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O’Reilly and the loons

June 8, 2009 - Jim Anderson
Abortion doctor George Tiller is dead, gunned down — while attending church — by a lunatic.

Blame Bill O’Reilly?

In any legal sense, that would be absurd. O’Reilly didn’t pull any triggers.

“No matter what you think about abortion, it is a sad day for the country when vigilantism takes a life,” O’Reilly wrote in a column published this week in The Daily News.

His distaste for vigilantism aside, O’Reilly led the charge in labeling Tiller an evil man. Now, with Tiller dead, O’Reilly is irked that anyone could suggest he somehow advocated the doctor’s death.

“It took just minutes after the report of Tiller's murder for the far-left loons to hit the websites. Postings on the Daily Kos and The Huffington Post immediately blamed me and Fox News for inciting Tiller’s killer,” O’Reilly wrote.

“Even though I reported on the doctor honestly, the loons asserted that my analysis of him was ‘hateful.’ Chief of among the complaints was the doctor’s nickname, ‘Tiller the baby killer.’ Some pro-lifers branded him with that, and I reported it. So did hundreds of other news sources,” O’Reilly wrote.


If O’Reilly now regrets calling Tiller a baby killer, he could say so. If he has no regrets, he could say that, too.

Instead, he’s trying to excuse himself by saying he was only “reporting” the label. That’s a farce.

PolitiFact, a project of the St. Petersburg Times, searched transcripts of “The O’Reilly Factor” and found at least 42 instances of O’Reilly mentioning Tiller by name, going back to 2005. In 24 instances, O’Reilly referred to Tiller specifically as a “baby killer.”

Most of the time, according to PolitiFact, O’Reilly referred to Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” or as “Dr. George Tiller, known as Tiller the baby killer” without attributing it to anyone.

Here, for example, is what O’Reilly said on March 27, 2009, after Tiller was found not guilty of misdemeanor offenses for violating Kansas law on late-term abortions:

“Now, we have bad news to report that Tiller the baby killer out in Kansas, acquitted. Acquitted today of murdering babies. I wasn’t in the courtroom. I didn’t sit on the jury. But this, there’s got to be a special place in hell for this guy.”

A “special place in hell?” When did that phrase enter the lexicon of “honest reporting” concerning the accused?

Again, if O’Reilly has no regrets about his past statements, he could say so. If he wants to acknowledge misgivings, then do it.

But to pretend that such contempt was never uttered is simply being dishonest.


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