On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly accused liberal columnists of consistently "labeling people" with whom they may disagree "bigots." By contrast, O'Reilly claimed, "we have researched right-wing columnists" and "[w]e didn't come up with anybody on the right who did" the same. In fact, O'Reilly himself has.
On the August 7 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly accused liberal columnists of consistently "labeling people" with whom they may disagree "bigots." By contrast, O'Reilly claimed, "we have researched right-wing columnists" and "[w]e didn't come up with anybody on the right who did" the same. O'Reilly acknowledged that "[t]here is a lot of name-calling on the right," but said that "[n]ame-calling is one thing, but labeling a person a bigot" is far worse. In fact, "right-wing columnists" Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter have accused liberals of engaging in bigotry or called them "racists," as has O'Reilly himself.
Additionally, while listing columnists who have allegedly referred to conservative figures as "bigots," "homophobes," or "racist," O'Reilly misleadingly claimed that "Denver Post columnist Cindy Rodriguez implied that" O'Reilly "was anti-Hispanic for wanting to secure the borders." As Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, Rodriguez has said no such thing. O'Reilly is presumably referring to a back-and-forth between him and Rodriguez that stemmed from an October 15, 2005, Dallas Morning News column by Macarena Hernández. In the column, Hernández criticized O'Reilly for agreeing with a caller to his nationally syndicated radio show's assertion that illegal immigrants were "biological weapon[s]," and that the impact of illegal immigration "equals and surpasses the impact of 9-11." As Media Matters noted at the time, O'Reilly agreed with a caller who claimed that each undocumented immigrant who enters the United States is a "biological weapon." O'Reilly added, "I think you 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." Responding to Hernández's column, O'Reilly denied he ever made such remarks, calling Hernández "dishonest" and her column "a matter of deceit" (as noted by Media Matters). In an October 25 column, Rodriguez chastised O'Reilly for accusing Hernández of being "dishonest." Rodriguez then highlighted O'Reilly's agreement with his caller's assertion that illegal immigrants are really "biological weapon[s]." O'Reilly responded by again denying having made the aforementioned comments and repeatedly attacking both Rodriguez and Hernández for being dishonest "partner[s] in arms." At no point has Rodriguez accused O'Reilly of being "anti-Hispanic for wanting to secure the borders."
On the August 7 O'Reilly Factor, Malkin informed O'Reilly that she has, in fact, attacked "unhinged liberal bigots." Nonetheless, O'Reilly continued to dubiously assert his staff "researched right-wing columnists" and "didn't come up with anybody on the right who" decried liberals as being "racist" or "bigots." A Media Matters review of "right-wing columnists" found numerous examples of conservatives attacking those with whom they may disagree as being "bigots" or "racist." For instance:
- As Media Matters has noted, on the November 17, 2004, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Coulter labeled Democrats as "racist" for questioning the credentials of then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, a nominee for secretary of state at the time, and conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
- As Media Matters also noted, in her December 9, 2004, nationally syndicated column titled "The new and improved racism," and as a guest on the December 8, 2004, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Coulter continued to accuse liberal and Democratic journalists and politicians of racism for criticizing black conservatives. Coulter also attacked "black liberals" and specifically named New York Times op-ed columnist Bob Herbert and Times media critic Caryn James, for "launching racist attacks on black conservatives," although James is not, in fact, black.
- In addition to devoting a chapter of her book, Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild (Regnery, 2005), to "unhinged liberal bigots," Malkin has also accused liberals of bigotry in her column. In her June 21 column discussing "Laura Bush vs. unhinged librarians," Malkin wrote: "Welcome to the 21st century librarian: book-smart, reality-stupid, Bush-deranged bigots. Let's hope the First Lady's security detail comes prepared. You never know what these tolerant people will throw."
- In her January 18 column, Malkin accused Democrats of engaging in "calculated moments" of "demagoguery," like "the party's smearing of Clarence Thomas to the bigoted attacks on Condoleezza Rice."
- On the December 5, 2005, edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, O'Reilly asserted that attempts to use the phrase "Happy Holidays" rather than a holiday greeting incorporating the word "Christmas" was "bigotry." O'Reilly declared: "There's no reason to take out the word Christmas. Other than bigotry. We don't like the Christian majority."
- While discussing the "browning of America" on the April 13 broadcast of his radio show, O'Reilly declared that the "real racists" in America are those "who want a color-based country" who want to "kick out all the white people" and "have a rainbow nation."
From the December 5, 2005, broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: Well, it is a culture-war issue. People who celebrate Christmas, all right, are offended when a corporation, [caller], says to their employees, "Do not say 'Merry Christmas' to the customer." And then advertises to exploit the Christmas season, because again there would be no buying and selling, no gift-giving, no profits for the corporations without the birth of Jesus. Wouldn't exist.
OK. So Christians say, "If you are going to take advantage of the Christmas season to line your pockets, to make money, then acknowledge the season. Acknowledge what it's about, the philosopher Jesus." OK. The acknowledgement is it's a national holiday. There's no reason to tell little children in public school, you're not on Christmas break, you're on winter break. That's offensive, [caller], to most of the 85 percent of Americans who are Christian. It's offensive.
