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O'Reilly lies and lies some more about his reprehensible comments about kidnap victim Hornbeck - part II

Reported by Chrish - January 19, 2007 -

After his Talking Points memo last night 1/18/07, O'Reilly had guests Jane Hall and Bernie Goldberg on to discuss the Hornbeck kidnapping and the media coverage it's received. O'Reilly's been feeling the heat, from both sides, for his Monday remarks that insinuated that the boy enjoyed his captive lifestyle and that there were problems in his home that made kidnapping by a sexual predator a better option. He's been trying to re-write history ever since but there's no way - the video says all.

O'Reilly first stated that he personally wouldn't put his own child on television if it was his family (more disapproval of the parents) but if he had been offered the interview that went to Oprah, he would have taken it. So, even though he feels it's bad for the child on principle, he would do it for the ratings - what a good company man.

Goldberg first agreed with O'Reilly, that he would never go on Oprah if (god forbid) something like that happened to his family, and it's a cultural thing he doesn't understand or like or feel comfortable with. That said, he commenced perpetuating the cultural trend of discussing other people's lives and business (we used to call it gossip, now it's "talk"), hypocrisy be damned.

Goldberg then addressed the media coverage as it pertains to O'Reilly, and stated that conjecture is OK to say something doesn't "feel right" about a story, but after that conjecture doesn't advance the story. While he's not siding with The View and the people on the nasty left-wing websites :-) he doesn't think conjecture sheds any light.

O'Reilly said "I agree." What?? "But there are facts in the case, and the facts in the case are, it's my duty to point them out, and Jane, here's the problem: ..." when the case first made the news we heard Stockholm syndrome everywhere. The FBI says SS very rarely happens. (So why couldn't this be one of those rare cases? Rare isn't never. And since when does O'Reilly believe the FBI?) And the facts of the case say Hornbeck had plenty of time and space to escape, "which I pointed out." (Ego alert! That's what people where talking about when they arrived at the conclusion of SS.) "As soon as I pointed it out, I was accused of demonizing the kid. I didn't see it that way. I was reporting the story."

No. He was demonized for saying

"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, ...

Van Susteren interrupted and 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. Now, it gets even more harrowing when the police announced today that they found child porn on Devlin's computer."


He asked Hall how she saw it. She prefaced her remarks with soothing words about how normally he is a big supporter of putting away predators, but that at least initially (until the emails of outrage started coming in) he seemed to say that the kid could have run but didn't, and ... here O'Reilly began to interrupt and overtalk, asking "is that not a legitimate question to ask?" Hall said she thinks he's in a bind - it's a question a lot of people had but he, as a very prominent person, seemed to be blaming him when he was probably undermined in some kind of mental prison, ... O'Reilly loudly interrupting now, "Can you point to one sentence that I said" and hall responded "wait, let me finish!"

O'Reilly, raising his voice some more and looking peeved, overtalked and didn't let her finish, demanding "Can you point to one sentence that I said that placed blame on him?" Ooh, ooh! Me, me! I've got two!

"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 asserted he consistently said Hornbeck was the victim. Hall said that he asked why didn't he escape when he could and she thinks he also said he might have enjoyed... and O'Reilly overtalked and interrupted again: (swallow your beverages, you're going to spit.)

"That's not blaming him, Jane. That's doing my job. My job is to be a journalist."

See the partial list, below, of journalistic standards o'Reilly broke with his comments.

Hall kept up and finished her sentence, asking O'Reilly if he did not say that maybe Hornbeck enjoyed the life and liked not going to school? That's on a webste, maybe it's not the whole story, but..."

Of course O'Reilly said "Of course it's not the (garbled), it's ridiculous. (No, it's a transcript.) I raised the question that there was an element of captivity that the boy just talked about there, Bernie, where he didn't have to go to school, he didn't have to do anything but sleep and play video games. And again, that was my reporting, and that's true. I haven't said one thing that isn't true."

But he added his speculation that it may have been fun and enjoyable for the boy and insinuated that he suspects there was something wrong with his home life before he was kidnapped. THAT is not true and O'Reilly is no more a journalist than I am.

Hall stepped back in and said that what we know of predators, they undermine their victims and Shawn said on Oprah that he was afraid. The predators undermine self-esteem and make the kids feel bad about what they force them to do. She thinks that's why people are reacting to his remarks "that way." O'Reilly repeated "that's true" several times as she spoke about predator behavior.

Goldberg chimed in and said he wasn't trying to second guess O'Reilly, but what he might have done is have an FBI expert on who said how rare Stockholm syndrome is (O'Reilly said "we quoted one"), or you could simply raise ten very legitimate questions, but conjecturing about the answers to those questions is in fact just conjecture. (NOT journalism, gossip. Smears. Theater.)

O'Reilly said "If I did that, I shouldn't have done it, (note: that does not qualify as an apology.) but I was framing the argument, first of all I think it's irresponsible for these experts because I don't know what happened, you guys don't know what happened, and certainly the experts don't know what happened. To run out and scream Stockholm syndrome, I think that's just grossly irresponsible."

O'Reilly wouldn't have a job (oh, if only...) if guests were not called in to speculate, postulate, opine, and spin. If experts were asked what they thought kept the boy from escaping, it was their right to offer the answer they think fits. That it is so unanimous (except for Dr. Bill) makes it seem like a pretty plausible answer. Why does he have this "thing" against SS anyway?

He went on to his cover story, that this issue (fear!) has to be dealt with by every parent. Hall pointed out that that's a different issue; this is a cautionary tale and it is a frightening story.

Goldberg returned to the people who were saying Stockholm syndrome, saying they were conjecturing, and they were wrong (?? Has it been officially ruled out?) and any kind of conjecturing, in the absence of facts, is useless.

O'Reilly said "But I did base all of my statements and questions on known facts coming out of the police investigation. And I will say, and this is a dangerous statement 'cause I'm gonna apologize if any, there's gonna be another headline in this case. There is. And this is not Stockholm syndrome. I don't know what it is, but it isn't that. "

It's already being widely reported that there is suspicion Devlin had other victims, so it's no great risk to say there will be more headlines. O'Reilly seems to want to be proven right, much like he accuses Democrats and liberals of wanting the war in Iraq to fail. If it turns out to be another psychological diagnosis and not SS O'Reilly will thump his chest and feel vindicated. But he will still have been wrong to make the insinuations he did about this boy and his family.

Let's see what rules of journalism Journalist O'Reilly has broken with this debacle of smears:

— Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others. (lip piercing)
— Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status. (ditto)
— Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
— Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
— Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy.
— Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
— Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.