O’Reilly Airs the Results of His Stalking Expedition

Last night (3/23/08) Bill O’Reilly aired the results of his stalking expedition against Think Progress blogger Amanda Terkel, who had dared to question (3/1/09) the appropriateness of O’Reilly speaking at a fundraiser for a foundation for rape survivors in light of his suggestion (Radio Factor, 8/2/06) that a “moronic” rape/murder victim had invited assault by her drinking and the way she was dressed.

In the segment, O’Reilly presents the controversy sparked by his speaking a dinner for the Alexa Foundation as a conspiracy masterminded by “elements at NBC News” led by NBC president Jeff Zucker, whom O’Reilly refers to with more than a whiff of paranoia as “the man behind the curtain.” But the person O’Reilly went after directly was Terkel, who the segment referred to as a “a villain” and “just dishonest” and accused of producing “perhaps the worst garbage” about O’Reilly’s suitability as an anti-rape advocate.

O’Reilly’s chief stalker, Jesse Watters, apparently followed a vacationing Terkel for two hours before badgering her to explain “the Mel Gibson component to Bill’s analysis”–the context that O’Reilly’s remarks about “moronic” murder victim Jennifer Moore had supposedly been yanked from. The blogger did not immediately recall this aspect of the three-year-old broadcast, but when she subsequently looked it up, she discovered the connection that O’Reilly drew between the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade and the murder victim’s death (Think Progress, 3/24/09):

I think it’s safe to say that if Mel Gibson didn’t get drunk, he wouldn’t be in this terrible situation he finds himself in. And if a young woman, 18-year-old Jennifer Moore of Harrington Park, N.J., didnâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t get drunk, sheâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢d be alive today.

Hateful as O’Reilly’s blame-the-victim rhetoric about Moore was, O’Reilly has stooped even lower, suggesting that an 11-year-old boy who was kidnapped and molested over a four-year period didn’t escape his abductor because he enjoyed his captivity (O’Reilly Factor, 1/15/07):

And the question is, why didn’t [Shawn Hornbeck] escape when he could have?… The Stockholm syndrome thing, I don’t buy it…. The situation here for this kid looks to me to be a lot more fun than what he had under his old parents. He didn’t have to go to school. He could run around and do whatever he wanted…I think when it all comes down, what’s going to happen is, there was an element here that this kid liked about his circumstances.

Women invite assault by the way they dress; kids like to be raped. To quote Bill O’Reilly out of context: “It doesn’t get much more evil than that.”

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.