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What's Behind Bill O'Reilly's Crusade Against Paul Howard? Is It a Loofah Thing?

Reported by Ellen - March 15, 2005

Bill O'Reilly's crusade against Atlanta District Attorney Paul Howard is over the top, even by Bully O'Reilly standards. Is there anyone who can believe that it's mere altruism for Atlanta - a city in which O'Reilly seems never to have resided - that is motivating him to attack Howard night after night and urge viewers to support his recall?

Tonight's Talking Points Memo, which opens every O'Reilly Factor, was the fifth O'Reilly attack on Paul Howard. (Thanks go to Marie Therese and ChrisH for their prior posts on this subject.) While perhaps the alleged incompetence of a city DA is worth a look or two from a national news program, is it worth five segments in a month? And is it appropriate for a "Fair and Balanced" news network's anchor who insists he is "independent" to urge viewers to support a recall petition? I find it odd, to say the least.

O'Reilly opened his Talking Points Memo by saying, "Recall Atlanta District Attorney Paul Howard. That is the subject of tonight's Talking Points Memo." Next to Bill's face on the screen, large yellow letters read, "RECALL PAUL HOWARD?" while Bill announced dramatically that "We have found HUNDREDS of other problematic situations (in addition to the "outrageous" conduct of Howard having struck a plea bargain with a woman who killed her baby).

O'Reilly went on to say that Howard was "partially" responsible for the murder spree in Atlanta last week because he said it was "fine" when asked if it was wise to assign a 51-year old female deputy to guard accused killer Nichols.

Question for Mr. No Spin: Was Howard asked after the killing? If so, how did his answer have anything to do with the murders? Since when is a DA responsible for the assignment of deputies guarding prisoners?

Meanwhile, Bill's bloodthirst increased as he raged over the fact that Howard said he had not decided whether to seek the death penalty against Nichols. "There's no question the criminal justice system is out of control in Atlanta," Bill cried, after almost turning apoplectic with rage over the possibility of missing out on an execution.

"Eligible voters in Fulton County, Georgia should check out the petition - and we urge you to do this - at southeasternlegal.org, southeasternlegal.org." Large letters spelling out the website address came up on the screen as he spoke. "At this point, Paul Howard and his politically correct office present a clear and present danger to the public safety in and around Atlanta."

Next segment, The "Top Story." A large photo of Howard rose next to O'Reilly with "RECALL PAUL HOWARD?" underneath. O'Reilly asked, "Are hundreds of crimes against women and children being ignored by DA Howard?" I think you can guess the answer.

Don Keenan, an attorney from Atlanta, spent the next five minutes bashing Howard without any opposing view presented. Instead, O'Reilly responded to each of Keenan's allegations with approving outrage. O'Reilly concluded with this "fair and balanced" summation. "I think it's a giant nightmare and I think Howard has to be recalled."

Comment: While O'Reilly rampages against Howard's incompetence, there is no such outrage against Condoleezza Rice who claimed that 52 warnings about plane hijackings from the FAA along with the Presidential Daily Briefing saying that bin Laden planned to attack the US were not specific enough to prompt any action on her part. Nor has there been any outrage over the missing munitions from Al Qaqaa or the looted weapons plants in Baghdad. Is that not incompetence on a grander scale?

So what is behind O'Reilly's interest? Has he found a loofah soul mate in Shannon Goessling, Executive Director of the Southeastern Legal Foundation and likely GOP candidate to run against Howard? Or is there some other reason for all that attention? Readers are invited to opine and offer up their own theories.

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