Corporate Sponsors Won’t Stand for O’Reilly’s Ambush Journalism

How long will the O'Reilly Harassment Machine keep spinning?

The O’Reilly Harassment Machine keeps spinning.  Last night on The Factor, O’Reilly called Think Progress “insects,” said Center for American Progress CEO John Podesta was “driving the hate industry,” and that blogger Amanda Terkel was “harming a rape victim and her family.”   Let’s deconstruct these idiotic insults.

For starters, Think Progress clearly aren’t powerless insects, but they have gotten under O’Reilly’s skin.  They have launched a campaign to compel O’Reilly’s leading corporate sponsors (including AT&T, Johnson&Johnson, Capital One, UPS, Audi, Sharp, Hyundai, P&G, Chrysler, Mercedes Benz, Ford, and Bayer) to end his ambush journalism.  And as I wrote yesterday, they’ve got a list chronicling 40 instances of this deplorable practice.  This campaign has already been effective; a Ford spokesman agreed with the criticism of O’Reilly, whom he called “hopelessly pig-headed,” and Capital One also expressed regret and claimed they don’t endorse O’Reilly’s views.  This is fantastic pressure that hopefully will curb O’Reilly’s “gotcha” journalism that he plays off as accurate investigative reporting.

Ironically, after calling Think Progress insects, O’Reilly got annoyed with Dick Morris for failing to make the connection between Think Progress, NBC, and GE–perhaps because there is no connection!   Terkel merely appeared on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann because O’Reilly hasn’t allowed her to come on his show.  Instead, O’Reilly just replays the ambush video of FOX producer Jesse Watters stalking Terkel on vacation, then uses it to support whatever crackpot conspiracy theory he can conjure.

ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.