‘Right to Privacy < O’Reilly’s Need to Know’

Jon Stewart has a Daily Show bit (2/9/09) replaying Bill O’Reilly’s staunch declarations that “we hate those paparazzi, we think they’re the scum of the earth” because “the right to privacy is a basic constitutional tenet.” That sounds like quite a principled stand; the only trouble comes when Stewart then shows O’Reilly Factor clips of its own camera crews ambushing journalists out with their families, in front of their own homes and even commuting on a city bus to quiz them about why they said or wrote certain things.

Stewart then embarks on “a great experiment,” showing O’Reilly listing “the people that [he] believes deserve protection”–“Cruise and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie”–and wondering what happens if “they were to offend O’Reilly in some way.” The rich payoff is video of a Factor reporter who, in Stewart’s words “must really want that story to sit around with all the ‘scum'” paparazzi waiting to ask Jolie why she would allegedly “ban Fox News from your premiere last night?” Stewart names the real “governing principle” here as “ignore the privacy rights of anyone who disagrees with Bill O’Reilly.”