Claiming his child-abduction comments were taken "out of context," O'Reilly lashed out at "far-left loons"
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On the February 22 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly discussed his February 20 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show and, in an apparent reference to Media Matters for America and others who highlighted his comments about an abducted child, said that "the far-left loons who took my analysis out of context are despicable." He also claimed that his reporting on the case "has been dead-on accurate" and asserted: "These vile individuals who have attacked us are doing so for political reasons, and I condemn them in the strongest terms."
O'Reilly appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss child molestation. During his appearance, Winfrey noted that O'Reilly had speculated why Shawn Hornbeck -- a boy who was abducted and held for four years before he was found by police in Missouri -- did not flee, but ignored O'Reilly's claim that "there was an element here that this kid liked about his circumstances" and that "[t]he situation here for this kid looks to me to be a lot more fun than what he had under his old parents." Media Matters originally noted O'Reilly's comments about Hornbeck in a January 17 item that included a lengthy transcript and video clip from O'Reilly's show.
Additionally, Winfrey made no mention the decision by the Collier County, Florida, branch of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to replace O'Reilly as keynote speaker of a fundraising event, as Media Matters also noted.
From the February 22 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Hi. I'm Bill O'Reilly, reporting tonight from Los Angeles. Thank you for watching us. There have been a couple of rulings in this never-ending Anna Nicole Smith situation. We'll have that for you in a few moments.
But first, Oprah and the kids, part two. That's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." Big reaction to my appearance on the Oprah program yesterday. Most of the letters were very kind. Most of the folks get the fact that all decent people have to rally against child predators and those who protect them.
I also made an appeal on the Oprah program for fathers to constantly tell their children they'll protect them; that they are their champions. I got this letter from Johnny Knight who lives in Illinois.
"O'Reilly, I took your advice and explained to my 8-year-old that I will protect her no matter what happens. After I was finished, she told me I was her champion."
Well, way to go, Johnny. And I believe many fathers did exactly the same thing. But I also received this letter from Heather Tashjian, who lives in Burbank, California.
"Bill, loved you on Oprah, but you got hammered on some chat boards. They say you owe Shawn Hornbeck an apology for insinuating he wanted to stay with his abductor. What say you?"
Well, Heather, I say the far-left loons who took my analysis out of context are despicable. These people haven't done a single thing to protect kids from danger in this country. Our reporting on the Hornbeck case has been dead-on accurate.
We have introduced Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome to a world that badly needs to understand that concept. These vile individuals who have attacked us are doing so for political reasons, and I condemn them in the strongest terms.
We were also attacked by Vermont State Senator Dick Sears in the ultra-left Bennington Banner. Mr. Sears contends that Vermont's law -- a mandatory five-year sentence for violent child predators -- is tough. OK, I'm ready to listen to Mr. Sears' point of view. We've invited him to appear tomorrow, and we'll let you know what happens.