The Bill O'Reilly Speech Bill O'Reilly Didn't Want You To Hear
When Bill O'Reilly stepped up to receive his Media Courage Award from Family Research Council Action on Friday night, he had no intention of facing the media. In fact, as I reported, he shut us out.
Perhaps the host of FOX NewsChannel's "The O'Reilly Factor" didn't what to be seen accepting that award from FRCA's Tony Perkins, given the latter's sketchy background on matters of race. (Perkins spoke before the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens in 2001, and I saw him deliver a racially charged speech to the 2007 Reclaiming America for Christ conference in Coral Gables, Fla.)
It's more likely, however, that he wanted to deprive his arch-rival, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, of a video clip that would have been great fodder for Olbermann's ongoing war on all things O'Reilly.
Despair not, reader. Thanks to the generosity of my friend and colleague Angelia Wilson (who, as an academic and not a member of the media, had purchased a conference registration), we can glean the gist of O'Reilly's remarks from her copious notes.
Leaders of FRC Action, according to the organization's press release, chose to honor O'Reilly "for being a voice of virtue in a culture of death." O'Reilly's virtue, it seems, was his relentless hammering of Dr. George Tiller, who, until his murder by an anti-abortion extremist in June, was one of the few physicians in the country performing late-term abortions.
O'Reilly told the audience that when he checked out investigations of Tiller, to whom he repeatedly referred on the air as "Tiller the baby-killer," the TV host found much worthy of reporting. [UPDATE: Angelia Wilson tells me that O'Reilly contended that he never called Tiller a baby-killer, but simply reported that others had. The non-partisan group Politifact begs to differ.] O'Reilly was apparently referring to the targeting of Tiller's clinic by Phill Kline, former attorney general of Kansas and anti-abortion activists. As I wrote for The Public Eye earlier this year: