The harassment I experienced at the hands of Bill O’Reilly’s henchmen this past weekend was unfortunately not the first such incident by the network. Other victims include the New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg, Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT), the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker, and the Columbia Journalism Review’s Mike Hoyt.
On Aug. 24, 2007, O’Reilly defended his harassment machine:
As you may know, “The Factor” occasionally sends out producers to confront people who will not answer serious questions about controversial things they do, like judges giving child rapists probation, for example.
Now, some object to displays like these. But we feel they’re a vital tool in holding public servants accountable for their actions, and we do not go after people lightly. We always ask them on the program first, or to issue a clear statement explaining their actions.
For the record, I am neither a public servant, nor was I ever contacted by Fox News for the opportunity to issue a statement or appear on the O’Reilly Factor. Similarly, O’Reilly lied on-air after Watters’s ambush of Hertzberg, claiming that he had invited the journalist on the show. (He hadn’t.)
We have now contacted multiple people at Fox, including Watters himself. We have yet to receive a response from anyone at the network.
During that same August 2007 show, O’Reilly even asked Watters if he feels “afraid” during his ambushes. Watters joked, “No, I’m just afraid to come back empty-handed for you.” O’Reilly said that Watters was becoming a “big star all over the world.”
Jon Stewart sums up O’Reilly’s hypocrisy on Americans’ right to privacy and his alleged belief that paparazzi are the “scum” of the earth:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M – Th 11p / 10c|
|Bill O’Reilly’s Right to Privacy|
,Watters is also under the delusion that in 2007, he single-handedly saved Christmas.
,Media Matters has video of the 2007 segment here.