Reading the headline, "The Campaign to Blame O'Reilly for Tiller's Death," I assumed Weekly Standard writer John McCormack was going to explain why it was completely unjustified to connect Fox News' Bill O'Reilly to the death of Dr. George Tiller, even though we all know O'Reilly's show ambushed the doctor on TV, called him a so-called baby killer, and waged a very public crusade against the private physician.
Now a suspected right-wing domestic terrorist, perhaps an O'Reilly viewer, put the Fox News' host's words into action and killed the man in a church, as right-wing domestic terrorists tend to do. And guess what, lots of bloggers pointed out O'Reilly's not-so-cameo role in the Tiller drama.
But Weekly Standard was going to explain it all away; it was going to tell us why, even though O'Reilly had attacked Tiller on-air more than two dozen times, the Fox News' hands were entirely clean in Sunday's tragedy.
Except the weird part was the Weekly Standard never even bothered to make that claim. Instead, the item noted bloggers were connecting O'Reilly to Tiller, but than floated the muddled idea that some of the same bloggers targeting O'Reilly have also been critical of Bush's torture policy and used harsh language to describe it:
Since it appears that the campaign to blame O'Reilly for inciting the murder of Tiller began with [Andrew] Sullivan's post, it's worth noting that The Atlantic blogger routinely compares those who support harsh interrogations of al Qaeda members to the Gestapo and the Khmer Rouge.
Honestly, it didn't make much sense to me, either. The gist seemed to be that critics of torture on the left are just like anti-abortion critics on the right (i.e. just like O'Reilly) because both felt compelled to speak out against something they thought was morally wrong. The coo-coo part is where McCormack suggests both groups use the same type of vigilante rhetoric to make their point. Except, of course, they do not, which is where the whole argument collapses.
But what was really telling I thought, was that when the Weekly Standard tried to come to O'Reilly defense in terms of his hateful Tiller rhetoric, the Weekly Standard realized it had no defense. It didn't deny O'Reilly's involvement, it simply tried to claim that everyone does it. Not true.
P.S. Note the disingenuousness when McCormack includes a link which the writer suggests proves that Sullivan had equated "those who support" torture with being members of the Gestapo. Instead, what the link does is showcase items that Sullivan had written in which he described torture techniques as being used by the Gestapo.
Sullivan did not, as McCormack claimed, suggest torture-backing Bush administration officials were akin to members of the Gestapo. Meaning, Sullivan did not, as McCormack claimed, wage a personal crusade targeting private citizens. He didn't ambush Bush officials in public and routinely call them Nazis, the way O'Reilly led a public crusade against a private citizen who's now dead, killed by a suspected right-wing domestic terrorist.
As Sullivan noted earlier this month:
It is, moreover, unfair to say I have compared the Bush administration with the Nazis. I haven't.
I have shown how the exact techniques deployed by the Gestapo were used by Cheney and called by the exact same name - verschaerfte Vernehmung; and how the exact techniques used by the Khmer Rouge were authorized by Bush. These are simply facts that people have to face. This does not mean that the American system of government is the same as that under Hitler in Germany, or that Bush was Hitler. It does mean that human acts are human acts. The act of torture is the same whoever perpetrates it. There is no moral way to torture someone. America is not by virtue of being America somehow immune from the same evil that has occurred throughout human history; and the human beings running the American government are no more and no less human than those who controlled ghastly regimes in the past.