While hosting ABC's The View in 2007, Rosie O'Donnell discussed the September 11 attacks and said of World Trade Center Building 7: "It's impossible for a building to fall the way it fell without explosives being involved. World Trade Center 7. World Trade Center 1 and 2 got hit by planes. 7, miraculously, for the first time in history, steel was melted by fire. It is physically impossible."
Following her remarks, Fox News hosts and contributors criticized Rosie, calling her 9-11 comments "hurtful," "grossly irresponsible," "insane" and mainstreaming "nasty kind of stuff." Sean Hannity wondered why ABC didn't "take the steps to get rid of her."
But Rosie's remarks echo beliefs now shared by Fox News' Andrew Napolitano. As Media Matters documented, Napolitano told 9-11 "inside job" conspiracy theory leader Alex Jones that it is "hard for me to believe that" building 7 "came down by itself" and claimed that "twenty years from now, people will look at 9-11 the way we look at the assassination of JFK today. It couldn't possibly have been done the way the government told us."
The claim that building 7 didn't come down by itself is a central tenet of 9-11 conspiracy theories. Popular Mechanics has debunked conspiracy theories related to building 7.
Media Matters has noted that using Fox News' standard, Napolitano "should be fired immediately" for being a 9-11 Truther.
Fox News blasts Rosie for building 7 remarks
O'Reilly: "Anti-American" Rosie "hurtful" and "grossly irresponsible"
During the October 29, 2007, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly criticized Rosie for her 9-11 remarks on The View. After playing a clip of Rosie's remarks, O'Reilly said:
O'REILLY: Now, we wanted to talk to Ms. O'Donnell to convince her to rethink her point of view on this subject. We wanted to tell the woman that this kind of propaganda is hurtful to those who have lost loved ones on 9-11 and damaging to America's image abroad. We wanted to let Rosie O'Donnell know that Purdue University, perhaps the finest engineering school in the world, did an exhaustive study on 9-11 and debunks the loopy conspiracy theories.
But Ms. O'Donnell would not speak with us. So producer Jesse Watters went to her.
O'Reilly then played footage of Waters questioning O'Donnell.
O'Reilly concluded his Talking Points Memo by stating:
Now "Talking Points" regrets any imposition on Ms. O'Donnell's time. But she does have a responsibility to her country to be honest and stop providing comfort, comfort to terrorists and others who would harm Americans, including her own family.
It's apparent the far left feeds off the people like Rosie O'Donnell. And now believes it can do pretty much anything that it wants to do, including invading churches, creating films that incite violence against Americans.
If Ms. O'Donnell wants to have a rational conversation, our invitation is still open. We doubt she will take it. To me the woman is bitterly anti-American and grossly irresponsible in her public statements.
But the more serious matter is the rise of dangerous radicals roaming the country unchallenged, infringing on freedom of speech, disrupting worship, insulting decent people. While most of the media turns a blind eye to that behavior, we do not. We will deal with it here. No Spin. And that's "The Memo."
In a following segment (via Nexis), O'Reilly claimed of Rosie and people holding similar views: "They hurt people who lost loved ones on 9-11 and then are not held accountable by anybody but me."
In April 2007, O'Reilly commented on Rosie and Don Imus by stating that "broadcasters and the companies that hire them have a responsibility not to spout crackpot theories and not to injure college girls":
What we do know is that broadcasters and the companies that hire them have a responsibility not to spout crackpot theories and not to injure college girls. Words can hurt, and, in Ms. O'Donnell's case, can be used to influence ignorant people abroad: "See, we told you Al Qaeda had nothing to do with 9-11. America attacked itself" -- that kind of stupid stuff.
Now, in the end, the marketplace will sort out Imus, Rosie, and NBC News. It always does. But, on the way to resolution, damage has been done.
And that's "The Memo."
Hannity wonders why ABC didn't "take the steps to get rid of" Rosie for 9-11 and other views
During the May 25, 2007, edition of Hannity & Colmes (retrieved from Nexis), Hannity said that "Rosie has gotten away with these insane statements about conspiracy theories for 9-11, you know, radical Christianity in America is as bad as radical Islam, you know, the hateful comments and the personal mean, nasty, vicious attacks against her co-hosts." Hannity later said:
HANNITY: Curtis, let me ask you this question.
