O'Reilly criticized Free Republic comments about Clinton despite objectionable comments on his own site

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

On the July 31 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly again attacked liberal blog Daily Kos as a "hate website" and said "[i]t is the Ku Klux Klan." He also criticized right-wing website Free Republic for posting "vile, hateful stuff," saying to Free Republic spokesman Kristinn Taylor: "[W]e pulled a bunch of stuff off your website today and it's pretty vile; it's pretty awful. You've got some pretty sick people posting -- a couple of examples: 'Homosexuals are dogs.' 'I hate blacks.' '[Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] should be assassinated.' 'A stray bullet should kill her' -- and on and on and on. ... [T]his is all on your website today." Guest and former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) later said of these examples: "[Y]ou don't find people posting that on a Fox News website." O'Reilly responded: "No, you don't, because we have standards." But on O'Reilly's own website, BillOReilly.com, as of 1 p.m. ET on August 1, comments attacking Clinton previously documented by AMERICAblog.com remain.

In one, a commenter remarks: "If Hillary wins, I will be respectful of our leader. If you could read my thoughts, I would be on the SS [Secret Service] watch list."

In another, a commenter writes in reference to Clinton: "As a woman, I would open the door for her ... now, if there was nothing on the other side but empty space and a 50 foot drop into a moat filled leeches and (gulp) rats ... well, I can't be held responsible."

On the July 26 edition of his show, while discussing Daily Kos, Fox News contributor Jane Hall said to him, "You had hateful comments on your website about Hillary Clinton," and O'Reilly responded: "No, I didn't. We took them off." But as Media Matters for America documented, the above comments could be found on BillOReilly.com at the time.

Further, responding to O'Reilly's criticism of Free Republic, Taylor claimed that "people ... come on the site deliberately to post things to make the site look bad." O'Reilly responded: "That's the same argument that the left-wing Nazi hate sites make -- that it's not really them; it's others." However, on the July 24 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly himself made this argument, accusing Daily Kos of having "planted someone" to leave offensive comments on his website. Later on the July 31 broadcast, O'Reilly appeared to reverse his position again, adding: "But you're right, a lot of it's planted."

Also, discussing the Democratic presidential candidates' decision to attend the YearlyKos Convention, O'Reilly claimed that Daily Kos "has intimidated the Democratic presidential candidates with the exception of Senator [Joseph] Biden [D-DE]," who has decided not to attend the convention. O'Reilly later said the Democrats are "afraid of them. They're afraid that they'll get smeared." O'Reilly similarly lauded Biden for not attending YearlyKos on the July 30 edition of his program. However, as Media Matters also noted, Biden's campaign -- in a diary entry on Daily Kos -- issued a response to the Factor segment describing O'Reilly's comments as "reckless" and "a total misrepresentation."

As Media Matters has documented, O'Reilly has repeatedly attacked Daily Kos in recent weeks, comparing it to the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacist David Duke, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, and gangster Al Capone.

From the July 31 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: In the "Impact" segment tonight, as we've been reporting, the hate website Daily Kos has intimidated the Democratic presidential candidates with the exception of Senator Biden. So they are speaking at the Kos convention this coming weekend. There's no question that the most vile stuff imaginable is posted on this hate site and others like it.

Now, some on the left justify the garbage by pointing to right-wing websites like FreeRepublic.com, whose postings can get nasty as well.

With us now in the studio -- former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr., now a Fox News analyst, and from Washington, Kristinn Taylor, a spokesperson for the Free Republic.

Mr. Taylor, I have to say, you know, we pulled a bunch of stuff off your website today and it's pretty vile; it's pretty awful. You've got some pretty sick people posting -- a couple of examples: "Homosexuals are dogs." "I hate blacks." "Hillary Clinton should be assassinated." "A stray bullet should kill her" -- and on and on and on.

TAYLOR: Well, Bill, all those things --

O'REILLY: You know, this is all on your website today.

TAYLOR: Well, all those things that you said violate our posting guidelines, and if we find them, we will remove them. That's not what we're about.

O'REILLY: What do you mean, if we find them?

TAYLOR: If we find them. We --

O'REILLY: This is what I don't understand. I found them, and it wasn't hard. And I went back and we did a trace just on me and some of the stuff that has been posted about me on your website, and it's just unbelievable. But when you say, "if we find them," shouldn't there be somebody there supervising this website?

