Be Proud: Bill O’Reilly’s Fascism
by Tom Gorman
February 13, 2003
Since an article I wrote last month for CounterPunch ("Bill O'Reilly's
Fascism," January 22), Mr. O'Reilly has graciously assisted in
demonstrating my thesis.
In the original essay, I quote O'Reilly's most recent definition of
fascism: "Using the threat of terror, which a lawsuit is, to promote
policy," (The O'Reilly Factor, 1/2/03). One correspondent has accused me
of being "sloppy" in supposedly conflating O'Reilly's definition to
include all lawsuits rather than ones used, as O'Reilly stated, "to
promote policy." I find this argument specious in that "to promote
policy" is a sufficiently ambiguous qualifier as to include nearly any
cause for which one might sue. To wit, the threat O'Reilly made, through his
lawyers, to the author of the oreilly-sucks.com website. O'Reilly's lawyers
warn the author that his "unauthorized use of Mr. O'Reilly's name for
commercial use" is a violation of the law (the website contains
advertising banners). "Immediately discontinue using Mr. O'Reilly's name
in any way as a designation for your website. . . . To the extent that you
ignore this request, you do so at your own peril," threatens Dianne
Brandi, a lawyer for both O'Reilly and Fox News. I would argue that the
"policy" being promoted here by these "fascist terrorists"
is O'Reilly's, namely, wanting to be able to criticize without being criticized
Perhaps even more indicative of O'Reilly's fascism, though, was his
treatment on the February 4 edition of the "O'Reilly Factor," of
Jeremy Glick, a signer of the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience whose
father perished in the World Trade Center attacks:
O'REILLY: In the "Personal Stories" segment
tonight, we were surprised to find out than an American who lost his father in
the World Trade Center attack had signed an anti-war advertisement that accused
the USA itself of terrorism.
The offending passage read, "We too watched with
shock the horrific events of September 11... we too mourned the thousands of
innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage -- even as
we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and a generation ago,
With us now is Jeremy Glick, whose father, Barry, was
a Port Authority worker at the Trade Center. Mr. Glick is a co-author of the
book "Another World is Possible."
I'm surprised you signed this. You were the only one
of all of the families who signed...
JEREMY GLICK, FATHER DIED IN WORLD TRADE CENTER:
Well, actually, that's not true.
O'REILLY: Who signed the advertisement?
GLICK: Peaceful Tomorrow, which represents 9/11
families, were also involved.
O'REILLY: Hold it, hold it, hold it, Jeremy. You're the
only one who signed this advertisement.
GLICK: As an individual.
O'REILLY: Yes, as -- with your name. You were the
only one. I was surprised, and the reason I was surprised is that this ad
equates the United States with the terrorists. And I was offended by that.
GLICK: Well, you say -- I remember earlier you said
it was a moral equivalency, and it's actually a material equivalency. And just
to back up for a second about your surprise, I'm actually shocked that you're
surprised. If you think about it, our current president, who I feel and many
feel is in this position illegitimately by neglecting the voices of
Afro-Americans in the Florida coup, which, actually, somebody got impeached for
during the Reconstruction period -- Our current president now inherited a
legacy from his father and inherited a political legacy that's responsible for
training militarily, economically, and situating geopolitically the parties
involved in the alleged assassination and the murder of my father and countless
of thousands of others. So I don't see why it's surprising...
O'REILLY: All right. Now let me stop you here. So...
GLICK: ... for you to think that I would come back
and want to support...
O'REILLY: It is surprising, and I'll tell you why.
I'll tell you why it's surprising.
GLICK: ... escalating...
O'REILLY: You are mouthing a far left position that
is a marginal position in this society, which you're entitled to.
GLICK: It's marginal -- right.
O'REILLY: You're entitled to it, all right, but you're
-- you see, even -- I'm sure your beliefs are sincere, but what upsets me is I
don't think your father would be approving of this.
GLICK: Well, actually, my father thought that Bush's
presidency was illegitimate.
O'REILLY: Maybe he did, but...
GLICK: I also didn't think that Bush...
O'REILLY: ... I don't think he'd be equating this
country as a terrorist nation as you are.
