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Joan Walsh Took on Bill O’Reilly

She stays calm, he stays crazyts-o_reilly_factor

Abortion is a tricky subject.  Personally, I’m pro-choice, but after 15 years of arguing about it, I’ve resigned myself to avoid the abortion debate.  It is a sensitive issue.  For a lot of people, it’s a religious issue.  For others, a feminist issues.

Nonetheless, I think we can all agree that tossing around terms like “baby killer” or “abortion mill” do nothing but inflame an already inflammatory issue the discussion or try to reach a common solution about the abortion debate.  It’s inflammatory an unnecessary rhetoric.  Furthermore, it is rhetoric that, TMIMO, lead, in some way, to the murder of Dr. George Tiller.

It doesn’t matter whether you think late term abortion is wrong (always or only in some cases), or whether the legal facility which Tiller operated was a moral abomination. (I say “legal,” fully understanding that the legality of an activity doesn’t make it “right,” whatever “right” means to you.)  The point is that vigilante justice is no justice at all.  Justice should be sought from one’s government and legislators.

I also hope that we can all agree that violence begets violence, and violent speech, often results in violent behavior.  Those individuals who are public figures or members of the media, therefore, have an obligation to watch their damn mouths.  What is incomprehensible to me is that even in the wake of Tiller’s death, the inflammatory rhetoric has not abated.  There are people who are glad that he’s dead (and have no problem saying so in a public forum), who prayed for his death, and even after Tiller’s murder, continue to malign him.  It’s disrepectful to his memory, it’s disrepectful to his family, and it’s not journalism. It just isn’t.

Considering the frequency with which O’Reilly spouted hate speech about Tiller: “Yes, I think we all know what this is. And if the state of Kansas doesn’t stop this man, then anybody who prevents that from happening has blood on their hands…,” it’s no wonder that he came under fire after Tiller’s murder.

Of course he’s saying it’s “far left lunacy” that has him under the gun.  No Bill.  It’s the fact that you are a hypocritical proven misogynist who seems to think that women get abortions because they wake up one day and are feeling “a little blue” or because they want to “go to more concerts” and “play sports”–as if undergoing such a personal and often traumatic experience is something that women regularly do just because they feel like it.

So, Joan Walsh, of Salon.com, called him vile (via Twitter), and when he invited her onto his show, The O’Reilly Factor, she felt obligated to call him vile to his face.  Apparently she prepared like hell, even got debate tips from her ex-husband, her friends, and even fans on Twitter.  (Her blog post on the subject is worth a read.)

Some called her crazy… why would any thinking liberal attempt to reason with a man whose show is not about debate or politics, really, but about shutting up, harassing, and bullying people who don’t agree with him?  (At one point he yelled at Ms. Walsh, “STOP TALKING!”)

I know Bill O’Reilly’s shenanigans aren’t news.  Why am I bothering to even write about him, right?  It’s like pissing into the wind.  But too many times, liberals appear on his show only to be made to look like a fool, and, here, I think Ms. Walsh handled herself quite well.  She got snarky at the end–just enough to get her point across–without coming across as “bitchy” or “aggressive” or a “ball-breaker” (and whatever other sexist terms are used to describe women who don’t wile away their days barefoot and pregnant.)  She came across as reasonable and he came across like a rabid jackass– right from the very first question which he asked her over and over and over: “Do you feel that late-term fetuses deserve any protections at all, Ms. Walsh?”

Oy vey.

Video after the jump.



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June 16, 2009 - Posted by | Culture Critic, Doosh Watch 2009, News You May or May Not Use, Politiks | , , , , , , , , , ,

33 Comments »

  1. I wish I could see this. For some reason my workplace doesn’t let me view anything like this. ARGH!

    I understand how the whole pro-choice/pro-life debate gets ugly, but what I don’t think can be disputed is the fact that O’Rielly, while not directly responsible cannot act like he had no influence in the unfortunate killing of Dr. Tiller.

