O'Reilly falsely claimed he's only "called for one boycott ... and that's been France"

››› ››› MATT SINGER

Explaining his decision not to call for a boycott of The New York Times, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "I've called for one boycott in my 10 years on the air, and that's been France." Just one week earlier on his radio show, O'Reilly called for boycotts of a number of other organizations of which he has been critical, including The New York Times.

Explaining his decision not to call for a boycott of The New York Times for publishing information about a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that he has "only called for one boycott and that is France." O'Reilly's comments came during the June 26 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, The Radio Factor. Similarly, on the June 27 broadcast of The Radio Factor, O'Reilly said, "I've called for one boycott in my 10 years on the air, and that's been France." But just one week earlier, O'Reilly called for boycotts of a number of other organizations of which he has been critical, including The New York Times.

On the June 20 broadcast of The Radio Factor, O'Reilly declared that he would "name the names" of a number of organizations that are purportedly "helping the enemy," and then told his listeners: "[I]t's up to you guys to take action against them in a sense of boycotting their products, letting them know that this is unacceptable." Later in the program, O'Reilly revealed the groups he believes are "helping the enemy"; that list included the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the International Red Cross, the BBC, Air America Radio, and The New York Times.

This is not the first time O'Reilly has called for a boycott and later denied having done so. On the August 27, 2002, edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly attacked PepsiCo for offering rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges an endorsement deal. O'Reilly called for "responsible Americans to fight back and punish Pepsi for using a man who degrades women, who encourages substance abuse, and does all the things that hurt particularly the poor in our society." O'Reilly continued: "I'm calling for all Americans to say, Hey, Pepsi, I'm not drinking your stuff. You want to hang around with Ludacris, you do that, I'm not hanging around with you." On The O'Reilly Factor the very next day, O'Reilly took credit for Pepsi's decision to cancel the Ludacris ad campaign, saying "[b]ut because of pressure by Factor viewers, Pepsi-Cola late today capitulated. Ludacris has been fired." However, on February 4, 2003, O'Reilly reversed course, claiming he never advocated a boycott: "I never do anything tacitly. I do things directly. I simply said I wasn't going to drink Pepsi while that guy [Ludacris] was on their payroll. No boycott was ever mentioned by me."

From the June 27 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: I've thought about that [calling for a boycott of The New York Times], I've thought about that, [caller]. Other people have suggested that. And I'm not going to do it, and let me tell you why. I don't want to be a witch-hunter here as far as The New York Times is concerned. I've called for one boycott in my 10 years on the air, and that's been France, and it's still in effect.

From the June 26 edition of The Radio Factor:

O'REILLY: Well, you could do it. I can't do it. I'm to the point now where I've only called for one boycott and that is France. Because I know how much they hurt the United States in the war on terror. Now The New York Times, for me as a competitor and for me as a person who has been cheap-shotted by them almost on a daily basis, to call for a boycott would seem small, I think. It would diminish me. I didn't even call for a boycott of Vermont -- I won't go there -- or the oil companies. I won't buy Exxon. But I won't call for boycotts of them.

From the June 20 edition of The Radio Factor:

O'REILLY: All right. Helping the enemy, that's what we're gonna talk about in the first hour. There are people who are helping the enemy in the war on terror, and we are gonna out them today on this program. And we're gonna name the names. And it's up to you guys to take action against them in a sense of boycotting their products, letting them know that this is unacceptable.

[...]

The ACLU is rooting for the enemy. They're rooting for the enemy. They're helping the enemy in every way they can. The American Civil Liberties Union is Al Qaeda's best friend. There is not a better friend to Al Qaeda in the world than the ACLU, and that's the truth. OK.

[...]

All right. We're gonna, when we come back, list the people we believe are aiding the enemy. Helping Al Qaeda and the other terrorists. We're gonna list them. We'll be back in a moment.

[commercial break]

O'REILLY: OK. We're talking about people actively helping the enemy in a war on terror. Today is an important day, and I hope that you're locked in on, just, the atrocity of the two captured American soldiers mutilated by the insurgents in Iraq.

Now, we can no longer have sympathy for any of these people. I do believe that dissent is necessary. So this might surprise you. People like Congressman Murtha, I don't think that they're aiding the enemy. I don't think they're helping the enemy. I don't. OK. They have a right to say "We're not fighting the war the proper way. We should do X, Y, and Z." And you have a right to agree or disagree.

All right. So even The New York Times and people like that, on their editorial page, they have a certain -- they have a right to dissent from the Iraq war, the war on terror, or anything else they wanna dissent from. I don't, I don't consider that aiding the enemy. But I'll tell you what, when The New York Times allows a guy to write an op-ed article as they did last week -- and we went through this -- and to say that he was the victim of a bad vacation choice, and that's why he wound up in Guantánamo [Bay], where he was tortured. And then we research it and find out that every member of his family is a convicted terrorist and The New York Times doesn't say that, that's helping the enemy. Do we all have it? Helping the enemy.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes every single anti-terror measure the Bush administration has implemented. The human-rights groups, which absolutely led to the three suicides at Guantánamo. I was there -- I turned to the commander of the prison and said, "Why are you allowing the detainees to seal their windows so you can't see in?" And he answered, "The International Red Cross demands they have privacy." Bingo. Three of them kill themselves. OK. That's on the International Red Cross.

Al-Jazeera. We should bomb Al-Jazeera. No. We can't do that. They're civilians; I understand that. But symbolically, they help the enemy. The BBC helps the enemy. Distorts the conflict, lies about the United States. Air America -- nobody listens to them, but they do the same thing. Helps the enemy. The far-left blogs help the enemy.

Network/Outlet
Westwood One
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The Radio Factor
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