O'Reilly calls promise to "get into" NY Times' Rich and Keller's "lives" a "secular" "fatwa"January 5, 2006 12:00 PM EST ››› JULIE MILLICAN
On the January 3 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor, host Bill O'Reilly declared his January 2 threat to "get into" the "lives" of New York Times columnist Frank Rich and executive editor Bill Keller a "fatwa." According to the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary, a fatwa is a "legal opinion or decree handed down by an Islamic religious leader." O'Reilly described his fatwa as "a secular edict."
O'Reilly also declared the New York Times to be the "worst offender" of "the 'hate-Bush' press, the personal attack people," an example of reporting that is "cheap-shot garbage" and "false."
As Media Matters for America has previously noted, on the January 2 broadcast of his cable news show, Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly vowed to "get into" the "lives" of Rich and Keller for being, as O'Reilly claims, the "two main culprits" of a newspaper that "routinely uses personal attacks to hurt people with whom it disagrees."
From the January 3 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, which featured Fox News' Fox & Friends co-host E.D. Hill:
O'REILLY: All right, that's the no-spin news. And there's a whole bunch of stuff going to happen next week with the [Supreme Court nominee Samuel A.] Alito [Jr.] hearings in the Senate and all of that. But conjecture is conjecture -- we don't do it -- let's just deal with reality. Last night on the TV side, I issued a fatwa -- do you know what a fatwa is?
HILL: Yeah, a religious edict.
O'REILLY: Yeah, but it wasn't religious; it was a secular edict --
O'REILLY: -- against the --
HILL: It was an O'Reilly edict.
O'REILLY: -- the "hate-Bush" press, the personal attack people. And I said if you continue to do it, then we're going to lay out what you do in your life on the air. Now, I don't want to do that -- I don't want to do it, and I made it quite clear that I don't want to do it -- but enough is enough, and it has to stop, and it's going to stop.
The New York Times is the worst offender. They just will attack people personally when they -- they don't have to. Stay on the issues. If the American public feels that the Bush administration is dishonest or corrupt, the American public will deal with them through their senators and congresspeople. And they have in the polls already. You don't need to go in with cheap-shot garbage, and false reporting, and stacking the deck, and all of that. You know, let's be fair.