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O'Reilly Uses “Best Defense Is A Good Offense” Routine on Tiller

Reported by Ellen - June 4, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

“The murder of Private William Long – that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.” On Tuesday night's The O'Reilly Factor (6/2/09), Bill O'Reilly tossed out, in my opinion, one of the most unconscionable displays “in broadcast history” (to borrow a well-worn O'Reilly phrase) of the ink-in-the-water squid defense, or the best defense is a good offense, or two wrongs make a right, plus general truth distortions and right-wing goon tactics. The most abominable thing here is that O'Reilly invoked the senseless death of a young soldier to justify and rationalize his own heinous participation in targeted attacks on a doctor who was also senselessly murdered – and he used the death of this young Private as an opportunity to continue to smear GE and Immelt and MSNBC. And as soon as this young man's usefulness to O'Reilly ended, as soon as O'Reilly was able to use Private Long's death to ramp up the attacks on his chosen targets, Private Long was nothing but dust in the wind to O'Reilly. With video.

Remember at the end of the movie “Fargo,” when the bad guy fed his former partner-in-crime head first into the wood chipper? I couldn't help but think of that while watching thin-skinned O'Reilly last night – he doesn't seem to mind being drenched with his enemies' blood as long as his own limbs stay clear of the chipper.

Flipping the script and seeking to distract from the murder of Dr. George Tiller – for which O'Reilly is being assigned no small amount of responsibility by various media outlets and bloggers, such as this example – O'Reilly instead linked NBC News to the murder of Private William Long, a military recruiter who was murdered by a Muslim militant – under the guise of claiming to do the opposite.

“Last night we told you about the murder of George Tiller,” O'Reilly began, “The late-term abortion doctor in Kansas shot dead by an anti-government militant while he attended church last Sunday . . . NBC News and other liberal outlets were blaming me and Fox News for inciting the killer.” Funny, isn't it, that the alleged killer of a controversial abortion doctor is, in O'Reilly's new and improved rhetoric, not a pro-life lunatic at all, but instead an “anti-government” militant. Though the alleged killer, Scott Roeder, did have early ties to the anarchist group Montana Freemen, he apparently had deeper ties to the violently radical Army of God anti-abortion group.

“Now,” O'Reilly said, “We have the murder of 23-year-old William Long, an army private allegedly murdered by a Muslim militant in Arkansas . . . 24-year-old Abdulhakim Muhammad told the cops he killed Private Long and another soldier – he wounded the other soldier – because of what the military had done to Muslims. So . . . is NBC News complicit in the murder of Private Long? After all, that network has relentlessly branded the United States as a torture nation, a country run by human-rights violators. Didn't NBC News incite Mr. Muhammad to kill the soldier?” In goes a limb, grind and go.

Following the rather lengthy process of attempting to connect the dots between NBC News and Private Long's murder, O'Reilly went on to deny NBC's complicity: “The answer is no – the killer is a loon. The media had nothing to do with it, that is the truth.” Well, see, there's a broader truth in there, too. Whether NBC News has or has not branded the United States a “torture nation” run by “human-rights violators” is not germane; the issue is whether NBC News, over the course of numerous segments, specifically mentioned Private William Long by name as a perpetrator of horrific violations against Muslims – the same way O'Reilly branded Tiller a “baby killer” and other charmingly similar epithets over 29 broadcasts since 2005.

“However,” O'Reilly said, as the wood chipper groaned on, “Private Long's situation will not be heavily debated on NBC News because they're not much interested in the truth . . . Brian Williams is a big problem here . . . as managing editor of the nightly news, he allowed a correspondent to highlight me as a villain in the Tiller situation. Williams takes his orders directly from NBC President Jeff Zucker, a committed liberal, who has completely ruined the news operation, turning it into the most far-left outfit in the history of broadcasting . . . if you saw the hate MSNBC spewed last night, there can be no question that NBC News is now totally out of control.” This, from a man who said of Tiller, “And if I could get my hands on Tiller . . . .”

“NBC has never, ever, said a negative word about Tiller's activities,” O'Reilly whined, “Which include aborting an estimated 60,000 fetuses, many of them viable . . . According to Gallup, 72% of Americans object to late term objections . . . Only three clinics in the entire country destroy fetuses after 21 weeks . . . .” See how he does that? Segues right from saying NBC isn't complicit in anyone's death to implying he himself was unfairly targeted for inciting Tiller's murder, to blaming the victim so maybe his faithful viewers will just figure since Tiller's lawful abortion practice was so unpopular, why should anybody care about his death anyway?

“The blame once again falls on General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt,” O'Reilly continued, “The overall boss of NBC . . . using his news operation to promote the Obama Administration . . . while seeking billion-dollar government contracts from the President.”

Boy, I lost the whole “NBC isn't complicit in Private Long's death” thing in the midst of this “NBC is wrapped in a thug hug with President Obama” thing.

“But what Mr. Immelt may not know is that federal authorities have developed information about General Electric doing business with Iran, deadly business . . . if we can confirm the data about roadside bombs, we will present it to you.” Yes. He really said that – it wasn't a hallucination. O'Reilly, without any facts he was willing to share (which means he doesn't have any), without any confirmation (which means he doesn't have any), and without directly accusing GE or Immelt of anything (though I'm sure he wished he could), managed to make it sound like GE is directly responsible for planting roadside bombs in Iraq. A Google search of “GE Iraq roadside bombs” indicates the story might have grown legs on forums at hannity.com – a wonderful source for hard news, I'd say. While I did find a Huffington Post article in December 2008 announcing that GE had sealed a $3 million deal to sell power generation equipment to Iraq “to support the nation's tattered electricity grid,” my search turned up nothing credible about GE and roadside bombs.

O'Reilly went on to give the viewers Immelt's e-mail and mailing address because “in light of the Tiller situation and other hateful attacks from NBC News . . . all of NBC's misdeeds are on him.”

And who, O'Reilly, will you blame all of your misdeeds on? By your logic, it must be Rupert Murdoch's fault. What I'm thinking is that we've nailed down Bill-O's formula. First, he likes to feed his enemies into the wood chipper, limb by limb (but just can't seem to man up when the blade closes in on him). Second, when he feels the blade's breath as a result of his smears, he distracts his gullible viewers by tossing out GE and NBC News, or the death of a young soldier named William Long, or anything or anyone else he thinks of, and he cleverly pretends to defend the enemy – in this case, NBC – from the “blame the media” game, and in so doing, distances himself from culpability. And then he offers up some other new or old enemy to get himself off the hook and spread ink in the water. (It's also a variation on the old alcoholic's trick – I don't drink that much, that guy drinks way more.)

We're onto you, O'Reilly. It's high time for you to man up.

If you can't view the video below, here's a link.