Being O’Reilly Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Bill O'Reilly slurs the left.In Tuesday’s “Talking Points Memo” (O’Reilly Factor, 2/18/14), Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was talking about NSA spying when he said:

One side note: the far left doesn’t really care if we’re attacked because they believe the USA is the root cause of worldwide terrorism. So to them, we’re just getting what we deserve.

O’Reilly’s slur on the left recalled for me when MSNBC was hounded into apologizing for a tweet suggesting that the right would frown on a Super Bowl cereal commercial featuring a biracial family. MSNBC‘s offending tweet: “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family.” 

MSNBC's deleted tweet on Cheerios and the right.Along with its apology, MSNBC reportedly fired the person responsible for the tweet, but that didn’t quell the anger at the cable channel. Among the outraged was…Bill O’Reilly, who fumed (O’Reilly Factor, 1/30/14):

Now for a cable news network to officially sanction something like that is simply deplorable. And now, of course, MSNBC has apologized saying, quote, “Earlier this account tweeted an offensive line about the Cheerios ad. We deeply regret it. It does not reflect the position of MSNBC.” But as we all know it happens almost every week over at that place. They’re constantly apologizing for personal and vicious attacks. 

Says the guy who has fantasized about beheading a journalist he thought had crossed him (FAIR Blog, 11/10/10),  referred to Mexican immigrants as “wetbacks” and asked, “Will African-Americans break away from the pack thinking and reject immorality?” (Extra!, 6/03).  

Fox‘s supposedly evenhanded media critic Howard Kurtz (Media Buzz, 2/2/14) was also outraged:

In our “Press Picks,” this is so far over the line that it’s incomprehensible. MSNBC spewed pure hatred with a tweet about a Super Bowl cereal ad featuring a racially mixed family.

Generalizing that right-wingers have a problem with mixed-race families might be inaccurate, but I’m not sure how it qualifies as spewing “pure hatred.” (In polls, most liberals and conservatives both say they approve of black/white intermarriage, but those who don’t approve are much more likely to be conservative than liberal–Daily Kos, 11/12/13.)

At any rate, it tells you a lot about our media and society that no one even expects O’Reilly to apologize for his slur of the left. And yet one could have predicted MSNBC‘s  apology immediately upon seeing the offending tweet.

About Steve Rendall

Senior Media Analyst and Co-producer of CounterSpin Steve Rendall is FAIR's senior analyst. He is co-host of CounterSpin, FAIR's national radio show. His work has received awards from Project Censored, and has won the praise of noted journalists such as Les Payne, Molly Ivins and Garry Wills. He is co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error (The New Press, 1995, New York City). Rendall has appeared on dozens of national television and radio shows, including appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, CNBC, MTV and Fox Morning News. He was the subject of a profile in the New York Times (5/19/96), and has been quoted on issues of media and politics in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times. Rendall contributed stories to the International Herald Tribune from France, Spain and North Africa; worked as a freelance writer in San Francisco; and worked as an archivist collecting historical material on the Spanish Civil War and the volunteers who fought in it. Rendall studied philosophy and chemistry at San Francisco State University, the College of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley.