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Hypocrite Bill O'Reilly scolds "indecent" responses to Jerry Falwell's death as too soon

Reported by Chrish - May 17, 2007 -

Bill O'Reilly's Talking Point Memo and his top story last night 5/16/07 both bemoaned the lack of decency shown by "far left" entities who are celebrating the demise of Jerry Falwell. But if memory serves, on the day two teenaged girls killed by a drunk driver who also happened to be an illegal immigrant were buried, O'Reilly exploited the deaths for one of his political rants.
With video.

First off, O'Reilly exploits Falwell's death indirectly by asserting that the unkind comments of a few, on learning of Falwell's death Tuesday, were indicative of the intolerance towards free speech of the "far left," launching into the TPM AND the Top Story excoriating the amorphous "far left" for the comments of the few.

He said the "far-left hate machine" was cranked up, but then acknowledged that Falwell was intolerant and judgmental, that earned him the hatred of many. He whined that people should let his family and friends grieve for a few days: "there's no reason to kick his dead body."

(My head is already spinning - people voicing their opinions, no matter how distasteful, are being slammed by O'Reilly, who wants them to shut up, at least for a "decent" interval. As noted above, he showed no such decency for the families and friends of the teenagers in Virginia. And invoking an image of abusing the man's corpse is hardly respectful.)

He quoted some editorials that were not fawning, but were also not hateful, making sure to label the organizations with the "code" for his viewers:

far left Minneapolis Star Tribune editorialized, "Falwell urged [Christians] to focus on issues that drove them apart. It's hard to see what's moral about that."

far left Oregonian newspaper in Portland, "[Falwell] built an effective political organization at least partly by appealing to people's worst instincts."

far left Baltimore Sun: "Claiming to be morally superior is a dangerous game." Well, isn't that what you do Baltimore Sun, every day? If you don't agree with your liberal positions, you guys label people bigots and fascists or worse.

And finally, this revolting statement from former John Edwards employee Amanda Marcotte. "The gates of hell swing open and Satan welcomes his beloved son. Jerry Falwell's dead. Guess god [sic] — notice the small 'g' — liked the ACLU better after all.

O'Reilly went out of his way to smear presidential candidate John Edwards by linking him to Amanda Marcotte, a blogger at Pandagon who worked briefly for his campaign, until an uproar over her style and perspective on her personal blog forced her to quit the campaign to protect Edwards. But O'Reilly exploits that brief connection to further his agenda.

Then he states

"Now Ms. Marcotte symbolizes the hateful far left in America. Same people who celebrated when Tony Snow announced he had cancer. This group, ladies and gentlemen, doesn't deserve respect. They are shameful."

But he uses the "far left" epithet daily, on people who want guest worker programs leading to citizenship ("far left open borders crowd"), for people who want warrants issued before the government listens in on phone conversations, people who donate to MoveOn.org, people who think he should have waited a few days after the funerals before ranting about illegal immigration, people who support the right to make their own end-of-life decisions, people who want our troops out of Iraq now, people who watch Richard Gere movies, people who quote him on blogs, and on and on. So now the far left is not so far - and we're all the same. If we watch Richard Gere, we endorse Amanda Marcotte.

He said "As for Jerry Falwell, he was an American who spoke his mind. I disagreed with him on many issues..." (notice how he can selectively choose and distance himself on some issues, but those on the widespred the far left can't) and concluded "But Jerry Falwell had a right to say what he said. And these awful secular progressives have that same right. But there is such a thing as decency. And when somebody dies, you give it a few days. Just another example of how out of control the SP far left movement in America is today."

O'Reilly morphed from the far left label to SP to set up his next segment with Ellis Hennican and Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. Of course, O'Reilly only sees this hate from the S-P side, overlooking the comments from various right-wing haters (Michelle Malkin, Neal Boortz, Mark Steyn). As documented by Media Matters and News Hounds, these individuals (one who regularly subs for O'Reilly when he is out of town) basically blamed the victims of the Virginia Tech gunman for their own deaths, for not standing up to the shooter. The far right haters (two can play that game) exploited the deaths of all these students on what they see as a culture of appeasement:

Boortz 4/18 - "Surrender -- comply -- adjust. The doctrine of the left"
Malkin 4/18 - "Instead of encouraging autonomy, our higher institutions of learning stoke passivity and conflict-avoidance. And as the erosion of intellectual self-defense goes, so goes the erosion of physical self-defense."
Steyn 4/18 - students were guilty of "awful corrosive passivity" that is "an existential threat to a functioning society."

Hill said he didn't think all that O'Reilly had pointed out was over the top, but he thinks people are celebrating the death of Falwell's movement, not the man, the husband, the grandfather. O'Reilly said the celebrating can happen in two weeks; there IS decency, which line was crossed over by all those newspapers (and O'Reilly didn't even read the blogs - they're so vicious and ridiculous.)

Hennican personally thought some of the language was harsh, but he believes Falwell would expect and understand it - he lived his life in public and said divisive things. O'Reilly extracted the most extreme comments, Marcotte's, paraphrased that "he should be in hell, Satan is embracing him, he was a totally immoral man," and asked Hennican if he thought Falwell and his family would be pleased by that? Hennican thought Falwell would have a zinger reply.

Hill characterized Falwell's legacy as vicious (his attacks on gays and lesbians, his attacks on the ACLU, his so-called Moral Majority), and O'Reilly defended the other side. He didn't make the comparison to FOX News, but here's what he said about Falwell that is exactly what we hear from FOX fans: "You see it as vicious, and millions of other Americans say 'Look, I finally got a voice because of Jerry Falwell. I got shut out of the media, I couldn't get heard, you see it as vicious, other people see it as worthy!"

He jabbed his finger at the two (who were not in the studio so he was jabbing at a camera) and said they should both be on his side, condemning this kind of behavior - it's not right. It's wrong behavior. (Because as we all know, there's only right and wrong, no shades of gray.) He then attacked Hennican pointedly, asking if he, as a secular progressive, could ever make a judgment about right and wrong?


Ellis Hennican is a practicing Catholic, and told O'Reilly so, looking none too pleased. Then he gave O'Reilly a news flash: he's going to die some day, both of them are. Since they live their lives in the world of harsh opinion and tough debate, there are going to be people who are going to be doing cartwheels. O'Reilly tried to interrupt to ask "does that make it right?" Hennican said he understands it, and O'Reilly continued to demand that Hennican condemn it. Hennican, it turns out, doesn't care. Because he won't condemn that kind of behavior, O'Reilly justifies calling him a secular-progressive (even though Hennican JUST told him he is religious.)

Hill was willing to condemn the behavior though, and said that even though death is an inevitable occurrence, we still have to demonstrate civility and respect. (O'Reilly was saying 'thank you, thank you.') Hill continued that otherwise we become just as bad and just as vicious, just as ugly as Jerry Falwell was in his life.

O'Reilly called him out for a cheap shot under the banner of nobility, while Hill laughed and said "I love you Bill. I'm a secular progressive, what do you expect."

Too funny - Hill and Hennican are two of my favorites, good natured, smart, centered, and proud of their positions.

O'Reilly once again wants to be the ultimate arbiter of behavior, drawing lines that are comfortable to him and labelling people who differ from him. Yet these high standards of his are only applied to people who are politically opposed to him. No spin? Fair and balanced? BULL.