Right-Wing Violence Will Continue, And Fox News Will Have to Answer For It
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And besides, if O'Reilly had merely been debating abortion -- if he had said nothing about Tiller that was regrettable or out of line -- why did O'Reilly at least twice last week falsely claim that he'd never called the doctor a "baby killer"?
Still, according to Brent Bozell's NewsBusters, O'Reilly had simply "spoke[n] critically of Tiller's abortionist practices" and merely "used harsh words to describe Tiller."
Decide for yourself. Since FNC defenders often refuse to reprint O'Reilly's quotes, here's an unvarnished look at what he said about Tiller; here's what he said before an anti-abortion zealot assassinated Tiller and then claimed his actions were justified:
- "In the state of Kansas, there is a doctor, George Tiller, who will execute babies for $5,000."
- "For $5,000, 'Tiller the Baby Killer' -- as some call him -- will perform a late-term abortion for just about any reason."
- "Tiller has killed thousands, thousands of late-term fetuses without explanation."
- "No question, Dr. Tiller has blood on his hands."
- " 'Tiller the Baby Killer' out in Kansas, acquitted, acquitted today of murdering babies."
- "This guy will kill your baby for $5,000, any reason. Any reason."
- "If we allow Dr. George Tiller and his acolytes to continue, we can no longer pass judgment on any behavior by anybody."
- "If we allow this, America will no longer be a noble nation."
As for the Noise Machine's fallback position, it's that liberal commentators do exactly what O'Reilly and Beck have been accused of: trafficking in hateful rhetoric that endangers innocent people.
Making the charge at NewsBusters, Noel Sheppard claimed:
[A]s [Keith] Olbermann and his ilk on MSNBC and throughout the liberal blogosphere routinely referred to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as murderers, would they have been responsible if someone had assassinated either of these former White House members?
Sheppard was sure that Olbermann had called Bush and Cheney murderers. He was sure Olbermann's references to the POTUS and VP were "equally provocative" as O'Reilly's references to Tiller.
Except, of course, Sheppard failed to produce a single Olbermann quote that even comes close to the seething, unhinged hate rants that O'Reilly unfurled for years against Tiller. Meaning, there is no comparison between what O'Reilly said about Tiller and what Olbermann has said about Bush and Cheney. Yet this entire right-wing defense hinges on the idea that the language was identical. That there's a moral equivalence.
Desperate to move the spotlight away from O'Reilly's irresponsible actions, conservatives last week tried to claim that liberal pundits might be responsible for the killing of a military recruiter in Arkansas who was gunned down by a Muslim convert trying to send a political message. Why the liberal pundits? Because they had created a dangerous anti-military atmosphere.
Beck made that very claim on his radio show [emphasis added]:
BECK: Well, let me ask you this. I had to really search the news long and hard to find out about the two recruiters -- the two soldiers that had been killed by the Muslim convert, that were gunned down in Arkansas. I had to really look hard for that. Is anybody asking is Keith Olbermann responsible for the death of those two soldiers? Keith Olbermann has railed against recruiters. Keith Olbermann has railed against the baby killers that our U.S. soldiers are. He's railed against this war. MSNBC was right all over the story about how our troops are torturing and killing innocents. Has anybody asked if he's responsible?
Slight problem. Neither Beck nor anyone else on the right last week could find any hateful, violent anti-recruiter attacks launched by liberal media personalities. (Let alone baby-killing quotes.) Why can't they find the rhetoric? Because nobody on the left with any sort of national platform has targeted military recruiters in recent years. If they had, Malkin would have included the damning quotes in her column. (Either that, or she needs to hire a new researcher.)