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During the June 5 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly said of anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan: "I don't like to see any American suffer the way I think Ms. Sheehan has suffered from losing her son to being personally attacked. And we wish her well." However, in sympathizing with Sheehan's "suffer[ing]," O'Reilly ignored his own history of smearing Sheehan, as Media Matters for America has documented:
- On the January 6, 2006, broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, O'Reilly asserted: "I'm not vilifying the woman [Sheehan]. I play her comments, and I tell you the truth. She's run by far-left elements who are using her, and she's dumb enough to allow it to happen. It's not a vilification, it's a fact."
- On the October 25, 2005, broadcast of his radio show, O'Reilly included Sheehan in a list of "coward[s]" who had been invited to appear on his programs but would "not stand up and answer questions about their bomb-throwing statements."
- On the August 9, 2005, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly accused Sheehan of behavior that "other American families who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq" think "borders on treasonous."
From the June 5 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: OK. Now, she took a lot of hits, Cindy Sheehan did. I believe they were her own fault because she crossed the line into advocacy and said some pretty ridiculous things, like Al Qaeda fighters were freedom fighters and things like that, and that the United States is a fascist nation. And she threw in with Hugo Chavez, and we've seen what he's like in the past week.
So she brought a lot of this on herself, in my opinion. But that must have taken a tremendous toll on the woman, the vitriol directed at her.
MEDEA BENJAMIN (co-founder of Code Pink and Global Exchange): Well, Cindy Sheehan was attacked from the beginning that she started to speak out, and then especially when she became famous because of the campout outside Bush's ranch. Then she was really a national figure, and the attacks were very -- hurting to her.
I mean, this is a woman who, because she lost her son, she became involved in this movement because she didn't want other mothers to lose their sons.
O'REILLY: OK, but if she had just kept it in that realm, I don't think she would have been personally attacked the way she was.
O'REILLY: Ms. Benjamin, it's the far left. When you throw in with terrorists and call them freedom fighters, when you call the United States a fascist nation, you're in Rosie O'Donnell, Michael Moore territory. You're in the far left.
Anyway, be that as it may, I don't like to see any American suffer the way I think Ms. Sheehan has suffered from losing her son to being personally attacked. And we wish her well. And we appreciate you coming on.
BENJAMIN: Well, thank you. And we will continue to try to end this war and do it --
O'REILLY: All right. I'm sure you will, Medea.
BENJAMIN: -- for Cindy and all the troops and everyone else. Thank you, Bill.