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Salon's Joan Walsh Holds O'Reilly's Feet to the Fire on Tiller Murder

Reported by Ellen - June 14, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

On Friday night's The O'Reilly Factor (6/12/09), O'Reilly began with, “The far left is keeping the Tiller controversy going because it is failing almost everywhere – and this red herring is pretty much all they have. The editor of Salon encapsulated the far-left view.” Right out of the gate, spewing lunacy. So, the left is failing everywhere, huh? Which means, what, the right is winning everywhere – evidenced, for example, by the fact that 38% of the Republican Party doesn't like the Republican Party. And, how about Obama's approval ratings holding steady at 63%? . Or, take the latest vile hate speech by a Republican, South Carolinian Rusty DePass, who compared Michelle Obama to a gorilla – then blamed her for the comment. The far left . . . failing. Riiiiiiiiight. With video.

O'Reilly cut to a clip of Salon.com editor, Joan Walsh, saying, “When Bill O'Reilly goes on TV every night and calls Dr. Tiller a 'baby killer' and a 'Nazi” and a “Mengele” and shows where he works, I – why do we put up with that . . . .?”

And a clip of O'Reilly: “And in Kansas, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of babies have been aborted by Dr. Tiller. The price? $5,000 each. Is this what we want in America? Is it? This is the kind of stuff the happened in Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union.”

“So you can see my words of context, and they are true,” O'Reilly – for the umpteenth time – defended himself (by speaking ill of the dead, by the way). “Don't believe me? Listen to Kelly, who at age 13 went to Tiller for a late-term abortion.”

O'Reilly then played a clip of “Kelly,” who at age 13 went to Dr. Tiller for a late-term abortion and described in graphic detail how Dr. Tiller “suffocated and burned my baby to death” and “told me to... push, push my baby into a toilet.” Let's look at this example. First, O'Reilly forgot about that whole “Fair and Balanced” thing, and failed to present anyone who believed Dr. Tiller to be valorous – and there are many. O'Reilly also chose not to explore at all with this young woman how she came to be pregnant at 13, why she delayed having an abortion until it became late-term, and – the most obvious question, from O'Reilly's standpoint – what criteria made HER late-term abortion medically necessary? Considering that O'Reilly has consistently (and he did so later in this segment) sneered at late-term abortions being performed “for casual reasons,” this would seem to be a logical question to ask – is O'Reilly sure “Kelly” didn't have an abortion so she could continue to go to concerts? Oh, well, just another item for my “Fair and Balanced” wish list.

O'Reilly went on to say that, “What Tiller did on many occasions was absolutely wrong. For my opinion, the far left has branded me an accomplice to the murder. You make the call.” O'Reilly then introduced Joan Walsh, editor of Salon.com, who, with loads of class, spent the segment putting O'Reilly in his place.

“Do you feel,” O'Reilly challenged, “That late term fetuses deserve any protections at all, Ms. Walsh?”

“You know, Bill,” Walsh said, demonstrating immediately that she was willing to have a serious discussion on the issues, “That really is the hardest, hardest issue in the abortion debate. They [late-term abortions] make up 1% of all abortions, and certainly there are abuses, but the vast majority of that 1% happen to be women who are either diagnosed with breast cancer very late stage, have to choose between their baby and chemotherapy. That young girl's story was really tragic but I've also read the story of a 9-year-old who was raped by her stepfather who didn't know she was pregnant until very late. And women who found out late in their pregnancies, tragically, that their babies really would die in a matter of days, they would be subject to surgery, etc., etc.”

“But all of that,” O'Reilly argued, demonstrating immediately that he had no interest in a serious debate, “ . . . all of that can be taken care of in many hospitals . . . This Tiller thing is bogus, and I believe you know it, if you don't I'm gonna play you another sound bite that will, should prove it to you. You're wrong, first of all, and you attacked me, and called me vile and the other names that you called me on your website is unconscionable . . . 60,000 abortions according to the Washington Times, the man charged $6,000 each, became a millionaire doing it . . . So you know, a woman with breast cancer who was undergoing chemo, whatever, couldn't have gotten the abortion unless she could come up with $6,000. He wasn't doing it pro bono.” In fact, Tiller did perform pro bono procedures. But, more importantly, hospitals don't perform these procedures for free, either. What difference would it make if the abortion were performed in a hospital setting or in a medical clinic specifically designed to legally perform this type of procedure? If the issue is the procedure itself, this argument is pretty specious. The fact that O'Reilly would be okay with it being performed in a hospital setting indicates the truth of this – it's more about a vendetta against Tiller, himself. O'Reilly didn't elaborate. But I'm asking.

