Bill O'Reilly Defends His Attacks On Dr. George Tiller, The Abortion Provider Who Was Later Assassinated
Blog ››› ››› KATIE SULLIVAN
In the aftermath of a deadly shooting attack at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, Bill O'Reilly defended his previous attacks on Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who was assassinated by a gunman in 2009. O'Reilly, who repeatedly referred to the doctor as "Tiller the baby killer" and said there was a "special place in hell" for him, insisted he had "reported accurately" on Tiller.
On November 27, a gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three and injuring nine others. After being taken into custody, the suspect reportedly said, "no more baby parts," likely referring to a series of deceptively-edited videos released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress, which allege that Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue. This was the first deadly anti-abortion attack since Dr. Tiller, who notably provided late-term abortions, was shot to death by an anti-abortion gunman in a church in 2009.
On the November 30 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly argued that Planned Parenthood "is in the baby body parts business and deserves much of the harsh criticism directed toward it." O'Reilly then exploited the recent shooting to defend his previous attacks on Dr. Tiller, claiming that after Tiller's assassination "some far-left loons blamed me. The truth is, I reported accurately on Tiller." During the same segment, O'Reilly claimed that "For $5,000 Tiller would terminate any pregnancy for any reason. He was nicknamed 'Tiller the baby killer' by organizations who objected to his gristly practice."
In fact, O'Reilly himself repeatedly referred to Dr. Tiller in his own words as "Tiller the baby killer," and as "Dr. Killer," a fact he later denied. In a 2006 anti-Tiller rant on his radio show, O'Reilly said, "And if I could get my hands on Tiller -- well, you know. Can't be vigilantes. Can't do that. It's just a figure of speech. But despicable? Oh, my God. Oh, it doesn't get worse."
What O'Reilly described as accurate reporting also included two segments from 2006 and 2007 during which The O'Reilly Factor producers "confront[ed] the doctor known as Tiller the baby killer" and his attorney. Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, an extreme anti-choice organization that "systematically harass[es]" abortion clinic workers and employs a felon who conspired to bomb an abortion clinic, wrote in his 2014 book Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time that he had helped The O'Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters "locate Tiller gassing his armored Jeep."
In March 2009, after Tiller was acquitted of charges of performing illegal late-term abortions, O'Reilly said that Tiller was "acquitted today of murdering babies ... there's got to be a special place in hell for this guy." In May of that year, Tiller was assassinated by an anti-abortion gunman while attending a service at his Kansas church. Weeks later, O'Reilly accused then-Salon editor Joan Walsh of having "blood on her hands" for defending Tiller, whose practice he described as "an abortion mill."