NARAL Says No to O’Reilly


Bill O’Reilly is a notoriously imposing figure; his brash manner and inability to let his guests respond to obscene questioning must make the prospect of visiting his show terrifying.

In a Washington Post op-ed today, Mary Alice Carr, vice president of communications for NARAL Pro-Choice New York, announced that she would no longer be willing to be a guest on his show. She wasn’t intimidated by him, but in awe of his response to the assassination of Dr. Tiller.

“O’Reilly had the opportunity to apologize for his words, and he didn’t. He had the opportunity to say that this tragic outcome was something about which he felt sorry. He didn’t. When restraint and perspective were called for, he fanned the flames higher. In fact, on his June 1 ‘Talking Points,’ he played the martyr, saying his critics were seeking to stifle any criticism of ‘people like Tiller—that and hating Fox News is the real agenda here.’ On his show the next day—the show I declined to appear on—he again called a murdered man ‘Dr. Killer.’”


O’Reilly attracts about 3 million viewers a night and, for some reason, many of them trust his smug demeanor, incorrect facts, and bombastic language. Sometimes it’s difficult to handle. While watching a clip of Carr being berated by the FOX commentator in 2004, I shouted at my computer screen. Instead of listening to her points, he simply repeated questionable polls, and an anecdote about a women that used the excuse of a headache in order to receive an abortion the day before she gave birth. (I did some careful digging, and found no evidence to back it up.) Despite this distraction, Carr was able to make a clear point about keeping late term abortions legal.

So why now, at a time when he seems to be so in need of correction, does Carr not want to appear on the show? She was offered a slot for the June 2 show, but turned it down.

“I realized I just couldn’t. Because if the murder of a man in a house of worship wasn’t enough to make Bill O’Reilly repent, what hope did I have?”

It’s obvious that O’Reilly already has his mind made up, and that he will misrepresent these issues as long as someone gives him a soapbox to stand on. But does that mean the 3.132 million viewers that tuned in that night are lost causes, as well?

The opportunity to speak to that many members of the opposite side—and a few of us sick liberals who watch it like a car crash—shouldn’t be lost. If Carr has become exasperated with O’Reilly’s bullying tactics, it’s understandable that she would decline further invitations. But lets make sure someone can respond intelligently and patiently to his empty stories and smug smiles, as Carr was able to do before.

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  • progo35

    Actually, Carr is being dishonest here. I saw the show last night and he did not reffer to Dr. Tiller as “Dr. Killer.”

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    It’s not that he has never done this, but he didn’t say this particular thing last night. I, personally, think that some have gone overboard in blaming Fox News directly for the shooting, as Keith Olbermann did recently on his show. I try to avoid using such labels because I think they are incediary in terms of trying to have reasonable discourse about abortion. But, I do not feel that people who said various things about Tiller are responsible for his murder, any more than the anti war movement is responsible for the recent shooting at a recruiting station, or Muslim people are for 9/11.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    Typically democrat BS…always blame someone else. No one is ever responisble for thier own actions.

    Mary Alice Carr is the real killer. O Reilly has a RIGHT to his opinion. Thats why our country is great.

    Mary Alice Carr, shame on you for printing such trash.

    • invalid-0

      Mary Alice Carr didn’t kill anybody. He, “who shall not be named,” has the right to be wrong, and our country would be even greater if smug, bullying, misogynistic, make-up-the-facts-as-they-go-along commentators and their silly minions would willingly wake up and stop their irresponsible, complicit hatemongering. Olbermann may be bombastic, but he is the perfect, intelligent, long-overdue antidote to Faux News. If I catch parts of his show once or twice a week, I feel quite relieved that he so efficiently eviserates the far right’s malevolence that went unanswered for far too long. Actually, either he or Rachel Maddow should invite NARAL on either program to discuss reproductive health issues and the struggle for American women to maintain the right to choose when to become mothers. (Yes, I know that SOME of the far-right believe that can easily be accomplished by women merely keeping their legs crossed–and that women should go back to being men’s chattel as well.) But a NARAL spokeswoman’s appearing in a real discussion format would be refreshing. If NARAL has been on either program, I missed it because I’m not a big TV person. Here’s a link to Olbermann’s brilliant critique of he-who-shall-not-be-named: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/02/olbermann-fox-news-compli_n_210188.html.

  • invalid-0

    It’s great for NARAL that Carr scored the op-ed, but enough already. A lot of people came to the conclusion that O’Reilly is a hatemonger *before* anyone got killed.

    Turning down a television interview is NOT an act of courage – not even inside the beltway (lol).

  • invalid-0

    I am ever bemused by any who expect fair (or balanced) treatment from unconvicted abusive monopolies, especially those owned by Rupert Murdoch.

    Kudos to Ms. Carr for refusing jerks their increased noteriety.

  • hatmaker510

    It is tempting to get sucked into that which we would like to consider a productive discussion. The problem is it can end up going around and around – regardless of whatever truths we offer up. Those discussions are rarely, if ever, productive. O’Reilly is a perfect example of this. He frequently fails to give the interviewee an opportunity to respond. If they are allowed to respond, he twists their words and cuts them off. All while his own truths are lacking in credibility. This is why I completely understand why Ms. Carr declined.  Been there, done that. She already knows the result will be an exercise in futility. Knowing this will be the outcome again, why bother? Often the people who cling to their beliefs/opinions when they are not based in fact or evidence to begin with, aren’t likely to understand common sense anyway. They cling to their beliefs and simply refuse to hear anything else. No matter what. Knowledge cannot be achieved with this dynamic.
    Productive, respectful discussions are time better spent.

    Melissa

  • invalid-0

    Bill O’Reilley is upset at the criticism because he thinks his free speech rights allows him to say anything he wants, when it is clear that he wants the free speech rights rescinded for those who criticize him!

    His extreme disrespect for the law is difficult to believe. In this country he has a right to believe a fetus is a person just as he is allowed to believe that an acorn is an oak tree if he wishes, but he has no right to require the rest of us (or the law) to agree to change the meanings of those words!

    I wish that all want abortions criminalized would read “This Common Secret” by Dr. Susan Wicklund. That might inspire compassion and understanding.

  • invalid-0

    I wish more groups would boycott appearing on O’Reilly. Part of what he likes is to have an “opponent” he can interview and set up for attack. Those opportunities should be taken away from him.