As promised, tonight, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly aired his segment alleging that ThinkProgress caused “pain and suffering” to rape victims. Our unspeakable offense was contained in a March 1 blog post, which reported that O’Reilly had been invited to speak at a fundraising dinner for the Alexa Foundation, which supports rape survivors.
Our post highlighted the fact that in the past, O’Reilly has implied that women who dress in a certain way or consume too much alcohol should perhaps expect to be raped. Here is what he said on his radio show on Aug. 2, 2006, about Jennifer Moore, an 18-year-old woman who was raped and murdered:
Now Moore, Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. She’s walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug. All right. Now she’s out of her mind, drunk.
Our post never criticized the Alexa Foundation. Nevertheless, tonight on his show, O’Reilly claimed that ThinkProgress — working with NBC News — deliberately tried to cause pain and suffering for these rape victims. To make his point, he aired a highly-edited ambush interview with me from this past Saturday and concluded, “While Ms. Terkel is certainly a villain, she was obviously used by NBC News.” Watch the segment:
Here are the two things that O’Reilly conveniently left out of his segment:
— His Original Comments. O’Reilly said that he posted the full Aug. 2 interview about Moore on his website. (It’s here.) But he did not repeat his comments on air, nor did he try to defend them — perhaps recognizing that they are indefensible. These comments elicited outrage from more than 900 signatories to a petition by the Concerned Citizens Against Sexual Violence.
— His Harassment. O’Reilly never mentioned to his viewers how he scored that interview with me. He never contacted me for a statement or the chance to appear on his show before deploying his harassment machine. Instead, he sent his producers to stake out my apartment, follow me for two hours, and accost me while I was on vacation in Virginia (and the least prepared to recall a post I had written three weeks earlier).
Producer Jesse Watters — who carried out the stalking and harassment — was right; I didn’t remember O’Reilly’s comments about Mel Gibson in that interview. While O’Reilly may think that on vacation, women sit around thinking about his old radio interviews — prepared to talk about them at any moment — the truth is that they don’t. However, we went back and checked out those specific comments, in which he equates Gibson getting drunk and making anti-Semitic comments to a woman getting raped while she is drunk:
I think it’s safe to say that if Mel Gibson didn’t get drunk, he wouldn’t be in this terrible situation he finds himself in. And if a young woman, 18-year-old Jennifer Moore of Harrington Park, NJ, didn’t get drunk, she’d be alive today.
To recap: I write a blog post highlighting comments O’Reilly made during his radio show. He sends his henchmen to harass me. I can’t immediately recall a three-year old O’Reilly interview when accosted on the street. He refuses to explain or apologize for implying that a dead rape victim should have been expecting the crime. And I’m the villain.