    Comment by blah | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. I don’t think it’s fair to imply that he had any influence on Dr. Tiller’s murder – NOT that I’m condoning his comment in the least – but, I’ve managed to avoid ever seeing O’Rielly in anything other than a picture on this website for 28 years, so it’s entirely possible that there are others like me – untainted by the stench of tight ass. To say that the murder of Dr. Tiller was influenced, at all, by O’Rielly is implying that he has far more exposure than, I think, he deserves.

    Comment by AdmittedlyAddicted | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  3. I am of the opinion, more strongly each year, that media figures and political leaders have more influence, and thus greater responsibility, than we realize. Even if von Brunn never heard of Bill O’Reilly, those words resonated with other people and were probably repeated. Mr. Bill’s words don’t exist in a vacuum, but in a network of conversations among many people who trade words and recombine them in different ways. By continuing to say hateful things, Mr. Bill simply perpetuates the cycle of hate and violence by extending and building upon that network of conversations. In that network, or context, von Brunn felt the need to kill someone.

    None of this is to claim that Mr. Bill needs to be prosecuted in the matter of Dr. Tiller’s murder. I’m speaking of the sense of responsibility that can only be claimed for oneself, much like ownership, not foisted upon another. Mr. Bill clearly does not claim anything and doesn’t feel the need to manage the effect that his words have on the populace and our culture at large.

    As a corollary, I believe that Bush Jr. had a hand in the malignment of Muslims post-9/11, by not being an example of someone who can distinguish between extremists and normal, decent people who happen to be Muslim. He did almost nothing to stem the anti-Islamic tide. As the President, he had an enormous opportunity to focus attention on the real problem and not distract us with ignorance about Islam. He squandered that opportunity and we are still suffering from the effects in our standing among the rest of the world.

    Comment by WhoMee | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  4. I agree with you on the part about avoiding the issue, I still think that it’s a matter of when does life actually take place, and for a lot of women it’s also a health issue. either way i dont think it should be outlawed. check out http://www.yovia.com/blogs/timlara for the liberal side and http://www.yovia.com/blogs/vargoza for the repub side of the debate

    Comment by Tim Lara | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  5. Right on, WhoMee, and very well said written.
    *appreciative applause*

    Comment by Stay, see? | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  6. Interesting take, and I can totally see where you’re coming from…but I still disagree. Media and political figures have the same exposure – okay, maybe a little more with the internet – but anyway, they’ve always had exposure. Saying that their comments should be censored (not in the literal term, and not that some sort of “think before you speak” shouldn’t be present) because it might lead someone to think it would be okay to act in a certain way is giving people with a failing moral compass an excuse to be heinous.

    At some point, adults need to be held responsible for their actions. It isn’t beyond a normally functioning person to understand there will be differing opinions among a population. It shouldn’t be some justification for someone else’s actions. Are public figures role models? Yes. But so are peers, and I know I heard more than once in my life – “Just because Jessica is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s right.”

    I don’t agree with his statements, but I also don’t agree that they should provide a crutch for some other idiot.

    I don’t even know if any of that makes sense…it’s the end of a long, boring work day and my thoughts are general disjointed.

    Comment by AdmittedlyAddicted | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  7. I think we’re actually on the same page, AA. When I refer to responsibility, I am NOT saying blame or credit. It would make no sense to blame Dr. Tiller’s murder on O’Reilly’s words. Mr. von Brunn DID pull the trigger, so he’s the one to prosecute.

    I’m only referring to the “think before you speak” sense of responsibility, the kind that one must choose for him or herself. It’s a claim of ownership, as in, “I have say in the matter of what is happening around me and what I say matters. Therefore, I will (or will not) say ….” No one can make anyone be responsible in this way, but anyone can take on this kind of ownership/responsibility for him or herself. I believe that this kind of responsibility is at play when TV networks agree not to broadcast national election results until the Pacific time zone’s polls were closed. They know the impact of what they broadcast and are voluntarily keeping their mouths shut, for the benefit of our democracy, which they influence with those broadcasts.

