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Bill O'Reilly

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Bill O'Reilly is the host of the American cable television opinion program, The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News. He also hosts a radio program syndicated by Westwood One (called The Radio Factor), has authored five best-selling books (one of which is a novel), and writes a syndicated newspaper column.

According to a statement of claim filed by Fox News in an unsuccessful case against Al Franken and Penguin, The O'Reilly Factor is the most popular program on FNC. "The O'Reilly Factor" bills itself as a "No-Spin Zone" and the goal of the program is to present the audience with the straight facts while allowing the audience to reach its own conclusions about the news.

The O'Reilly Factor airs daily at 8.00 p.m. EST and repeats at 11:00 p.m. Bill O'Reilly also has a syndicated radio show, The Radio Factor, "which airs in 357 markets and a syndicated weekly newspaper column that is run in newspapers throughout the United States ... O'Reilly himself has become a national celebrity and one of America's most trusted sources of news and information."

Bill O'Reilly explained to Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth how covering the disappearance of Laci Peterson was good for his ratings. "We do Laci Peterson every 15 minutes and see the numbers go up. It's a story that resonates with women particularly," he said. [1]

On October 13, 2004, O'Reilly filed a lawsuit against Andrea Mackris, a female colleague, claiming that she was attempting to extort $60 million from him by threatening to sue for sexual harrasment. Mackris filed a harrasment charge hours later.

O'Reilly recants

On Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, O'Reilly stated "And I said on my program, if -- if -- the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again." [2]

On the same show, 11 months later, "I was wrong. I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this," O'Reilly said he was "much more skeptical about the Bush administration now". [3], [4]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

O'Reilly spoke at the ALEC 2002 Spring Task Force Summit in Las Vegas, NV on April 13, 2002.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


FoxNews' neo-McCarthyism

The O'Reilly Factor program plays a fundamental ideological and propagandistic role. Its principal purpose is to uncritically propagate the position of the U.S. government or its right-wing ideologues, and to disparage critics of that policy/ideology. The latter involves character assassination, disparaging comments, and even calls for a person to be imprisoned, fired from their job, and for the "mob" to attack the person in question.

On February 2, 2005, O'Reilly persecuted Ward Churchill, an outspoken professor at the University of Colorado/Boulder and author of numerous books. Churchill wrote and suggested that 911 was a case of "chickens coming home to roost", and a direct consequence of US policy abroad. These comments (which were a year old), were recast as being anti-American, and this paragraph conveys the flavor of the rest of the program:

He wants us to empathize with Al Qaeda. Yet he has little empathy for his fellow countrymen who died on 9/11. He sees the USA as a racist country run by human rights violators. So, of course, any attack on America is justified in his mind. [5]

The result of this program was a coordinated campaign of intimidation against university where Ward Churchill teaches, death threats, and other vile reactions. This is what Ward Churchill had to say about this:

In the last few days there has been widespread and grossly inaccurate media coverage concerning my analysis of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, coverage that has resulted in defamation of my character and threats against my life. What I actually said has been lost, indeed turned into the opposite of itself, and I hope the following facts will be reported at least to the same extent that the fabrications have been.
— Ward Churchill, Churchill Replies, Z Net, February 2, 2005.

As the experience of several of the victims of O'Reilly's campaigns indicates, the character assassination in The O'Reilly Factor is the culmination of a campaign that includes the following:

  • Vilification in the right-wing press.
  • Concerted mail/email campaigns against the institution where the victims work. The fact that such email campaigns start before the airing of the program proves that this aspect of the campaign is coordinated.
  • Waves of spam and spoofed emails against the victims have been evident.
  • Violent threats have been made.
  • Daniel Pipes's Campus-Watch has listed and posted "dossiers" on several of the victims that are eventually disparaged by O'Reilly.

Deciding fates: judge, jury and...

