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Look, on the tube! It's a judge! It's a jury! It's...Bill O'Reilly!!

Reported by Chrish - January 16, 2007 -

Not content with his various titles at FNC, (analyst, commentator, "opinion journalist", talk-show host, culture warrior), Bill O'Reilly is expanding his career into psycho-analysis and supreme judge, as evidenced by two different segments on last night's Factor. (1/15/07)

In his Talking Points memo O'Reilly went after yet another judge who put a child molester on probation including treatment (in accordance with the prosecutor's request). Factor producer Jesse Watters was sicced on the sentencing judge (as the man dropped off his recyclables), who refused to speak to him. O'Reilly writes

"As we told you on Friday, Vermont authorities say putting the little boy on the stand would have harmed him and might have led to an acquittal. But with testimony from the mother, the aunt, the brother, the police and the social services person, it is hard to believe James would have beaten the rap."

Of course, O'Reilly knows only the scantest details of the case but feels qualified to second guess the prosecutor and the sitting judge - who by the way completed law school, passed the bar, and worked his way up to judge.

Watters was also dispatched to harrass Bennington Banner editor James Therrien, badgering him about the paper's editorial position on the sentence. Thierren declined comment except to say "How can you guys live with yourselves? It's so pathetic, it really is."

O'Reilly of course brought up the Cashman case from last year (where another Vermont judge suspended most of the sentence of a retarded man so he could receive treatment) and said he is again mulling the idea of calling for a boycott of the State of Vermont. Acknowledging that a boycott would hurt the state's tourism industry he is for now just urging his followers to contact the governor, the Attorney General, and the state's two US Senators. When his later guest (correctly) suggested that the state legislators were the ones to be contacted, O'Reilly overrode her and insisted it's Leahy(D) and Sanders(I) who should be flooded. How patriotic, calling on his minions to disrupt the work of the US Senate to deal with a state court matter.

In conclusion he bemoans that "Vermont has become a secular progressive enclave — a state that believes in restorative justice, that is healing for the criminal as well as the victim." That is definitely not Daddy-O's way of dealing. But WWJD? And another question: if there is a boycott of Vermont, what will BOR put on his Freedom toast? (h/t Suzi)

In a later segment with FOX News' Greta Van Susteren, O'Reilly asked a question we're all wondering about: why didn't the Missouri kidnap victim who was held for four years escape? O'Reilly was ruthless on this poor kid and Van Susteren was the voice of reason.

O'Reilly does not buy the so-called "Stockholm Syndrome", either in this case or the Patty Hearst case. In fact, he says dismissively that he's never bought it. Van Susteren interrupted to add Elizabeth Smart to the list of kidnap victims who did not take advantage of opportunities to escape and noted that young abductees are often very receptive to the adult holding them, so she would not be so quick to dismiss the Stockholm possibility.

O'Reilly proceeded to say that Hornbeck "taunted" his own parents on the website they set up about him, he has piercings, (ooh, scary), this is a troubled kid! Van Susteren corrected him by saying the messages to the website came from a computer he had access to but his kidnapper also had access, and a lot of kids have piercings. O'Reilly responded to the correction by saying "that's a good point". What? That's the facts of the case you're supposedly discussing, not a "point." He's so used to his talking points and faux debates that he doesn't even recognize straight facts anymore.

When Van Susteren reiterated that "he's a kid", O'Reilly said he's not buying it. If a kid of 11-12-13 has a good strong bond with his family, and he's out riding his bike, he should get away. Van Susteren agreed that it seems bizarre, but she keeps coming back to the Patty Hearst story, which O'Reilly also doesn't buy for a second. Why, asks Van Susteren, did Hearst co-operate with her captors, and why did Smart, a nice kid, nice family, why was she unwilling to run? O'Reilly conveniently (and consistently) ignores the Smart story, which doesn't fit his conclusion, to say this about Hearst:

"The situation that Hearst found herself in was exciting. She had a boring life, she was a child of privilege, all of a sudden she's in with a bunch of charismatic thugs, and she enjoyed 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, ...

VS, interrupting, said "Some kids like school!" O'Reilly responded "Well, I don't believe this kid did. And I think, when it all comes down, what's gonna happen is, there was an element here that this kid liked about his circumstances". (Greta tried to interrupt but O'Reilly didn't let her - he was on a mission to make a "point.") "Now, it gets even more harrowing when the police announced today that they found child porn on Devlin's computer."

Van Susteren got a word in, saying Devlin (the accused kidnapper) is a wierdo and has a problem and he faces serious criminal charges. She got back to Hearst and the "excitement" allegation, saying that (one) would probably rather than be in a family with lots of opportunities rather than playing cops and robbers with a kidnapper..."

O'Reilly overtalked loudly, saying "But you're thinking logically, you're thinking logically, neurotic people are susceptible to this kind of stuff!" (more blaming the victim) to which Van Susteren replied "well, so are you, you're applying that same sort of thinking to this 11-15 year-old. You're thinking logically, you think to yourself 'why didn't he leave,' that's what most people think, frankly I had that thought as well." But, she warns, we have to wait for all the facts and remember, this is a kid. She says that O'Reilly may turn out to be right and he says off-camera "I usually am." She laughs and says "especially when you're the jury!" If he's wrong, he says, they'll play this tape and she'll get her points. (We'll be watching for that.) She says that at this point she just doesn't know, and she'll wait for the fact.

What a concept!!!

Now, what would prompt such unfounded, hurtful, speculation about this jubilant family's relationships? What personal neurosis drives a talk show host to pull fiction out of his ass and apply it to strangers in the news, stating his "beliefs" as if they were serious conclusions? Perhaps young BillO hated school and wished he could ride a bike and have friends. Perhaps he wished he was kidnapped - it has been reported that his father was domineering. Perhaps his comfortable middle-class upbringing lacked excitement and he wishes he was a "charismatic thug". Perhaps his comments about Hearst reveal a deep-seated contempt for women - victims "want it" and "enjoy it." O'Reilly scorns real science and dismisses real psychology yet thinks he is qualified to analyze complex cases over the weekend, just as he second-guesses real judges.

But most puzzling is why he, as an alleged champion of child-molestation victims (see above), has turned on this Hornbeck child.