O'Reilly baselessly associated critic with "open border people"October 28, 2005 11:43 AM EDT ››› SAM GILL
On the October 25 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly again falsely conflated criticism voiced by a newspaper columnist of O'Reilly's rhetoric on immigration issues with calls to create an open border. O'Reilly claimed: "[T]he open border people are frantic. I got attacked in The Denver Post by another Latina columnist. They're desperate." In fact, the article to which O'Reilly was referring, an October 25 Denver Post column by Cindy Rodriguez, never advocated creating open borders; rather, it endorsed discussing methods for further securing the border.
Rodriguez's column was critical both of O'Reilly's general on-air conduct with guests and of comments he made on the April 15 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, in which a caller claimed that each undocumented immigrant who enters the United States is a "biological weapon," an assessment with which O'Reilly concurred, arguing further, "[Y]ou could probably make an absolutely airtight case that more than 3,000 Americans have been either killed or injured, based upon the 11 million illegals who are here."
Rodriguez followed her criticism of his April 15 comments by encouraging O'Reilly to focus his programs on concrete suggestions on how to improve border security:
O'Reilly is a powerful man. Millions of people watch his TV show and listen to his radio program. But he would have more credibility if he spoke intelligently about illegal immigration. Why not talk about solutions, such as using new technology to secure the border or creating a national ID card?
A Nexis search* of articles written by Rodriguez revealed that she has criticized anti-immigration rhetoric but has made no statements in support of opening the border.
As Media Matters for America has reported, Rodriguez is only the latest critic of O'Reilly's April 15 comments. In an October 15 column, Dallas Morning News columnist Macarena Hernandez also condemned O'Reilly's remarks. As with Rodriguez, O'Reilly baselessly associated Hernandez with a call for open borders.
From the October 25 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: The border -- the open border people are frantic. I got attacked again this time in The Denver Post by another Latina columnist. They're desperate. So there's something going on, because the open border people are now absolutely panicked that finally, finally something might be done down there to get things under control, because they are lashing out in ridiculous ways.
* Search of the News Library, "byline (Cindy Rodriguez) and border!"