More than a year ago, FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly verbally attacked and severely distorted the comments of O'Reilly Factor guest Jeremy Glick, whose father died in the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. On July 20, 2004, O'Reilly again attacked Glick on The O'Reilly Factor -- although Glick was not present to defend himself.
Responding to New York Times chief film critic A.O. Scott's review of producer/director Robert Greenwald's documentary film Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, O'Reilly called Scott "a coward as well as a propagandist" for refusing to "come on the [O'Reilly Factor] program" and for suggesting that O'Reilly was "belligerent" and "boorish" in his February 4, 2003, interview with Glick (an interview documented in Outfoxed).
In a manner reminiscent of his 2003 verbal attacks, O'Reilly again smeared Glick and distorted his remarks. From the July 20, 2004, edition of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: But who is this guy, really? Well, on this program, Glick said President [George W.] Bush and his father [former President George H.W. Bush] were responsible for his [Glick's] father's death. He said George W. Bush pulled off a coup to get elected. He implied the U.S.A. itself was a terrorist nation. And he called his father's death at the hands of an Al Qaeda "alleged assassination." He said America itself was responsible for the 9-11 attack because it is an imperialistic, aggressive nation. Glick was dismissed from The Factor because he was completely off the wall. Security actually had to take the guy out of the building, he was that out of control.
Glick never said "President Bush and his father were responsible for his [Glick's] father's death." What Glick did say, on the February 4, 2003, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, was the following: "[O]ur current president now inherited a legacy from his father and inherited a political legacy that's responsible for training militarily, economically, and situating geopolitically the parties involved in the alleged assassination and the murder of my father and countless of thousands of others."
O'Reilly's remark that Glick "implied the U.S.A. itself was a terrorist nation" is also a distortion. In 2003, O'Reilly said to Glick, "I don't think he'd [your father] be equating this country as a terrorist nation as you are." Glick replied, "Well, I wasn't saying that it was necessarily like that. ... What I'm saying is ... is that in -- six months before the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, starting in the Carter administration and continuing and escalating while Bush's father was head of the CIA, we recruited a hundred thousand radical mujahedeens to combat a democratic government in Afghanistan, the Turaki government."
O'Reilly's claim that "security actually had to take the guy [Glick] out of the building, he was that out of control" is questionable. During the interview, it was O'Reilly who called Glick's views "a bunch of crap"; O'Reilly who repeatedly told Glick to "shut up"; O'Reilly who told Glick, "I'm more angry about it [the September 11 terrorist attacks] than you are"; and O'Reilly who ended the interview by saying, "Cut his mic. I'm not going to dress you down anymore, out of respect for your father." According to Glick, as documented in Outfoxed, "The executive producer and the assistant encouraged me to leave the building because they were, quote, concerned that if O'Reilly ran into me in the hallway, he would end up in jail."
O'Reilly also suggested during the 2003 exchange that Glick's parents would side with O'Reilly and not with Glick: "I'm sure your beliefs are sincere, but what upsets me is I don't think your father would be approving of this. ... [M]an, I hope your mother isn't watching this." O'Reilly also claimed that Glick was "exploiting" the families of the September 11 victims; O'Reilly said, "I've done more for them than you will ever hope to do."
O'Reilly's July 20, 2004, commentary echoed his smears against Glick following the 2003 interview. The day after Glick appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly said that Glick had "spew[ed] hatred for this program and his country using vile propaganda." On the September 18, 2003, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, as Outfoxed documents, O'Reilly went even further in distorting Glick's claim that Bush inherited "a political legacy that's responsible for training" the September 11 terrorists, saying Glick "accused President [George W.] Bush of knowing about 9-11 before it happened." On September 19, 2003, O'Reilly returned to the claim that Glick accused both Presidents Bush of being "directly responsible for 9-11."