SLIWA: And you know what really disturbs me? When she makes comparisons between "I'm in the mood for jihad," the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad, or she talked about Saddam Hussein, or Kim Jong "Mentally" Il, behind the rice cake curtain of North Korea. And she actually puts them on the same level. And you say, "You've got to be joking, Rosie. You don't understand those are despotic dictators, tyrants?"
HANNITY: Hey, Curtis, why if she said all these things and calls our president a dictator, calls the troops terrorists, she makes these 9-11 conspiracy theories up, why didn't ABC take the steps to get rid of her? Why did it take...
MANCOW: Because they agree with her. They agree with her. Because they love her, and they agree with her.
HANNITY: Is that it?
MANCOW: Yes. And that's why they put on the weakest, most uninformed girl they can. Elisabeth is a very nice person. She's not equipped to go against this...
HENICAN: Sean thinks she's a genius.
HANNITY: She's just not mean, nasty and loud.
John Gibson: Rosie "over the top"; Ham: Rosie mainstreaming "nasty kind of stuff"
In October 2007, John Gibson - now a Fox News Radio host - and Fox News contributor Mary Katharine Ham criticized Rosie. Both said that her criticism accounted to her being a "full fledged truther" and Ham criticized her for "mainstreaming this nasty kind of stuff."
From the October 29, 2007, edition of Fox News' The Big Story (which has since been canceled):
GIBSON: New now on THE BIG STORY, Rosie O'Donnell's over the top 9-11 conspiracy theories. She has said things like fire can't melt steel. She had suggested the U.S. government had a hand at bringing down the World Trade Center building number seven.
GIBSON: Even Bill Clinton scolded some 9-11 truthers who were screaming out last week about an inside job so when is Rosie finally going to say I was wrong about all this? With us now, managing editor for Townhall.com, columnist Mary Katharine Ham. So, Mary Katharine, look, Rosie says I was misquoted in the sense that all those 9-11 truthers chant 9-11 was an inside job. Even if you stick exactly to what she said, which is questioning the World Trade Center and how it came down, doesn't it lead to the same place as all those other 9-11 truthers go?
MARY KATHARINE HAM, MANAGING EDITOR, TOWNHALL: Yeah, it's nonsense for her to say that she's not a truther, she's a full fledged truther, she has been for quite some time and she's made it very clear. And I actually did the treacherous work of reading Rosie's blog this week and as you know, she writes in verse, very bad verse and she said I am sure buildings do not fall as that one did without explosives involved. So, in very bad poetry, that is how Rosie feels about it and she constantly talks about it.
GIBSON: She has these 9-11 conspiracy theories. Why is she trying to deny it?
HAM: That's a really good question with the waning sales of her book, it has been very bad, reportedly. They may be her only audience so I'm not sure why she is trying to distance herself at all. She may as well go whole hog and grab some book sales.
GIBSON: Is it enough for any of the 9-11 truthers, Rosie included, can they say look, I only want half this loaf. I only want a bite of this theory or if you take a nibble, you have really got it all.
HAM: Yeah, I think once you start implying that WTC 7 was brought down by a controlled demolition, you're pretty much all in. She can't accept the fact that it was damaged by falling debris from the two large burning skyscrapers nearby. I'm not sure why that's so hard to accept. But once you're in, you're in and Rosie is in. I don't know, maybe she should set up a book signing at a Ron Paul rally because (INAUDIBLE).
GIBSON: Should it be embarrassing to Rosie that she has Bill Clinton lecturing 9-11 truthers, how dare you he says? How dare you. And he pointed that bony finger at him. And you got Bill Maher, nobody's more liberal than these two, and both of them have completely shut down 9-11 truthers. Why is Rosie still out there?
HAM: Well I think that's the bright side of this, that although people like Rosie are responsible for mainstreaming this nasty kind of stuff, folks like Bill Maher and Bill Clinton are stepping up to say, hey, this is wrong and I think that those whackos who do believe in 9-11 conspiracy theories need to hear that from folks on the left because they're inclined to think that folks on the right are lying about it.