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O’Reilly Gives Beck A Pass On His Anti-Semitic Attacks On Soros

Reported by Ellen - November 15, 2010 -

While Jewish leaders expressed outrage last week over Glenn Beck’s obsessive attacks on George Soros, Fox News stood behind their man. So did Bill O’Reilly on Friday (11/12/10) when Beck visited The O'Reilly Factor. O’Reilly made a point of distancing himself from some of Beck’s more outrageous claims about Soros but suggested that Soros would be just that evil if he could. Even worse, while O’Reilly affectionately ribbed Beck about his far-fetched theories, O'Reilly never addressed, much less challenged, the rankly anti-Semitic framework that Beck employed.

As we've previously noted, Beck's attacks on Soros are laden with anti-Semitic stereotypes and "dog-whistles." Jewish leaders have condemned Beck for making "monstrous," unproven accusations that Soros collaborated with the Nazis. But O'Reilly didn't bring any of that up as he set up the discussion as a question of whether or not Soros was really running a "shadow government" or whether he was just an evil wannabe.

O’Reilly sounded openly skeptical as he summarized Beck’s thesis, “Your theory is that rising gas prices and the rise in food commodity prices is directly attributable to Mr. Soros.”

But O’Reilly also happily joined in the attacks on Soros. “There’s no doubt… You don’t have to convince me or anybody else… that Soros wants a far-left country and will do what he has to do…But I don’t see him as the power that you see him. I think he’s trying. I think he’s trying.” (my emphasis)

But “The shadow government?” O’Reilly joked, “I don’t know where they live. If you tell me where they live, I’ll go to their house.”

As if to bolster Beck’s investigative credentials in general, O’Reilly gave Beck some props for having “found” where “all this ACORN money was going.”

Beck said, “This stuff (about Soros) is all out in the open. This isn’t a star chamber. This is out in the open… The shadow party convention was on C-Span.

As Aunty Em, pointed out, it’s impossible to be both a shadow government and out in the open. But O’Reilly didn’t seem to notice.

While continuing to distance himself from Beck, O’Reilly also helped to mainstream Beck’s unhinged attacks. Instead of telling Beck that his behavior has been out of line and unacceptable, O’Reilly said, “I don’t think (all these people) have as much power as you think they have but I could be wrong.”

O’Reilly and Beck spent a good amount of time chatting about a meeting between Beck’s “number two guy” and Soros’ “number two guy.” O’Reilly gave further credence to Beck’s attacks by saying that Soros’ guy sounded “ominous.” The O’Reilly Factor producers had at the ready, as soon as the meeting came up in conversation, a clip of Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil. O’Reilly jokingly asked whether Soros’ “number two guy” was “the little midget,” meaning Dr. Evil’s Mini-Me.

But it was clear O’Reilly was skeptical of Beck’s anti-Soros efforts. “All of this Soros stuff that you’re doing this week, is it going to lead anywhere?” he asked Beck. “You’re just exposing what you believe the man is up to… in the shadows.” The “in the shadows” was said mockingly. Then as Beck spoke in a movie villain voice about “building a death star” that is “fully operational,” O’Reilly ended the segment by saying, “Glenn Beck everybody. We’re calling the authorities.”

Perhaps O’Reilly was in a difficult place if Fox News was officially behind Beck. But there’s really no excuse for anyone to sanction Beck’s behavior. The man should have no place on any mainstream network, let one that considers itself a news network. Shame on anyone who pretends otherwise.

You can contact the show at oreilly@foxnews.com.

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