After yesterday’s brutal shooting of George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who administered abortions, many anti-choice groups quickly condemned the murder and attempted to separate themselves from the actions of the killer. Even Operation Rescue, which made Tiller a special target of its harassment over the years, denounced the killing as “vigilantism” and a “cowardly act.”
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly had also singled out Tiller in the past. According to Salon, O’Reilly first discussed Tiller on Feb. 25, 2005, and subsequently did 28 more episodes mentioning the doctor. When Fox News announced that O’Reilly would be making his first comments on Tiller since his murder, some journalists believed that O’Reilly would “most certainly decry” the killing.
At the top of his Talking Points segment, O’Reilly did briefly say, “Americans should condemn the murder of Dr. George Tiller,” but he then quickly segued into more attacks on Tiller. He also used the opportunity to attack his critics, saying they were trying to “exploit” the incident to attack Fox News. In particular, he singled out the writings of Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News, Mary Mapes on the Huffington Post, Mike Hendricks of the Kansas City Star, Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos. O’Reilly blasted liberals who were “very very sympathetic” to Tiller and said one of the first things that he thought of when he heard the news of the killing was…himself:
When I heard about Tiller’s murder, I knew pro-abortion zealots and Fox News haters would attempt to blame us for the crime, and that’s exactly what has happened. […]
No backpedaling here, madam [Mary Mapes]. Unlike you, I report honestly. Every single thing we said about Tiller was true, and my analysis was based on those facts. […]
Now, it’s clear that the far left is exploiting — exploiting — the death of the doctor. Those vicious individuals want to stifle any criticism of people like Tiller. That — and hating Fox News — is the real agenda here. Finally, if these people are soooo compassionate — so very compassionate, so concerned for the rights and welfare of others — maybe they might have written something, one thing, about the 60,000 fetuses that will never become American citizens. Or am I wrong?
— “If you want to kill a baby, you hire Tiller. You’ve got to pay him $5,000 up front, and he’ll kill the baby.”
— “No question Dr. Tiller has blood on his hands.”
— “Dr. George Tiller destroys fetuses for just about any reason, right up until the birth date.”
— “This man executes babies that are about to be born.”
— “This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union.”
In the past, O’Reilly has sent out producer Jesse Watters to ambush Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) and ask her about Tiller. Although many people disagreed with what Tiller did, as President Obama responded, such differences “cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.” “[T]he same bullet that killed George Tiller also shattered the moral underpinnings of the movement that inspired its firing,” wrote Hendricks.