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"Unanswered question" about Hornbeck is really not a question at all

Reported by Chrish - January 29, 2007 -

On The Factor tonight 1/29/07 host Bill O'Reiily said, in the "back of the book" segment:

"As we mentioned last week, we're being very careful reporting the Shawn Hornbeck kidnapping story. The boy's been brutalized; the media shouldn't make things worse. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the alleged kidnapper, Michael Devlin, had two toes amputated and recuperated at his parents' house. That would have left Shawn alone in Devlin's apartment, another unanswered question about the situation."

Comment: Actually, it's a statement that infers the question, why didn't he run? That is the only question and one best left to medical and mental health professionals tending to the family. There is no benefit to airing these pieces any more other than to pander to viewers' voyeuristic needs. Anyone sincerely interested in the phenomenon can go to the library or hit Google. There is no more story here unless you count tabloid coverage a la Natalee Holloway, filling the 24/7 void.

O'Reilly did have a guest, psychologist Dr. Susan Bartell, who said in essence that we can't imagine what he was going through and a lot of kids in the same situation would have stayed. O'Reilly let on that "The Factor" is working on a story of kids who escaped, who fought off kidnappers. Damn if he isn't going to blame that poor kid again! All to save face and not have to admit he said some callous and hurtful things.

More damage control, to make viewers forget his initial remarks January 15th:

"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, ... 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".