Bill O’Reilly has joined Rush Limbaugh’s sexist assault on 30-year-old law student Sandra Fluke. On tonight’s broadcast, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly attacked and mocked Sandra Fluke, claiming that Fluke was insisting the government pay for her “social life.” O’Reilly’s attack mirrors Limbaugh, who has insisted on that Fluke’s advocacy for contraception coverage is motivated by sexual promiscuity. Watch it:
Bill O’Reilly’s attack is not only sexist and mean spirited, he has his facts completely wrong. Fluke is advocating for contraception to be covered under Georgetown University’s private insurance plan. Fluke became active on the issue “after her friend developed ovarian cysts and found that the oral contraception she needed to stop the cysts from growing was not covered under the school’s insurance.”
On The Tonight Show last night, Jay Leno challenged Bill O’Reilly about Rick Santorum’s comments on social issues: “He doesn’t like condoms, he doesn’t like birth control, I don’t understand this anti-gay thing. It doesn’t make any sense to me,” Leno said. O’Reilly responded by defending Santorum, saying that people should disregard the “dopey past comments” he has made because he’s “inexperienced”:
O’REILLY: I think people should define their religion and why they believe and what they believe if you’re running for president. I think they should do that, but I don’t think they should be saying, “Well, my religion is better than yours,” or anything like that. Look, Santorum is a guy is who is inexperienced in this arena. He got drawn into a few things. He’s made some past comments. Everybody has dopey past comments… so we have to cut him a little slack… He’d be wise to say, “Look, I said what I said, now let’s get into the economy,” and that’s where he should go.
In fact, O’Reilly seemed to think candidates’ histories should be disregarded entirely, suggesting also that Newt Gingrich’s conversion to Catholicism made him an entirely different person. Watch the interview:
I think Bill O’Reilly is correct that Whitney Houston is perhaps not the best example to deploy if you want to make the case that legalizing narcotics would decrease violence related to the drug trade and make it easier for addicts to get help (I happen to agree with at least a limited version of that case). But the rest of this statement doesn’t exactly count as brave truth-telling. Watch it:
There’s nothing bold, counterintuitive, or perhaps more importantly, compassionate about saying cruel things about addicts like: “Whitney Houston wanted to kill herself. Nobody takes drugs for that long if they want to stay on the planet.” I’ve been fortunate enough not to be touched directly by addiction, but it’s my understanding that the compulsion to use has little to do with a specific suicidal ideation. And of course, you can have an addiction and still love life and depending on the level of use, contribute to society. Whitney Houston’s fans know she’d struggled for years with a disease—not failed morals. Whitney’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, who O’Reilly mentioned had been hospitalized in the wake of her mother’s sudden death, is probably more aware of anyone else on the planet of what it’s like to live with her mother’s particular failed fight against addiction.
Nobody Bill O’Reilly to remind them that Houston’s addiction robbed her of many productive years of her career and was painful, embarrassing, and detrimental to her. And there’s nothing brave about blaming addicts for the societal consequences of their addictions.
Howard Stern took a significant chunk of time on his radio show today to defend Ellen DeGeneres from the conservative group One Million Moms’ boycott of JC Penney. During the impassioned discussion, he admonished Republican presidential candidates for their anti-gay rhetoric and highlighted the portrayal of bullying in Rolling Stone’s article about Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District:
STERN: First of all, I’m proud of JC Penney for not buckling. You know, I am not the world’s biggest Ellen DeGeneres, but I’ll tell you what: I will defend her to the end. If JC Penney fires Ellen DeGeneres, I will call on all my listeners to boycott JC Penney and I will do everything I can for Ellen DeGeneres. I mean, I was so outraged.
