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O'Reilly spins O'Reilly

Reported by Chrish - January 17, 2007 -

Apparently Bill O'Reilly is catching a lot of heat for his "blame the victim" segment yesterday, where he stated his belief that kidnap victims Shawn Hornbeck and Patty Hearst both chose to stay with their captors because they enjoyed the lifestyle. Today 1/17/07 he is backing away from his statements in his Talking Points Memo, claiming that all he was trying to say was that children today need to be prepared for evil and how to deal with it. I don't thiiiiink so!

Last night O'Reilly said

"you know the Stockholm syndrome thing, I don't buy it, I've never bought it. I didn't think it happened in the Patty Hearst case, I don't think it happened here."
Later he said of the recent victim
"...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, ... 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".

He backed off today, saying

"Now last night, I said 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck might have accepted his kidnapping by that creep Michael Devlin rather than trying to escape. I also said I don't believe much in the "Stockholm Syndrome — that is the captive becoming attached to the kidnapper. — It happens, but it's rare."

When an emailer said he should apologize to the family and to his viewers, O'Reilly acknowledged he might have to, but he might not. He also acknowledged that it is a complicated and disturbing story, but reiterated that as a former high school teacher (1971-73) he considers himself qualified to comment on matters of psychology. (From NYC, no less.)
Or, as he put it,

"After teaching teenagers in high school, it is hard for me to believe that a normal kid would stay in a horrible environment when escape was easy, especially if the child had confidence in his parents.

So the apology to the parents is not forthcoming tonight, at least.

Allowing that a conclusion has not been reached (the alleged kidnapper was formally charged today - we can safely assume that months will pass before this case sees court.) O'Reilly said

"So the jury's still out in this case, so to speak. And my job is to examine the evidence."

It's a little late for that, as he passed judgment so harshly last night.

But his motives were pure; he did it for the children.

"... we're living in a dangerous time and children must be taught about evil and must be prepared to face it because they'll likely have to." (Actually the odds of a child being kidnapped by a stranger are miniscule. - ch)

"I actually hope I'm wrong about Shawn Hornbeck. I hope he did not make a conscious decision to accept his captivity because Devlin made things easy for him. No school, play all day long.

But to just chalk this up to brainwashing and walk away is turn away from the true danger of child molesters and abductors. All American children must be taught survival skills, must be prepared to face crisis situations. That is the lesson of the Shawn Hornbeck story."

Sigh. Certainly people will teach their children "stranger danger" and to not take unnecessary risks but I don't think terrorizing your kids and preparing them for the inevitable crisis is exactly healthy. But this is just more fear-mongering and damage control for his insensitive and possibly slanderous comments of yesterday.