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Dizzy from spinning the O'Reilly Hornbeck insinuations

Reported by Chrish - January 21, 2007 -

Amended 1/21/07
We all know what Bill O'Reilly said last Monday 1/15/07, the first full news day after kidnap victim Shawn Hornbeck was found alive after four years of captivity. Every day since he has been trying to deny his clear meaning and rehabilitate his "looking out for the kids" persona. This Friday 1/19/07 with Geraldo Rivera they continued to try to obfuscate the reality of what he said, drilling the concerned and parental message he wishes he had sent.

To recap:

"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".

Geraldo did not avoid the scandalous remarks at first: "I think the heat you took over the story really is because you were scolding and harsh when you first opined that the kid should have escaped and maybe he was living the high life with Devlin." (But just the night before O'Reilly said to Jane Hall "My job is to be a journalist.....And again, that was my reporting, and that's true. I haven't said one thing that isn't true.") Rivera went on to use Elizabeth Smart and Patty Hearst as other examples of victims of some kind of mind control, and POWs and cult members.... But, he hastened to add what Bill O'Reilly was right about: Hornbeck had more freedom than his own 14-year-old, and we need to know why he didn't flee - not because of voyeuristic interest into where his head was, but because as parents we need to tell our kids that if they are taken captive, they must try to escape. O'Reilly agreed, saying that is the value of the story - parent's job is to teach kids they are going to confront evil, and what to do when evil is present. (Change the channel! lol)

This "use it as a cautionary tale" angle wasn't brought up until the following day after howls of protest from across the political spectrum.

Discussion continued on the Hornbeck case (the Factor will "continue to investigate"; will they sic Jesse Watters on anyone yet?). A new term was bandied about, "child sexual abuse accommodation," which to the layman is pretty much what we thought when we learned last week of "Stockholm syndrome": some kind of self-preserving psychological mechanism. O'Reilly claimed he got literally hundreds of emails from professionals, psychiatrists and others, who said the Stockholm syndrome diagnosis was incorrect and glib (the medical term he used was "bull"), not serving the public, so that's why he did what he did.

I thought Rivera was going to call O'Reilly on that, but instead he laid the blame on the altar of "political correctness":

"The firestorm that you ignited was not really about the Stockholm syndrome, the firestorm that you ignited was that you broke what has become one of the concrete precepts in political correctness - you may never question a victim or a victim's behavior."

O'Reilly overtalked "And i didn't mean to, by the way." Folks, I think we just witnessed as much of an apology as we'll ever get from this pinhead.

Rivera didn't want to hear that, saying it seems BOR is retreating and he shouldn't. BOR says no, no, no, I'm not retreating, because we're going to find out what heppened here - believe me, I'm going to find out! As Rivera continued to talk (dismissing the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an O'Reilly target, presumably for this), O'Reilly said he didn't mean to inflict any pain on the family. In an odd turn of events. Rivera made the same talking point O'Reilly did last Monday (that Hornbeck posted taunts on his family's website) and O'Reilly took Greta Van Susteren's stance that we don't know who posted those comments from a shared computer. But he was incensed that the police have "shut down" the kids who were Hornbeck's pals during his captivity (aah, that's where Jesse Watters is, harrassing teenagers) and O'Reilly acts like that is sinister - has Rivera ever heard of anything like that? Well, of course, yes he has - he's a lawyer, after all.

The segment ended with more warnings to parents to teach their kids, and to not forget that the subject of this news should be Devlin, not Hornbeck.

Mission accomplished: O'Reilly ekes out an acknowledgement of possible wrongdoing that he can claim was an on-air apology; "blame the victim" indecency is identified as politically correct nonsense; the fear factor is ramped up a notch; and last but not least, the story is from now on to be focused on the kidnapper. Prepare to not hear a peep about Shawn Hornbeck come Monday.

This suggestion comes from reader Tim G:
"Use this link to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Ask them to find another speaker for their March 9, 2007 in Naples, FL. Mr. O'Reilly exploited a missing child in his comments and continues to do so. Ask that the NCMEC drop Mr. O'Reilly from the fundraiser."
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children