TAYLOR: We do have volunteer moderators.

O'REILLY: Volunteer.

TAYLOR: However, now, there are thousands upon thousands of comments that are posted to the site every day. We don't exercise prior restraint. We rely on the good sense of people that are posting there, and 99 percent of them are good people who stay within our guidelines.

O'REILLY: OK.

TAYLOR: You also have people that come on the site deliberately to post things to make the site look bad.

O'REILLY: That's right.

TAYLOR: We used to have people that would post hardcore pornography pictures.

O'REILLY: But here -- let me give you -- let me give you some advice. That's the same argument that the left-wing Nazi hate sites make -- that it's not really them; it's others. Don't you have an obligation to the country to have not volunteers, but to have a professional person sit there and enforce some kind of standards for your website?

TAYLOR: It costs money, Bill. It costs money. Free Republic operates on donations.

O'REILLY: You got a lot people -- you know what? I bet you if you asked for donations for that, you would be able -- because as you said, most people are good people who come in. They would give you money so that they wouldn't have to be besmirched by these sick people. And they're sick.

But you're right, a lot of it's planted. And a lot of it is just crazy people who are surfing. But I believe you have an obligation, Mr. Taylor, to clean this thing up. It doesn't do you any good, because that's what they seize on.

TAYLOR: We do. I agree with you, Bill, and whenever we find it -- if I find it -- I report it to our moderators and they take care of it.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, you should do a better job because just today this is vile, hateful stuff.

Now, Harold Ford Jr. was the subject of some of this when you ran the last time around. But I have to say, and this is absolutely my opinion, I looked at Free Republic and I looked at Daily Kos, and Daily Kos is far worse. They revel in this kind of stuff.

The cartoon last night we showed of President Bush and Joseph Lieberman -- way beyond anything of free speech. It's hate. It's hate.

Now, you as an African-American, and you as somebody who's been subjected to hate, I mean, why aren't the Democrats distancing themselves from this?

FORD: Well, let me be clear. I'm not here to represent Daily Kos or Free Republic. I'm a believer and a supporter of free speech.

Nonetheless, there comes a time in political debate when one would hope it would be elevated to discussing the big, big issues. I'm the chair of a group called the Democratic Leadership Council. We've been subjected to untrue and awful and malicious things by a number of different websites.

We just continue to move forward and trek ahead. I do think that there's a lot to be said for providing resources and people who support these sites, the good people who may believe in -- what I don't understand is what Free Republic, frankly, believes in, because if you feel comfortable enough to post "I hate blacks" on a website -- you don't find people posting that on a Fox News website. So, there must --

O'REILLY: No, you don't, because we have standards. And that's what I told Mr. Taylor, that he's got to be more vigilant and hire somebody professionally to regulate it.

FORD: And on both sides, this is not -- but I think that is --

O'REILLY: But, look, here's how it gets elevated up. When you have all the Democratic presidential candidates, with the exception of Senator Biden, as I mentioned, going to a Kos convention, when they -- it is a hate site. It is the Ku Klux Klan. There's no difference. And why are they going, my God? Why are they going?

FORD: Hopefully, they will go and they will share their views and make clear that they are not aligned, much like Kristinn did here when he indicated that's not what Free Republic stands for.

O'REILLY: But why would you elevate anything like that?

FORD: I think Daily Kos -- I don't agree with all that they do, their political views, viewpoints -- but I think they make valid points that are agreed to by a number of Americans that the --

O'REILLY: But that doesn't matter. Every website can make valid points. If you traffic in hatred, as they do, if you demean the country and the office of the presidency and Joseph Lieberman, if you do that, you can't legitimize it. Surely you know that.

FORD: Personal attacks on anyone shouldn't have any place in politics. Unfortunately, it does.

O'REILLY: Well, certainly you know that that's what this website Kos is.

[...]

O'REILLY: All right. Now it'll be interesting to see if any -- if they scold them, if Hillary Clinton goes in there and scolds them, then we'll run it. But I don't think they will because they're afraid of them. They're afraid that they'll get smeared.

FORD: Right. And that's a decision they have to make and they'll have to answer those questions. But I do think as a free speech supporter -- and I'm an enormous one of that -- people have every right to share what they want to share.

O'REILLY: Do you support hate speech?

FORD: I think -- no, anything that incites, of course not.

O'REILLY: OK. I support free speech, but I draw the line at hate speech.

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