    Mr. Bill appears to refuse to take ownership of his own words and the effect they have on our culture and society, much like the mullahs who issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie.

    I think another way of conveying all this is to ask, “If your words matter and make a difference, then what difference do you wish to make with the words you say?”

    Comment by WhoMee | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  8. I’m going to agree with WhoMee because of this: B-O (as I will refer to Mr. Bill) isn’t just stating his opinion AS his opinion. He’s supporting it with (mostly fabricated) facts. He presents himself as a journalist and that holds him to a higher standard of accountability than any other public figure.

    Beyond that, he’s not sharing his opinion to an isolated group of people, like his friends and family. He’s shouting it (and I do mean shouting) on national television, and telling people what is morally right and wrong. He has expressed the view that he is glad that Tiller is dead, that Tiller deserves it, and he has supported that view with (again, fabricated) facts about Tiller’s practice and abortion in general. He is not giving any disclaimers like “obviously I’m just venting and would never actually advocate the murder of anyone”–he’s outright saying things that suggest that killing Tiller and people like him would be morally correct.
    Now, I can’t make him shut up, and ultimately we are all responsible for ourselves, and I certainly am not influenced by B-O to act on anything he says, so no one should be able to say “B-O made me do it!”
    But B-O spews hatred, and I happen to think that doing so in the manner he does is reprehensible. It is contributing to a greater context of hate, directed hate, in our society of which there are very real victims, including Dr. Tiller. B-O is not the only one adding to this context of hate, but he is a very vocal component of it, and, again, backing it with (false) facts, thus attempting to prove that his is the ONLY view to have.
    If you want to protect fetuses, don’t let them be born into a world with hate-spreading asshole’s like B-O. I do think he is vile.
    But I would never tell anyone to go kill him. Take him off the air, sure. Try to get him to see reason, definitely. He deserves to live.
    I just hope he has a miserable life.

    Comment by TheHobo | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  9. Bill-o the Clown (stolen from Keith Olbermann) and that douche that heads the vigilante group that Dr. Tiller’s murder belonged to(can’t remember the name) should both be at the very least charged with conspiracy to commit murder after making public incindiary comments prior to and in the wake of Dr. Tiller’s murder. After the neo-cons dismissed a CIA report indicating an increase in extreme right-wing violence, EVERYONE in the media had the professional and moral responsibility to refrain from incidiary remarks, not all comments, just those that are used intentionally to spark an extreme emotional response. Then again, Fox News would would probably be off the air if that was the case and what would the neo-cons watch after their klan meetings and witch burnings?

    Comment by drgnsldr | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  10. drgnsldr (dragon sledder? I’m probably reading that wrong, but it’s a fun mental image…): Have you seen OutFoxed?

    I have a friend who watches Fox News. We have other things in common, but I have to try to stop myself from saying things like, “you know that’s all bs, right?”

    Comment by TheHobo | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  11. I always read that screen name as “dragon solder.” I assume s/he’s some kind of Middle Earth welder. You know, much in the way that I’m a be-gilled feline. 😉

    Comment by SeaKat | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  12. actually, it’s dragon soldier, I was a chemical operations specialist in the army and The U.S. Army chemical Corps is known as the dragon soldiers. I also have the dragon that appears in the corp’s coat-of-arms tattooed on my left shoulder.(Hey I was 18 and just got out of boot camp and it seemed like a good idea at the time)

    Hobo: This OutFoxed sounds interesting I’ll have to check it out.

    Comment by drgnsldr | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  13. I read “dragon slider” but only after i misread it “dragon slayer.”

    Maybe it’s Dr. Gnsldr. Hey didn’t he start a petition on Mollygood? :-p Maybe that was another Dr.

    Edit: Didn’t see your explanation til I had already posted this.

    Comment by baby fish mouth | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  14. Dr. Gonas-Lieder

    Drive Go Nose Loader

    D-Rag Nestle Doctor.

    Door Goon Salad-er.

    Dare Gain Solo Driver.

    Yeah, still not sure 😉

    Comment by TheHobo | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  15. LMAO BFM! I take a change of my “handle” is in order?

