Tiller Was Often Demonized On O’Reilly’s Cable Show

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Assassinated Kansas doctor George Tiller’s name came up often — on Bill O’Reilly’s show. Quite often, reports Salon, and in a demonizing way:

Tiller’s name first appeared on “The Factor” on Feb. 25, 2005. Since then, O’Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as recently as April 27 of this year. Almost invariably, Tiller is described as “Tiller the Baby Killer.”

Tiller, O’Reilly likes to say, “destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000.” He’s guilty of “Nazi stuff,” said O’Reilly on June 8, 2005; a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida, he suggested on March 15, 2006. “This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union,” said O’Reilly on Nov. 9, 2006.

O’Reilly has also frequently linked Tiller to his longtime obsession, child molestation and rape. Because a young teenager who received an abortion from Tiller could, by definition, have been a victim of statutory rape, O’Reilly frequently suggested that the clinic was covering up for child rapists (rather than teenage boyfriends) by refusing to release records on the abortions performed.

When Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, an O’Reilly favorite who faced harsh criticism for seeking Tiller’s records, was facing electoral defeat by challenger Paul Morrison, O’Reilly said, “Now we don’t endorse candidates here, but obviously, that would be a colossal mistake. Society must afford some protection for viable babies and children who are raped.” (Morrison ultimately unseated Kline.)

This is where O’Reilly’s campaign against George Tiller becomes dangerous. While he never advocated anything violent or illegal, the Fox bully repeatedly portrayed the doctor as a murderer on the loose, allowed to do whatever he wanted by corrupt and decadent authorities. “Also, it looks like Dr. Tiller, who some call Tiller the Baby Killer, is spending a large amount of money in order to get Mr. Morrison elected. That opens up all kinds of questions,” said O’Reilly on Nov. 6, 2006, in one of many suggestions that Tiller was improperly influencing the election.

This does not mean there is a cause and effect between O’Reilly’s rhetoric and Tiller’s murder — which is being rationalized now by some who opposed what Tiller did in his medical practice. georgetillerassassinated.jpg

Just to short-circuit the inevitable best-defense-is-a-good-offense comments on quoting the Salon piece, let’s say that again:

This does not mean there is a cause and effect between O’Reilly’s rhetoric and Tiller’s murder — which is being rationalized now by some who opposed what Tiller did in his medical practice.

But it is worth repeating what we have stated and suggested here and what other pundits have said over the past few years: the over the top, demonizing rhetoric that has become the rage in 21st century America could have serious consequences.

Not all of America’s nuts are smashed up in jars of peanut butter.

Vigorous, heated discussion isn’t the same as demonization. And demonization has become the way to garner huge viewerships and readerships. But if issues are framed in terms of good versus evil some people could act.

It’s notable that on cable, broadcast radio and some news reports there are now stories about some pro-life leaders and pundits saying they fear this will be used by the Democrats and the Obama administration to go after the pro-life movement. Howevever, there’s a difference between members of the pro-life movement who state their case passionately, and those who decide to murder someone who disagrees with them. And it’s likely the majority of Americans would view throwing the book at those who shoot people who disagree with other Americans on issues as a not unwarranted and draconian concept.

UPDATE: And some openly applaud the killing.

UPDATE II: Also check out this post.

UPDATE III: The AP has posted this video on You Tube, complete with embed. A good recap of events:

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