Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Bill O'Reilly: Put up or shut up

Joe Conason precisely characterizes the latest Bill O'Reilly column as a "self-pitying" whine-fest [that would gag a maggot, I must add; read only with a strong stomach].

I especially had to take note of a couple of lines:
Attempting to smear and destroy the reputations of those with whom you politically disagree is not satire.

No, it's not.

It's called the Arkansas Project.

Or it's called "Al Gore invented the Internet".

And it's called labeling your political opponents "traitors."

No, that's not satire. That's using your medium to carelessly malign people with whom you disagree politically.

That's selling falsehoods that benefit your own political agenda.

That's selling your journalistic soul in the service of spewing partisan propaganda.

And no matter how you cut it, Fox and Bill O'Reilly do it. In spades.

Of course, I also noticed this passage:
It makes me sick to see intellectually dishonest individuals hide behind the First Amendment to spread propaganda, libel and slander.

I trust that he keeps a barfbag handy while he's on the air, then.

The truth is this: If Al Franken committed libel, then make your case in court on that basis, Mr. O'Reilly -- not on risibly baseless harassment suits like the one you filed.

You see, Franken's book is not protected from a libel suit by the First Amendment. You can file such a suit at any time, Mr. O'Reilly.

But if you can't prove he libeled you, then you have no basis for claiming in public that he did.

Let's put it this way, Mr. O'Reilly: Your claim that Al Franken libeled you is false; in fact, every word he printed about you was perfectly accurate and factual in every respect. You know this -- indeed, you have yet to publish or broadcast any kind of factual refutation of Franken's account -- rather, you have only blustered and blithely claimed that Franken "libeled" you and that he "got it wrong," but you offer no facts in evidence of these claims. You know you'd lose any libel suit you brought on the matter of truthfulness alone (let alone the malicious-intent clause).

Bill O'Reilly is clearly a liar. He can feel free to sue me for saying that -- but the truth is, he would lose.

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