Tuesday, June 2, 2009

O'Reilly Defends His Rhetoric on Tiller

As predicted, Bill O'Reilly used his show last night to condemn the killing of Dr. George Tiller (in about 30 seconds) and also use the rest of the time to defend his own language that he used for years in condemning the doctor as "Tiller the Baby Killer" and using language like:

OK. So, I'm the fascist, I'm the bad guy, I'm the problem. Not Tiller. No, he -- no, no, no. He's a good guy. Now, Tiller's pumping all kinds of money into obviously the attorney general race. He wants the guy that's gonna let him off the hook to win. Those of you listening in Kansas, you ought to know that. You know, I don't -- I'm not gonna tell you who to vote for. You guys know these guys better than I do, but I tell you what, anything Tiller wants, I'm voting the other way. And if I could get my hands on Tiller -- well, you know. Can't be vigilantes. Can't do that. It's just a figure of speech.

Here was O'Reilly's intro into his show last night:

and here was a segment later on with Juan Williams and Mary Katherine Ham:

Interesting and typical strategy for O'Reilly. He gets criticized for labeling this man a "baby killer", a "murderer" and for operating a "death mill" and he uses the vast majority of his show to have on the typical group of commentators that always come to O'Reilly's aide and denounce anyone who is critical of this kind of language.

Jeffrey Feldman over at the Huffington Post wrote an interesting piece which is relevant to this discussion:

The murderer of Dr. George Tiller is the product of a political movement that has so thoroughly expanded the definition of "murder" that it now includes everything and everyone who rejects or even questions the idea that a zygote is a citizen. Until that movement changes its focus, it will continue to give rise to activists who kill doctors.


Even among those who would never condone violent acts in politics, many feel perfectly comfortable contributing to the political rhetoric that has steadily expanded the definition of "murder" to the point where it cultivates actual political violence. In 2009, the right-wing definition of what constitutes the "murder" of babies goes far beyond the actual abortion of a fetus to encompass a vast range of political views, situations and people. It has become commonplace on the right, for example, to talk about defrosting frozen embryos as an act of "murder." Many on the right talk about the so-called "morning after pill" and the RU486 "abortion pill" as "murder." Many on the right even talk about birth control as "murder."


Steeped in this expanding definition of "murder," almost all right-wing political participants choose violent rhetoric over violent action. They choose to call someone a "murderer, rather than killing a doctor, as a protest against abortion.

But because the rhetoric has steadily expanded to such a vast range of political views and actions that have all been encompassed by one giant concept of "murder," there are some right-wing activists who do chose violent action as the best way to bring about political change.

No matter how many or how few late term abortions are performed, so long as the right-wing anti-abortion movement continues to fold dissent into an ever-expanding definition of "murder," then the right-wing will continue to give rise to activists who kill doctors.

O'Reilly's continued use of the words "killer", "murder", "execute", and "death mill" along with his comparisons of Tiller's procedures to Hitler's Germany and other brutal regimes, do nothing to advance any kind of meaningful debate on the issue. These tactics also allow zero room for finding any common ground with those who hold an opposing view on this issue. Using this type of terminology on 28 episodes of his show can only appeal to the extremist-wing of the pro-life movement, a wing that has produced various acts of violence over the years.

For O'Reilly to play the victim during these times and claim that he knew that the "Fox News haters" would be out to attack him on this because he is a "powerful person" shows his arrogance and twisted perspective on this issue.

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