    Comment by drgnsldr | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  16. Oh geez Hobo, between you and BFM I haven’t taken solid breath without some sort of fit of laughter. Totally makes up for the crappy weather we’re getting in God’s Mitten.

    Comment by drgnsldr | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  17. God’s Mitten =? the lower half of Michigan

    Comment by WhoMee | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  18. I really could have lived a long, happy life without hearing Bill O spew the name of my school like that (“JOHNS!!! HOPKINS!!!”).

    I couldn’t get though any more of this clip. My tolerance for his BS ended about two seconds after I first saw him on the air.

    Comment by Stay, see? | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  19. Wait, wait, wait! We’re skipping over the important stuff here.

    drgnsldr is a smart male with impeccable taste in internet sites??

    Is he single? ::quirks eyebrow inquisitively::

    No reason. Just curious.

    ::starts whistling “Matchmaker” from Fiddler on The Roof::

    Comment by SeaKat | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  20. YEAH AND HE’S A DOCTOR! I think.

    Comment by baby fish mouth | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  21. bfm, don’t think YOU’RE free from my yenta-gaze ™.

    Comment by SeaKat | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  22. I thought I could feel someone’s eyeholes on me.

    Comment by baby fish mouth | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  23. drgnsldr: didn’t see the explanation till I posted either..it’s a great name! Just amusing to play with 😉

    SeaKat: Oy ve! (I have no idea how to spell that).

    BFM: Let’s throw some kittens at her and run away!

    Comment by TheHobo | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  24. yenta-gaze(TM) is immune to kittehs.

    yenta-gaze(TM) sees only the beeeYOOOteful babehs you could make with this handsome young man, and he’s a DOCtah, I tell you!

    Comment by SeaKat | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  25. jew guyz R crazee.

    Comment by DonnaMartin | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  26. I’mma lookin at choo, too, schweeetheart.

    Comment by SeaKat | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  27. Sorry to burst your bubble ladies, I wish I was a doctor, I’m about a year away from finishing my Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and then going through the joys of taking the GMAT to get into a good B-School in order to get my MBA. I was actually turned on to Squee! by a mutual acquaintance Mae. After that, I’ve been hooked! you guys help keep my sanity level after studying. So that would make you guys like beer: bubbly, refreshing and intoxicating 😉

    Comment by drgnsldr | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  28. Oh Dr. Gnsldr, you’re so modest!

    Comment by baby fish mouth | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  29. Hey drgnsldr, invent a drink called a Ginslider, so you can call yourself Doctor Ginslider. Then you’ll have to beat ’em off with a stick.

    Comment by WhoMee | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  30. …a SWIZZLE stick!!! MIRITE??

    Comment by SeaKat | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  31. BFM, I don’t have much to brag about, but what I do have is a shit ton of ambition and just enough brains to use it. That being said, self-esteem is not an area I fall short on.

    WhoMee, That sounds like a brilliant idea! Also, unless I get a huge raise on my GI Bill or Pell Grants that will be the only way I become a doctor! But I guess MBA(and tentatively J.D.) after my name wouldn’t be turn off.

    Comment by drgnsldr | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  32. drgnsldr: just be funny.

    Seriously, I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t find a decent-looking guy who’s really funny WAY hotter than the really, really good looking* guy who is dull. Unless she’s beautiful but dumb. And you don’t want that girl, right??

    *This is not to say that you’re not really, really good looking. I’m sure you are. I’m just making a point.

    Comment by SeaKat | June 17, 2009 | Reply

  33. okay, i forgot i posted here and was in the middle of a discussion until just now…and I am very VERY sorry that I missed all of that, because seriously I’m spewed iced coffee everywhere. Dr. Ginslider?? YES! I’m totally telling my husband to use that next time we go out. I just wanna see how it works. 😉 Although, I do admit that BFM’s first mention of Dr. Gnsldr had me rolling…

    I heart you guys.

    Comment by AdmittedlyAddicted | June 18, 2009 | Reply


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