O'Reilly challenged Walsh, “ . . . Ms. Walsh, have you seen the investigative documents?” Walsh said that she had “skimmed them,” prompting O'Reilly to say, “It's shocking to me that you wouldn't read them if you're going to accuse somebody like me of being a vile accomplice to murder, that you wouldn't read them.”

“I said you were vile, I did, I did not accuse you of being an accomplice to murder, so let's be really clear about our language here, Bill, I never said it,” Walsh responded firmly.

“I'm vile because I'm looking out for late-term fetuses who you believe have no rights at all,” O'Reilly asked hotly. “Now I asked you in the first question, do you believe late-term fetuses should have any protections in the United States, at all. Do you?”

“I believe that late-term abortion under the current circumstances to save the life of the mother . . . .”

O'Reilly interrupted, “ . . . Tiller was aborting late-term fetuses for casual reasons. That's what he was doing.” So, this begs the question: What “casual reason” did “Kelly” – the young girl he used as his heartbreaking example – have for having a late-term abortion? He never asked. Well, I'm asking.

Walsh and O'Reilly began a hot debate, with Walsh saying, “I really haven't seen any evidence of that, Bill –“

“All right, hold it, now, hold it, Ms. Walsh, Ms. Walsh . . . .” O'Reilly stammered.

“ . . . . this is the thing, we live in different, we live in different worlds, Bill. I know the stories . . . .” Walsh continued.

“Hold it,” yelled O'Reilly. “Hold it.”

Walsh didn't stop, saying, “ . . . of women who would have suffered tragedy.”

“Hold it,” O'Reilly again implored Walsh.

“Bill, you had a long lead-in to this . . . ,” Walsh reminded him.

“All right, you're filibustering, Ms. Walsh. Stop talking!” O'Reilly commanded. “You just said you hadn't seen any evidence of that, okay? Here's a tape from Dr. Paul McHugh, head of the psychiatric school of Johns Hopkins University, madame. Roll it.”

Predictably, in the clip, Dr. Paul McHugh (an anti-transsexual, conservative Catholic ideologue who advises the Vatican on sexual matters), who was hired by the Kansas Attorney General as an expert in the Tiller criminal case denied the notion that “these women were likely to suffer a substantial and irreversible impairment. They highlighted certain kinds of things . . . but were sometimes of a most trivial sort, from saying that, ‘I won't be able to go to concerts’ or ‘I won't be able to take part in sports,’ to more serious ones, such as ‘I don't want to give my child up for adoption.’” Keep in mind that, despite this superstar's expert testimony, Tiller was acquitted of all charges.

“Your reaction,” O'Reilly challenged Walsh.

“I don't necessarily know what makes those men any better judges of these womens' conditions than Dr. Tiller,” Walsh said. “Bill, we live in different worlds. You believe your experts, I believe mine. I've talked to dozens of women who support what Dr. Tiller did.”

O'Reilly accused Walsh of calling McHugh a liar, to which Walsh responded, “. . . I didn't say he's lying, I'm not sure what he's looking at and I'm not sure what makes him more qualified just from looking at records . . . .”

“Look, all right, I'm gonna take a break, we'll calm down a little bit . . . .” O'Reilly may have needed to calm down – getting bested does that to him – but Walsh, on the other hand, maintained her serenity.

Returning, O'Reilly began immediately badgering Walsh: “Now I'm going to ask you once again, third time: Do you believe late-term fetuses are entitled to any protections in the United States of America?”

“I believe,” Walsh said calmly, “the law should be what it is, Bill, and I believe . . . I personally think it should be legal, I think it's always got to be the decision of the mother.”

“But you're, you are not willing to state that a late-term fetus is entitled to any national protection at all . . . ,” O'Reilly persisted, like a dog with a bone.

“No, I'm not, I'm really not,” Walsh conceded. She went on to compare the late-term abortion debate with gun ownership, saying, “ . . . There are people who think guns should be abolished – I'm not one of them but let's just take that as an example, Bill, okay . . . .”

“No,” snapped O'Reilly, “We're not gonna take that as an example. We have more important things to talk about . . . .” You certainly do – your thin-skinned bully mentality can't tolerate any logical responses to your furious vendetta against Dr. Tiller, whom you continue to post-humously denigrate.

