Bill O'Reilly called University of Connecticut students who chanted insults during an appearance there by Ann Coulter "far-left Nazis" who "should have been arrested for disturbing the peace". O'Reilly also compared the students to "left-wing websites," made, said O'Reilly, by "Nazis."
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On the December 8 broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly called University of Connecticut students who chanted insults during a December 7 appearance by right-wing pundit Ann Coulter "far-left Nazis" who "should have been arrested for disturbing the peace." He also compared the students' protest to the work of "left-wing websites," which O'Reilly also regards as the product of "Nazis" whose intent is "to defame, to lie, to do whatever, you know, sleazy thing they can think of to people with whom they disagree." O'Reilly made his comments during a debate about political discourse with Fox News political analyst Ellis Henican.
From the December 8 broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Cindy Sheehan spoke at the University of Connecticut two days before. No problem. No right-wing crazies shouting her down. No -- none of that. I submit to you, and if you go on the Internet and you look at the right-wing websites and compare them to the left-wing websites, that the far left in this country, the zealots -- I mean, these are zealots -- are Nazis, and this is exactly what the Nazis did. They disrupted rallies. They came in and shouted people down. They intimidated. They smeared. They did all of this. And I don't understand why it's going on. Do you?
HENICAN: OK, I'm against all of that, first of all. Let me just say I'm not here to defend shouting people down. I would much rather out-argue Ann Coulter than silence her. In fact, I out-argue her all the time, so I speak from knowledge on that subject.
O'REILLY: All right.
HENICAN: So it seems to me that's the bad part. But if you're Ann Coulter or any provocative speaker -- and you're one; I like to think I'm one as well -- you go out into the world -- the great cacophony that is American political dialogue -- you talk, people are going to talk back sometime at you, and sometimes, they're going to do it rudely and aggressively. And if you can't stand that kind of pressure, you shouldn't be in the polemic business.
O'REILLY: Oh, stop. That's ridiculous.
O'REILLY: Look, this college invited this woman to appear.
HENICAN: Right. I'm not defending the shoutdown. Don't -- don't get me --
O'REILLY: Well, you just did.
HENICAN: No, I didn't.
O'REILLY: Yes, you did.
HENICAN: I defended the robust dialogue.
O'REILLY: You -- there's a difference between robust dialogue in context --
O'REILLY: -- to a program and what these Nazis did last night.
HENICAN: And I'm not defending -- I'm not defending what you saw.
O'REILLY: They should have been arrested for disturbing the peace. That's what they should have been. But this woman was invited to this campus --
O'REILLY: -- came, and was the featured speaker. Most people came to hear what she had to say. OK?
O'REILLY: You agree with that?
HENICAN: I agree with that.
O'REILLY: Most people showed up, and I think there were, like, 1,300 of them, to hear what the woman had to say. These far-left Nazis -- and that's what they are, OK? -- came in, not only insulted Ms. Coulter but violated the rights of the people who came to hear what she had to say. This is unacceptable on every level. And it's unacceptable to do what they do on their websites: to defame, to lie, to do whatever, you know, sleazy thing they can think of to people with whom they disagree.
HENICAN: You need to draw some lines here that I think you're blurring a little bit. Aggressive disagreement with Bill O'Reilly is not the same as silencing people.
O'REILLY: Oh, obviously. We do that every night.