This defense of the gay community is a must-listen (language NSFW):
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly stuck up for Ellen DeGeneres last night in a segment about ‘One Million Moms’ proposed boycott of JC Penney, which has named the openly gay comic and talk show host their spokesperson. “If you remember with the McCarthy era, in the 50s and they were trying to hunt down communist sympathizers and not let them work and put them. What is the difference between McCarthy era communist blacklist in the 50s and the million moms saying, ‘Hey, JC Penney and all you other stores don’t you hire any gay people, don’t you dare.’ What is the difference?” O’Reilly asked:
O’Reilly’s guest Sandy Rios defended the boycott and explained that since DeGeneres has “chosen to act out her lesbian lifestyle and marry her partner…people that believe that marriage is between a man and woman and children should not be exposed to propagandized in homosexuality have a moral problem with that.” “It’s disturbing to them. They are trying to say to JC Penney please don’t do that,” she added.
Surging GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum sought to distance himself from his anti-gay record and rhetoric, just one day after coming in a close second in the Iowa caucuses. During an appearance on Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Wednesday night, the former Pennsylvania senator said that while he does support annulling all same-sex marriages through a federal constitutional amendment outlawing marriage equality, he is has spent little time discussing social issues and has instead focused on economic matters:
O’REILLY: To rescind — rescind it after a licenses already given. That’s a big deal.
SANTORUM: The federal government would have to pass a constitutional amendment and if the Constitution says that marriage is between a man and woman, then things that are inconsistent with that would not — would be inconsistent with the Constitution so –
O’REILLY: Would you be doing that if you were elected president? Would you be campaigning for a constitutional amendment in that way?
SANTORUM: I would — well, if you pass a constitutional amendment that says marriage –
O’REILLY: So would you — would that be — would that be in the forefront of your — of your administration?
SANTORUM: As you know, Bill, if you’ve been following me out on the trail, I haven’t been talking a lot about this. Although I strongly believe in it. What I’ve been talking about as I did last night on my acceptance speech where didn’t talk about this issue, I talked about the importance of getting this economy going and talked about my grandfather and coming here for freedom. And this is the fundamental issue in this campaign is whether government is going to be big and obtrusive and telling people how to manage their — their lives or — and are they going to support the basic values of faith and family that allow government to be limited and allow our economy to be strong. Those are the things I talked about and did across Iowa. I’ll be talking about those things here in New Hampshire.
Santorum may have failed to mention LGBT issues in every one of his 350 Iowa town halls, but as ThinkProgress has chronicled, he did spend ample time arguing that gay couples “destabilize” society and comparing same-sex relationships to inanimate objects like trees, basketballs, beer, and paper towels and even tried to blame the economic crisis on gay people. As Santorum explained back in August, religious people have a constitutional right to discriminate against gays: “We have a right the Constitution of religious liberty but now the courts have created a super-right that’s above a right that’s actually in the Constitution, and that’s of sexual liberty. And I think that’s a wrong, that’s a destructive element.”
Santorum also slipped in a coded reference to marriage in his Iowa acceptance speech Tuesday night, saying, “Those are the same people that President Obama talked about who cling to their guns and their Bibles. Thank God they do. They share our values about faith and family. They understand that when the family breaks down, the economy struggles.” In de-emphasizing the issue in New Hampshire, Santorum is acknowledging that Granite State voters are less driven by social issues than economic concerns — and that’s particularly true when it comes to the state’s own marriage equality law.
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly challenged Rick Santorum on his opposition to contraception last night, noting that the former senator’s claim that states have the right to outlaw birth control is extreme and out-of-touch with the beliefs of most Americans. Santorum responded that while he disagrees with the use of birth control, he would not necessarily advocate for its repeal:
O’REILLY: You say that the states should have the right to ban some contraception. That’s right off the bat going to be a big one.
SANTORUM: Well, the states have a right to do a lot of things. That doesn’t mean they should do it. Someone asked me if the states have the right to do it? Yes. They have the right to do it, they shouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t vote for it if they did. It doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to do it. As you know, Bill, you’re a Catholic, Catholic Church teaches contraceptive is something you shouldn’t do. So when I was asked the question on contraception I said I didn’t support it.