If the McCartyite campaign wasn't bad enough, on February 2, 2005, O'Reilly appeared together with Daniel Pipes in a program entitled: "Deciding Churchill's fate"! Exerpts:

"The Colorado Board of Regents will decide the fate of professor Ward Churchill, who compared Americans killed on 9/11 to Nazis. Apparently the man is getting threats, and a reporter from The New York Times called me to ask if I felt responsible. I won't be surprised if The Factor audience and I are blamed in some circles for the unfortunate plight of Ward Churchill. I don't revel in the destruction of any person, even one who has said the vile things Churchill has said. I even said the man shouldn't be fired from his job because America is strong enough to tolerate even him. But all that doesn't matter to the left wing media. This isn't about Churchill, this is about power--and many on the left hate the fact that Fox has it. What do Churchill and his sympathizers expect? We're in a war on terror and he supports the enemy. That being said, Churchill should not be harmed in any way--he should instead by [sic] shunned."
— O'Reilly, Deciding Churchill's fate, February 2, 2005.

The choice of Pipes for the program is curious. Here is someone who has been smearing and baiting university professors who have been critical of Israel, and he is asked to comment on the "fate" of someone he reviles!

Other victims

On September 13, 2005, broadcast of his radio show called The Radio Factor, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "many of the poor in New Orleans" chose not evacuate the city in advance of Hurricane Katrina because "[t]hey were drug-addicted" and "weren't going to get turned off from their source." O'Reilly added, "They were thugs."[1]

Other victims of O'Reilly's smear program are:

O'Reilly quotes

The following quotes are from his Fox News show unless otherwise indicated.

On poverty:

  • "It's hard to do it because you gotta look people in the eye and tell 'em they're irresponsible and lazy. And who's gonna wanna do that? Because that's what poverty is, ladies and gentlemen. In this country, you can succeed if you get educated and work hard. Period. Period." [6/16/04]

On Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11:

  • "So who turns out for the screening of this movie [Fahrenheit 9/11] last night? You ready? Now, here are the celebrities that turn out. Here are the people who would turn out to see Josef Goebbels convince you that Poland invaded the Third Reich. It's the same thing, by the way. Propaganda is propaganda. OK?" [6/14/04]

On the ACLU:

  • "Finally, the ACLU -- we talked about this yesterday and I -- and, you know, I have to pick on the ACLU because they're the most dangerous organization in the United States of America right now. There's by far. There's nobody even close to that. They're, like, second next to Al Qaeda." [6/2/04]

On Bill Moyers host of the PBS show "NOW":

  • "Bill Moyers on PBS, he's -- hides behind the label of objectivity. He's about as objective as Mao Zedong, all right. I mean he's a Far-Left bomb-thrower who actually runs a foundation that funds left-wing organizations. I mean the guy's a joke. Get out of the news business, Bill." [6/14/04]

On Eric Alterman The Nation's media columnist:

  • "...another Fidel Castro confidant." [5/3/04] (O'Reilly later apologized on 6/15/04 after Alterman threatened to sue O'Reilly for defamation)

On Mexicans and other immigrants:

  • "We'd save lives because Mexican wetbacks, whatever you want to call them, the coyotes--they're not going to do what they're doing now, all right, so people aren't going to die in the desert." [2/6/03]

On women from Muslim countries:

  • "..the most unattractive women in the world are probably in the Muslim countries." - From a Stuff magazine interview in 11/02.

On Africa:

  • "I've been to Africa three times. All right? You can't bring Western reasoning into the culture. The same way you can't bring it into fundamental Islam" [5/6/02]

On African-Americans:

  • "Will African-Americans break away from the pack thinking and reject immorality-- because that's the reason the family's breaking apart--alcohol, drugs, infidelity. You have to reject that, and it doesn't seem--and I'm broadly speaking here, but a lot of African-Americans won't reject it" [2/25/99]

Published works

O'Reilly has authored a number of books including:

Contact information

Web: http://www.billoreilly.com

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Media Matters O'Reilly: "Many, many, many" hurricane victims who failed to evacuate New Orleans are "drug-addicted ... thugs", September 15, 2005, accessed August23, 2010

External articles

Series of articles

2001

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007