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O’Reilly Should Apologize to Rape Survivors; Gets Worst Person for Four Straight Nights.

Reported by Alex - March 6, 2009 -

Co-Authored by Priscilla + Alex

Keith Olbermann made it four in a row for Billo last night (3/5/09) on Countdown as he awarded Worst Person silver to the Bloviator for his intention to address the rape survivors support group It Happened to Alexa on March 19th. However, as predicted, the Foundation itself is starting to feel the heat as the rhetoric ratchets up, and the ire of Olbermann and some rape survivors and their supporters begins to turn in its direction. This unfortunate but probably inevitable development has also brought the anti-Olbermann obsessives out of their holes, and they are now attempting to politicize this issue for their own ends.Video and special commentary after the jump.

Awarding O'Reilly the Silver for Worst Person, Olbermann stated :

"Now it’s more than just O'Reilly...he's now dragged a veteran and tireless victims' rights campaigner into this. ‘Also appearing with Mr. O'Reilly,' reads the foundation website, 'will be Wendy Murphy, advisory board member of It Happened to Alexa Foundation” Keith addressed Murphy, with whom he is personally acquainted, directly: "Wendy, he called the dead rape victim 'moronic'. He described on TV what she was wearing as if she'd asked for it - on radio, excuse me - he never apologized, and you're going to stand there with him in front of a group of rape victims and their supporters??!!"
Olbermann’s incredulity is well-founded, because as well as having represented Alexa Branchini (Sardina) in her civil and criminal cases against the man who raped her, Wendy Murphy gained a degree of notoriety by advocating in the media for the accuser in the Duke alleged-rape case - and for having once asserted that there is no such thing as a false allegation of rape. It is difficult to square such a view with her intent to stand on the podium with blame-the-victim O’Reilly. Perhaps her willingness to do so stems from the fact that she has appeared on the Factor for a spot of liberal-bashing more than once; but one must ask, why isn’t she putting her prosecutorial concern for victims ahead of what seems to be a personal allegiance to a man who has egregiously, and very publicly, insulted and debased rape victims?

Speaking of liberal-bashing: It seems that some people will politicize anything for their own self-aggrandizement. A look around some far-right blogs last night unearthed comments about “liberals” who are “trying to destroy the Alexa Foundation.” The owner one self-styled “cable watchdog” (read “Fox News apologist”) site* claims to have contacted the Executive Director of the foundation, Ellen Augello, and to have received an email of thanks back from her saying, in part,

“Instead of receiving support from groups who believe themselves to be progressive and enlightened, we have been besieged by KO followers who, for whatever misguided reason, feel as though it is their duty to tell everyone they come into contact with not to support us…So I ask you, who are these zealots truly hurting?”

It is really sad that these web-jockeys are attempting to hijack and debase the concerns of sincere people for their own political agendas, as the “we hate Olbermann” crowd seem intent on doing. It should go without saying that the real “zealots” might actually be those who are trying to co-opt and trivialize a serious issue in order to wage their spin war on Mr. Olbermann. One has to wonder if the board of the Alexa foundation are aware of Executive Director Ellen Augello’s email exchange(s) with these people (presuming they actually took place). Is she speaking on behalf of the It Happened to Alexa foundation when she calls the rape victims and their supporters who are upset by the invitation to O’Reilly, “zealots”?

* (Note: It is normally our policy to include links to sources, but we don't want to boost the Google ratings of these cheap opportunists. Anyone interested should be able to find the relevant sites without too much trouble).

Special commentary:

Let us make one thing crystal clear: This issue is NOT about Keith Olbermann. It is NOT about damaging this fine organization. It is about Bill O’Reilly and his callous disregard for victims of sexual violence and their families.

Many of the comments on the petition which seeks to encourage the Alexa foundation to replace O’Reilly as speaker are from rape and abuse survivors who do not appear to be leftwing zealots, but people who have been hurt - like those that are served and supported by this group. The It Happened to Alexa Foundation has every right to have Bill O’Reilly as a speaker; but given his history of insensitive comments towards victims, it is unfortunate that they chose to do so - and it would appear to be damaging their reputation.

If O’Reilly remains as speaker, so be it. But in that case he should take this opportunity to turn a negative into a positive by apologizing, unreservedly, on his TV and radio shows, for the hurt he has caused in the past with his irresponsible remarks, and promising to do his best to be more sensitive about his language in relation to rape and abuse victims in the future. In no way do we at News Hounds condone any talk of hurting The It Happened To Alexa Foundation. They do, however, need to know that words do matter and that Bill O’Reilly’s hateful rhetoric is very, very damaging to victims of sexual assault.

Below: Bildo gets the Silver for Worst Person from Keith Olbermann - 2:14 into the video.

Related Posts:

Olbermann Slams O’Reilly Three Days In A Row Over Scheduled Speech To Rape Victim Support Group – Reported by Alex
It Happened to Alexa, Support Group For Rape Victims, Stands Over O'Reilly Invite - Reported by Alex
Bill O’Reilly Takes Well Deserved Worst Person Award - Reported by Priscilla
Bill O’Reilly To Speak At Fund Raising Event For Rape Victims? Oh, No He Shouldn’t! - Reported by Priscilla