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O'Reilly defends sexy videos

Reported by Chrish - February 3, 2007 -

Some of the O'Reilly Factor viewers who wrote to him today 2/2/07 agreed with Laura Ingraham's chastisement the night before over O'Reilly's use of sexy videos, reported by Deborah. O'Reilly defended the videos as sound journalistic practice.

One viewer wrote from Guam "Bill, I absolutely agree with Laura Ingraham. We don't need to see the bikini babes or shots of sexy teachers to understand the nature of these stories. You know it's a valid point."

O'Reilly replied to her (in an increasingly patronizing tone) "The rule on The Factor is we won't show anything you can't see on the beach. When we report a story about a teacher sending an explicit video, to a student, we show some of the video so you'll know the nature of the crime. That's what TV news does. Now, I always warn you this stuff's coming, and I won't use beheadings and video I feel is unnecessary, but when we do a story about the head of, say, Girls Gone Wild being prosecuted, most people want to see what he's being prosecuted for. I respect your sensitivity, but I think we're responsible on the Factor."

And to reinforce his POV he read a letter from another viewer, a man in Michigan: "Laura is wrong, Bill. I'm not tired of the bikini girl video." O'Reilly told him he needed to take a shower and get back to him.

I think O'Reilly just unwittingly proved Ingraham's point. HE chooses what videos to show on which segments, and his male viewer was enjoying the view. O'Reilly acknowledged the man was excited by the babes and trying to pass it off as important to the story is disengenuous.
The woman "got" the story and didn't need or appreciate the visuals.

Another thing to look at is the stories being chosen to cover. The 24/7 news cycle requires a lot of fresh and breaking news. You'd think an international news network would choose stories of world or national import, but we're fed a constant stream of selected human interest stories and outrage du jour that are not important beyond their local audience. O'Reilly frequently tries (and with the echo chamber, all too often succeeds) in making these few isolated incidents look like a national trend, justifying their coverage.

Sometimes he just goes for the easy impact, like tonight. Broadcasting from Miami for this Super Bowl weekend, O'Reilly did a segment with Jemele Hill, an ESPN magazine reporter, about the influx of prostitutes that service the wealthy players, media personnel, and ticketholders. As they talked about how prostitutes target the rich and famous, and take out personal ads and bus in whole hordes o' hookers, we were treated to videos of dancers and street walkers.

Some segments are twofers, like the one tonight about "crime on the Internet." It gives those "machine" users another black eye while allowing O'Reilly to show screenshots of "swingers". (A couple "lured" people into sex, secretly videotaped it, and then blackmailed them. There, you get the picture without the pictures.) But O'Reilly chose to show pix of the sex grotto and all its accoutrements, the websites (with names clearly visible, thanks for the free ads) as he discussed the case with "private investigator extraordinaire" Bo Dietl. In case you weren't getting enough info from the pictures Dietl gave some graphic verbal descriptions of the "sick" behavior.

Note: O'Reilly tried to distance himself from Dietl's judgment that the behavior is sick. He did say he disapproved, but it's legal...the ensuing blackmail is the crime.

The use of these videos and tabloid stories has grown in recent months. The Factor and The Big Story, which I also watch, have gotten more gossipy and more outraged, and the remaining political pieces are more blatantly biased.