Bill O’Reilly Polices the 9/11 Boundaries

Fox host Bill O’Reilly knows a thing or two about boundaries.

As he told his TV audience Monday night, some “far-left” radicals crossed the line on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a blog post about how some Republican politicians turned the attacks into a “wedge issue,” and referred to George W. Bush and Rudolph Giuliani as “fake heroes.”

O’Reilly’s reaction: Krugman is “insulting his country on the anniversary of 9/11. That is truly despicable.”

O’Reilly had a little left in tank, so he went after former Times reporter Chris Hedges for writing this:

Our brutality and triumphalism, the byproducts of nationalism and our infantile pride, revived the jihadist movement…. We descended to its barbarity. We became terrorists, too.

O’Reilly got down to his point:

The reason I am even pointing out the rantings of these far-left loons is that some of their more moderate confederates do not condemn the statements. I mean, the New York Times actually pays Krugman to spout this stuff. Yeah, we have freedom of speech, but there’s also a responsibility in the journalistic and political communities, is there not?

Sure, let’s talk about media figures using responsible rhetoric. Let’s start with Bill O’Reilly’s call for brutal attacks on a number of countries right after 9/11:

Fox News Channel‘s Bill O’Reilly, the channel’s most popular host, declared on his September 17 broadcast that if the Afghan government did not extradite Osama bin Laden to the U.S., “the U.S. should bomb the Afghan infrastructure to rubble–the airport, the power plants, their water facilities and the roads.” O’Reilly went on to say:

This is a very primitive country. And taking out their ability to exist day to day will not be hard. Remember, the people of any country are ultimately responsible for the government they have. The Germans were responsible for Hitler. The Afghans are responsible for the Taliban. We should not target civilians. But if they don’t rise up against this criminal government, they starve, period.

O’Reilly added that in Iraq, “their infrastructure must be destroyed and the population made to endure yet another round of intense pain…. Maybe then the people there will finally overthrow Saddam.” If Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi does not relinquish power and go into exile, “we bomb his oil facilities, all of them. And we mine the harbor in Tripoli. Nothing goes in, nothing goes out. We also destroy all the airports in Libya. Let them eat sand.”

Lucky for O’Reilly, there are few sanctions in corporate media–at Fox or anywhere else–for that kind of bloodthirsty rhetoric.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.