Did O'Reilly violate his own ambush rules?

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According to the O'Reilly Factor website, Bill O'Reilly will address "why ... the far left, in cahoots with NBC News, hurt a rape victim and her family." The post appears to be a reference to an "ambush" interview of the Center for American Progress' Amanda Terkel reportedly conducted by Factor producer Jesse Watters. But O'Reilly has previously suggested that the "ambush journalism" conducted by his producers is limited to targeting "public servants" and stated that prior to those "ambush" interviews, subjects would either be asked on the program or asked "to issue a clear statement explaining their actions."

According to a summary posted on the website of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, on the program's March 23 edition, host Bill O'Reilly will address "why ... the far left, in cahoots with NBC News, hurt a rape victim and her family." The post appears to be a reference to an "ambush" interview of Center for American Progress deputy research director Amanda Terkel reportedly conducted by Factor producer Jesse Watters. In a March 1 post to the blog ThinkProgress, Terkel noted that O'Reilly was scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for the rape survivors group Alexa Foundation and wrote that he "has made controversial comments about an 18-year-old woman, Jennifer Moore, who was raped and murdered, implying that it was partially her fault." In a March 23 post, Terkel wrote: "This weekend, while on vacation, I was ambushed by O'Reilly's top hit man, producer Jesse Watters, who accosted me on the street and told me that because I highlighted O'Reilly's comments, I was causing 'pain and suffering' to rape victims and their families." But O'Reilly has previously suggested that the "ambush journalism" conducted by his producers is limited to targeting "public servants" and stated that prior to those "ambush" interviews, subjects would either be asked on the program or asked "to issue a clear statement explaining their actions."

Terkel stated in her March 23 post that "O'Reilly never asked me for a statement nor invited me on his show" prior to her "ambush" interview by Watters; indeed, she wrote that after the ambush, "we contacted Watters and Loren Hynes, who works in Media Relations at Fox." She added: "We have yet to receive a response from them, or anyone else at the network, on Saturday's incident."

On the August 23, 2007, edition of his program, O'Reilly asserted:

O'REILLY: "Back of the Book" segment tonight: ambush journalism. As you may know, the Factor occasionally sends out producers to confront people who will not answer serious questions about controversial things they do, like judges giving child rapists probation, for example.

Now, some object to displays like these. But we feel they're a vital tool in holding public servants accountable for their actions, and we do not go after people lightly. We always ask them on the program first or to issue a clear statement explaining their actions.

From the website of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

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From Terkel's March 23 post:

This weekend, while on vacation, I was ambushed by O'Reilly's top hit man, producer Jesse Watters, who accosted me on the street and told me that because I highlighted O'Reilly's comments, I was causing "pain and suffering" to rape victims and their families. He of course offered no proof to back up this claim, instead choosing to shout questions at me.

I expect O'Reilly to air this "interview" at some point this week, possibly as early as tonight. I have no expectation that he will show the entire altercation or give the entire story about what happened, so here is the full account, offering a glimpse inside the O'Reilly harassment machine:

-- The Stalking: Watters and his camera man accosted me at approximately 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, in Winchester, VA, which is a two-hour drive from Washington, DC. My friend and I were in this small town for a short weekend vacation and had told no one about where we were going. I can only infer that the two men staked out my apartment and then followed me for two hours. Looking back, my friend and I remember seeing their tan SUV following us for much of the trip.

-- The Ambush: Shortly after checking into our lodgings, we emerged and immediately saw two men walking toward us calling out my name. Watters said he was from Fox News, but never said his or his companion's name, nor did he say he was with The O'Reilly Factor.

-- The Surprise Attack: Watters immediately began asking me why I was causing "pain and suffering" to the Alexa Foundation. He never gave me the context for his questions. Confused, I repeatedly asked him what he was talking about and whether he could refresh my memory, but he just continued shouting his question.

-- The Evasion: I said that it was inappropriate for O'Reilly to imply that just because a woman may be drunk and/or dressed in a certain way, she should expect to be raped. Watters asked me whether I had listened to the interview (which I had) and claimed that O'Reilly had made the comments in the context of a commentary on Mel Gibson/drunkenness. When I tried to ascertain why he was attacking ThinkProgress in particular -- even though other sites had also covered the story -- he said that we were part of the "smear pipeline," which also included the "Soros-funded" Media Matters. He ignored my comments when I asked if Fox News also smears people.

-- Setting A Guilt Trap: Watters ended the charade by demanding that I look into the camera and apologize to the Alexa Foundation and rape victims. I told them that I don't speak through Fox News and if someone from the Alexa Foundation would like to personally call me, I'd be happy to speak with that person.

-- More Stalking: The camera man then continued to film me as I walked down the block. After a few minutes while I waited at the light to cross the street, Watters called him back and they left.

This weekend, we contacted Watters and Loren Hynes, who works in Media Relations at Fox. We have yet to receive a response from them, or anyone else at the network, on Saturday's incident.

The main issue remains: O'Reilly should offer an apology/explanation of why, when a woman is raped and murdered, it's relevant what she was wearing or how much she was drinking. O'Reilly never asked me for a statement nor invited me on his show before sending Watters to harass me. Since I'm a 5 ft, 100 pound woman with an opinion that he doesn't like, perhaps O'Reilly believes I deserve to be treated this way.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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