O'Reilly continued his harassment of Post TV critic

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

After an April 9 broadcast during which he called The Denver Post's TV critic "a far-left ideologue" for her column criticizing him, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News Channel had his producer follow the columnist, Joanne Ostrow, to a parking lot and conduct an ambush interview asking her whether she wanted to apologize.

Having already smeared Denver Post television critic Joanne Ostrow as "dishonest" and "a far-left ideologue" on the April 9 broadcast of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly continued to attack Ostrow on his April 11 broadcast. O'Reilly had his producer, Porter Berry, trail Ostrow to a Denver parking lot to conduct an ambush interview, videotaping the encounter and airing it on both The O'Reilly Factor and his nationally syndicated radio show, The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly.

As Colorado Media Matters noted, O'Reilly on April 9 attacked Ostrow because her April 7 column criticized O'Reilly's behavior during a heated interview with TV journalist Geraldo Rivera. Ostrow wrote:

When a girl was killed by a drunk driver in Virginia, a driver who happened to be an undocumented immigrant, O'Reilly seized the moment to turn the issue into a tirade against illegal aliens. O'Reilly spewed racist bile; Rivera objected forcefully. When Geraldo is the voice of reason driving home solid points, you know things are out of hand.

After claiming on his April 11 broadcast that Ostrow declined an invitation to appear on the show, O'Reilly said, "So Factor producer Porter Berry went to her." He then aired footage of Porter asking Ostrow if she wanted to "apologize" for accusing O'Reilly of "spewing racist bile." When Ostrow asked Berry, "Why are you stalking me in a parking lot?" he replied, "I'm not stalking you. We called you and invited you to come on the program, so -- because we want to get an explanation. When you call someone a racist and do those kinds of things, it deserves a little bit of an explanation."

From the April 11 broadcast of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: "Impact Segment" tonight, Virginia Beach still in an uproar over the deaths of two young women killed by a drunk illegal alien with an extensive criminal record. And I said all criminal aliens must be turned over to the feds. And Virginia Beach does not do that. For my troubles, some in the media have been attacking me. Writing in The Denver Post, Joanne Ostrow said, quote, "O'Reilly seized the moment to turn the issue into a tirade against illegal aliens. O'Reilly spewed racist bile." Pretty strong words. So we invited Ms. Ostrow on the program. She declined. So Factor producer Porter Berry went to her.

[begin video clip]

BERRY: When you wrote the piece that you, you said that Bill used it as an opportunity to go on a tirade against illegals, when the fact is, it was actually about -- it was a criminal illegals story. How do you explain that?

OSTROW: It's the reference to "illegals" instead of "undocumented" that I was referring to. Why didn't you guys just call me and ask for an interview?

BERRY: I called you yesterday and you declined the opportunity. I called -- I spoke to you yesterday.

OSTROW: Why are you stalking me in a parking lot?

BERRY: I'm not stalking you. We called you and invited you to come on the program, so -- because we want to get an explanation. When you call someone a racist and do those kinds of things, it deserves a little bit of an explanation. So the story is about a criminal illegal alien who had four priors -- in fact, one DUI. He killed two teenagers. That's what the story was about -- a criminal illegal, but you said O'Reilly went on a tirade against illegals. How can you explain that?

OSTROW: Because it changed the topic to talk about what he calls illegal aliens -- undocumented immigrants.

BERRY: But then you went on to say that he was spewing racist bile. Do you want to apologize for that?

OSTROW: To me it's racist.

BERRY: What's racist?

OSTROW: I was expressing myself.

BERRY: And, but that's fine, but shouldn't you give an example of -- if someone's a racist. If you're going to call someone a racist, shouldn't there be something to back that up?

OSTROW: I've already said it; now we're sort of repeating and repeating. Is O'Reilly upset that Imus is getting more attention these days?

BERRY: No, O'Reilly's not upset about that, but he doesn't like being called a racist by people when they can't give any examples and it's flat-out not true. Shouldn't you apologize? If someone called you a racist and it wasn't true, wouldn't you want them to apologize for saying something nasty and vile like that with nothing to back it up?

OSTROW: I would want them to catch me on the term "illegal alien." I, I don't think that's right.

[end video clip]

O'REILLY: All right, so, it's hard to believe, but because I used the term "illegal alien," I am a racist in this woman's opinion. This is The Denver Post. Now by the way, the Virginia Pilot newspaper also criticized me today, but didn't use personal attacks.

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