Santorum is trying to distinguish his religious beliefs from his governing philosophy to suggest to moderate voters that while he personally opposes contraception, he would do little to limit women’s access to it. But that’s not entirely honest and here is why: Santorum does disagree with the Supreme Court’s 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut ruling (which struck down a law that criminalized the use of contraceptives by married couples) and believes that the question should be left to the states. At the same time, however, he has also pledged to defund federal funding for contraception if elected president and publicly address the “dangers of contraception in this country.” “It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be,” the former Pennsylvania senator explained during one interview in Iowa. In other words, Santorum would not sit on his religiously-inspired anti-contraception beliefs — he would work to move federal policies and public beliefs against it.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) found his hawkish rhetoric against Iran challenged by an unexpected source, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. Romney, who just last week said President Barack Obama was “weak and timid” for not ordering an airstrike to destroy a U.S. drone downed in Iran, faced harsh questions about the possible consequences of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities:
ROMNEY: I’m ready to make sure we have military options combined with crippling sanctions.
BILL O’REILLY: Of course we have military options.
MITT ROMNEY: But we have developed in a way that Iran understands we would use military options.
O’REILLY: You’re a tough guy? You’re going to stare them down and say ‘Look, I’m gonna use them’? If you bomb Iran that starts World War III. You know that. They’re going to try to block Hormuz. Oil will double. The unintended consequences to the United States all across the Muslim world will be horrible. That’s what Iran is banking on.
ROMNEY: Then there’s the other side of the story, not taking crippling sanctions and treating them as the pariah they are and preparing military options. If you don’t do those things Iran has a nuclear weapon, nuclear material will ultimately be used.
O’Reilly isn’t the only voice suggesting that a military strike on Iran could have disastrous consequences.
And in July, former George W. Bush administration National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley outlined the “devastating effect” that the closure of the Strait of Hormuz could have on the U.S. and global economies.
Romney had no answer for O’Reilly’s question about the the Iranian response to a U.S. or Israeli military strike. But the strong likelihood of regional instability and the closure of the Strait of Hormuz could have very real economic and security consequence for the U.S.
As ThinkProgress has been reporting, Republican presidential candidates have been engaged in a bizarre game of one-upsmanship on the issue of immigration, competing to offer the most merciless approach America’s undocumented population. After Michele Bachmann proposed deporting every single one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country — a plan that would cost more than $2.6 trillion — Gov. Rick Perry (TX) vowed that he too would “deport every illegal alien who is apprehended in this country.”
Now Bachmann is upping the ante with perhaps the most cruel anti-immigrant statement to date. Media Matters reports that in an interview with Fox host Bill O’Reilly, Bachmann dismissed the humanitarian crisis of mass deportations and reiterated her baseless fear-mongering about “anchor babies.” Bachmann then expressed a “can do” attitude when it came to O’Reilly’s mock idea of dragging immigrants onto buses in front of their screaming children:
O’REILLY: [T]here are a lot of people here who’ve been here for a lot of years. And if you’re gonna start dragging them out of here, it’s gonna be very, very difficult to do that…I’m just saying on a human basis, I don’t think that — theory is one thing. Dragging people out, putting them on a bus with their children’s crying can be quite something else.
BACHMANN: It can be done. That’s the thing, it can be done.
O’REILLY: It can be done, but at what cost?
Bachmann then cited the patently false claim that “50 percent of Mexico’s population has moved north of the border,” apparently hoping people wouldn’t do the math and realize that 56 million Mexicans have not, in fact, relocated to the U.S.
She concluded by insisting “I’m a compassionate person” — all evidence to the contrary.
With hundreds of companies in the state, O’Reilly’s comments were a bit perplexing: “I want to buy solar or wind for my house this winter. Can you tell me where to do that? There’s nowhere, no one.”
Well, over 60 solar companies signed an open letter to O’Reilly telling him they’d be happy to give him a quote, and it looks like he’s now ready to take the leap. “There’s a legitimate guy on Long Island,” O’Reilly said on his show last night, to Alan Colmes.
Leading into a segment tearing apart the clean energy stimulus, O’Reilly mentioned “all the crazy people” who had been sending him messages encouraging him to back up his word.
“There is a legitimate guy on long island. He’s going to come over and give me a price and I’m going to report back to you. Because I don’t want to be dependent on OPEC and I don’t think anybody does,” he said.