedures aren’t being forced into procedures by any government official. But again, when you compare something to Mao or Hitler or Stalin, you are often, often wrong.
But O’Reilly isn’t interested in these women’s stories. He was dismissive of their reasoning, even as O’Reilly wasn’t even referring to specific instances. Disagreeing with a person’s reasons for doing something is one thing, but when you don’t even have the energy or concern to address them correctly, you undermine your own legitimacy.
When you listen to the stories of these women who wanted to be anywhere but where they were, of brains growing outside of skulls, of fetuses that were going to be born dead, you may not agree with them, but without that perspective, and the facts O’Reilly conveniently ignores, you can’t make a true judgment on this story.
In watching the tapes about O’Reilly, you can see that the truth of what Dr. George Tiller did never entered his brain, that O’Reilly never considered the stories of these women. Instead, it’s this false anger, this television emotion not geared at true anger over someone, but in a way to propel others to express his anger outside the television box.
This isn’t to say that Bill O’Reilly killed Dr. George Tiller with his rhetoric, but O’Reilly did foster an unhealthy climate and obsession against the doctor with his reckless, inaccurate diatribes.
When you deliberately lie about what Dr. Tiller was doing in Kansas, when you distort the reasoning behind tough, crucial decisions, when you rise up countless times in fake TV anger, when you send your producers to stalk this non-public figure because you are too damn afraid to do it yourself, then you have crossed the line of decency and gone way past any sense of responsibility. We are sorry that we can only offer Bill O’Reilly one week’s worth of being the Media Putz of the week.