Walsh continued to argue, “Would it be okay for those people to go crusade against gun dealers, and put their pictures up and call them baby-killers and say they have blood on their hands and picket their stores . . . that's a legal right that many people say should not be.”

“Joan,” O'Reilly tried to interrupt, yet again.

“You need to change the laws, you don't need to crusade like a vigilante against somebody . . . ,” Walsh continued heatedly.

“Oh, baloney, I didn't crusade anything . . . ,” O'Reilly said, obviously flustered.

“ . . . performing a legal medical procedure and that's what he did,” Walsh shot back.

“Tiller was running an abortion mill. . . ,” O'Reilly said, vainly trying to defend himself.

And from Walsh, “42 times you mentioned him, 42 times, 24 times you called him a 'baby-killer.'”

“ . . . over a period of five years – he was running an abortion mill, everybody in Kansas knows it,” O'Reilly cried desperately, appearing truly frustrated with this uncooperative guest.

“A legal facility,” Walsh said flatly. “ . . . He was running a legal facility.”

“You know who has blood on their hands? You,” O'Reilly accused.

“That's ridiculous, Bill,” Walsh said, finally getting angry.

“You don't care about these babies . . . you're the zealot,” O'Reilly attacked.

“You know, you're really, you're a piece of work, my friend,” Walsh said, having had enough. “I don't have blood on my hands, you do. I didn't crusade for anything, I work for abortion reduction, I'm a pro-choice Catholic who believes in abortion reduction and working with young girls and giving them rights, giving them information. Don't demonize me, my friend. Don't demonize me, my friend. You'll be sorry.”

“You made this guy out to be Dr. Welby,” O'Reilly railed, appearing to be truly at a loss. “You couldn't care less about anything that he did, anything that he did was okay with you . . . .”

“Really? It was legal, Bill. It was legal, Bill . . . ,” Walsh repeated, like a broken record.

O'Reilly flailed again, “ . . . because of your far-left lunacy. Anything, anything he did was okay with you!”

“Bill, am I gonna get to talk here, or will I always going to have to talk over you?” Walsh challenged.

“No. I asked you the question, you don't answer it, you want to talk about gun control,” O'Reilly vainly attempted to railroad her.

“You're asking me one question over and over and over again,” Walsh accused him.

“You don't believe in any protections at all and you think Tiller is Dr. Welby,” O'Reilly responded.

“What he did was legal,” Walsh repeated. “. . . but yes, I know women who consider him a hero, Bill.”

“Yeah, and you do too . . . you think he's a hero,” O'Reilly charged.

“You know what, I do, I do consider him a hero,” Walsh said pugnaciously.

“I know, there you go, thank you,” O'Reilly screamed.

“And look, Bill, you crusaded against him --” Walsh lashed out.

“You bet,” O'Reilly said flatly.

“He had been shot twice . . . ,” Walsh reminded him.

“And I'm sorry about that,” O'Reilly cried.

“ . . . his clinic has been exploded, his clinic has been attacked, bombed, vandalized . . . ,” Walsh blazed.

“I'm sorry about that,” O'Reilly raised his voice, sounding anything but sorry. “But my constitutional rights says I can say what I say, you say what you say, as vile as you say it, you can say it, and I would never condemn you for saying it. You are misguided, you have blood on your hands because you portray this man as a hero when he killed late-term babies . . . .” I would never condemn you for saying it – but you're vile for saying it. Gotta think about that one.

Walsh said hotly, “And you routinely attack . . . people on the left, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Moore – who you think their rhetoric leads potentially to violence. It never has led to one act of violence, but you've already driven that crazy guy in Knoxville last year, who read your writings and then went and shot up a church and shot liberals. That's already happened once and you don't feel any responsibility at all, now that it's happened a second time, Bill? Talk about blood on your hands.” Minor correction – it was actually O'Reilly's BFF and frequent guest, Bernie Goldberg, who wrote the book inspiring the Knoxville wingnut.

“ . . . I think everybody knows exactly where you're coming from,” O'Reilly concluded the segment.

And everybody knows where you're coming from, too, O'Reilly. I'm guessing we won't see Ms. Walsh on the Factor again any time soon.

If you can't view the videos below, here are the links:

Talking Points Memo opening

Walsh Pt 1.

Walsh Pt 2