There's no reason to take out the word Christmas. Other than bigotry. We don't like the Christian majority. We don't want them to have any power -- or we don't want to acknowledge them. And that's bigotry. And that's what it's all about.
From the April 13 broadcast of The Radio Factor:
O'REILLY: Even though most Hispanics are Christian, the left believes that Hispanics who come to the USA will vote left. Now, I'm not so convinced of that myself, but Barron certainly believes. "People of color will vote the way I vote, and we'll kick out all the white people, and we'll have a rainbow nation, not a white power structure."
That's white privilege is the key words. The browning of America. Ladies and gentlemen, you know I hate to say it 'cause I don't like to debate this kind of stuff, I don't like to do colors-based programs, but that's the bottom line on this whole thing. That's where it is. There's no reason on earth the federal government doesn't secure the border. No reason on this earth. But they're afraid to be demonized as racist because the real racists who want a color-based country attack them vehemently. If they put up a wall or put the military on the border.
And so our politicians are too cowardly to secure the border, and that's what's going on.
From the August 7 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: Labeling people bigots. Denver Post columnist Cindy Rodriguez implied that I was anti-Hispanic for wanting to secure the borders.
She also labeled [Rev.] Pat Robertson and [Rev.] Jerry Falwell homophobes for opposing gay marriage. Dallas Morning News columnist Macarena Hernández also attacked me over the border issue and labeled Mel Gibson a racial bigot.
Kansas City Star columnist Wayne Madsen called Congressman Tom Tancredo a sponsor of racist anti-illegal immigration legislation. George Diaz, writing in the Orlando Sentinel, labeled Tancredo an idiot who uses racist drivel. Cynthia Tucker, the editorial director at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wrote that President Bush used racists to get elected. And the list goes on and on.
Joining us now with analysis, Fox News analyst Kirsten Powers and in Washington, Michelle Malkin.
I had Leonard Pitts in -- he's a columnist from The Miami Herald -- in some of the teases. Now, Pitts's column today didn't call anybody a racist. He kind of -- he was writing about Mel Gibson. Walking that line. Walking that line. Now, Michelle, have you ever done that in your columns? Because we have researched right-wing columnists, and I'm going to get to that in a minute. But have you ever labeled anybody a racist, a homophobe, or anything like that?
MALKIN: Well, I call people what they are in my columns. And occasionally that does mean taking liberal bigots to task for their hypocrisy. And I was on your show back in the fall when I was on my book tour talking about Unhinged, which has a whole chapter on unhinged liberal bigots who on the one hand talk about compassion and tolerance and on the other hand use the most vile epithets against their opponents.
And I think that there is a place for labeling it when it is.
O'REILLY: But aren't they hypocrites rather than bigots? See look, here's what I am objecting to. We had John Podhoretz, who is a columnist and -- he is a conservative guy. He says that Al Gore is insane. OK. I mean, that is just the usual partisan rhetoric. Ann Coulter calls people witches, harpies, you know, all kinds of -- retarded. All right. Name-calling is one thing, but labeling a person a bigot, all right, saying they are anti-Semitic or homophobic -- that elevates it up into here's a hater. That person's a hater. These columnists don't know these people. They don't know me. They don't know Mel Gibson. They don't know anybody. To do that, I think, is grossly irresponsible.
MALKIN: Well, yes, especially when -- and of course, when it's all they have. And I've been on the receiving end on that ever since I began my career as a public commentator. When all they have to say in response to your meticulous arguments, for example, that lax immigration enforcement endangers us. The first thing that a lot of these leftists do is call you a xenophobe and immigrant basher.
O'REILLY: Anti-Hispanic. Right. Right. Right.
MALKIN: You hate Hispanics. If you talk about the war on terror, if you talk about jihadist infiltration, you're an Islamophobe. And it goes on and on. And this is a crude tool in the intellectual toolshed of the American left. It's all they have. It's old, it's rusty, and it's ineffective.
O'REILLY: OK. I don't know whether the right does it. We really tried to research this fair and balanced. We didn't come up with anybody on the right who does this --
MALKIN: Well, that pretty much answers the question.
O'REILLY: Other than the name-calling. There's a lot of name-calling on the right.
POWERS: All I know is that I've seen it over and over again. And I don't think it's appropriate. And I'll also go back to the Clintons. I lived through the Clinton administration. The things that people and conservatives said about the Clintons were hateful.
O'REILLY: Yes. I agree.
POWERS: And you know, and the things that they said about, you know, "Hillary was having an affair with Vince Foster," and you know, that Clintons murdered the Fosters.
O'REILLY: It's all malicious. Absolutely.
POWERS: You know, I mean, this is stuff that I think is really vicious. So, to -- so --
O'REILLY: But there's a difference. You see the difference, don't you?
POWERS: I don't see the difference, but I think both are wrong.
O'REILLY: Labeling somebody a bigot or racist is much --
POWERS: A murderer? You know, I mean, come on, that's, that's --
O'REILLY: That's libelous, you know. That's libelous.
POWERS: Yeah, I mean, all I'm going to say is that both are wrong. I think both are wrong.