GLICK: Well, I wasn't saying that it was necessarily
O'REILLY: Yes, you are. You signed...
GLICK: What I'm saying is...
O'REILLY: ... this, and that absolutely said that.
GLICK: ... is that in -- six months before the Soviet
invasion in Afghanistan, starting in the Carter administration and continuing
and escalating while Bush's father was head of the CIA, we recruited a hundred
thousand radical mujahadeens to combat a democratic government in Afghanistan,
the Turaki government.
O'REILLY: All right. I don't want to...
O'REILLY: I don't want to debate world politics with
GLICK: Well, why not? This is about world politics.
O'REILLY: Because, No. 1, I don't really care what
GLICK: Well, OK.
O'REILLY: You're -- I want to...
GLICK: But you do care because you...
O'REILLY: No, no. Look...
GLICK: The reason why you care is because you evoke
O'REILLY: Here's why I care.
GLICK: ... to rationalize...
O'REILLY: Here's why I care...
GLICK: Let me finish. You evoke 9/11 to rationalize
everything from domestic plunder to imperialistic aggression worldwide.
O'REILLY: OK. That's a bunch...
GLICK: You evoke sympathy with the 9/11 families.
O'REILLY: That's a bunch of crap. I've done more for
the 9/11 families by their own admission -- I've done more for them than you
will ever hope to do.
O'REILLY: So you keep your mouth shut when you sit
here exploiting those people.
GLICK: Well, you're not representing me. You're not
O'REILLY: And I'd never represent you. You know why?
O'REILLY: Because you have a warped view of this
world and a warped view of this country.
GLICK: Well, explain that. Let me give you an example
of a parallel...
O'REILLY: No, I'm not going to debate this with you,
GLICK: Well, let me give you an example of parallel
experience. On September 14...
O'REILLY: No, no. Here's -- here's the...
GLICK: On September 14...
O'REILLY: Here's the record.
O'REILLY: All right. You didn't support the action
against Afghanistan to remove the Taliban. You were against it, OK.
GLICK: Why would I want to brutalize and further
punish the people in Afghanistan...
O'REILLY: Who killed your father!
GLICK: The people in Afghanistan...
O'REILLY: Who killed your father.
GLICK: ... didn't kill my father.
O'REILLY: Sure they did. The al Qaeda people were
GLICK: The al Qaeda people? What about the Afghan
O'REILLY: See, I'm more angry about it than you are!
GLICK: So what about George Bush?
O'REILLY: What about George Bush? He had nothing to
do with it.
GLICK: The director -- senior as director of the CIA.
O'REILLY: He had nothing to do with it.
GLICK: So the people that trained a hundred thousand
Mujahadeen who were...
O'REILLY: Man, I hope your mom isn't watching this.
GLICK: Well, I hope she is.
O'REILLY: I hope your mother is not watching this
because you -- that's it. I'm not going to say anymore.
O'REILLY: In respect for your father...
GLICK: On September 14, do you want to know what I'm
O'REILLY: Shut up. Shut up.
GLICK: Oh, please don't tell me to shut up.
O'REILLY: As respect -- as respect -- in respect for
your father, who was a Port Authority worker, a fine American, who got killed
unnecessarily by barbarians...
GLICK: By radical extremists who were trained by this
O'REILLY: Out of respect for him...
GLICK: ... not the people of America.
O'REILLY: ... I'm not going to...
GLICK: ... The people of the ruling class, the small
O'REILLY: Cut his mic. I'm not going to dress you
down anymore, out of respect for your father.
We will be back in a moment with more of THE FACTOR.
GLICK: That means we're done?
O'REILLY: We're done.
After going to commercial, Glick reports that O'Reilly threatened him.
"Get out, get out of my studio before I tear you to fucking pieces!"
Beyond the fascist threat of physical violence, it is amusing to note that
O'Reilly considers the studio to be "his." The public, in fact, owns
the airwaves over which he broadcasts his fascist rantings. Furthermore,
O'Reilly invited Glick on the show.
After giving in to O'Reilly's threat, Glick was approached by
"nearly all" of the studio staff who apologized for O'Reilly's
behavior, but encouraged Glick--who was, as he put it, "having a cup of
coffee to calm his nerves" after the near-battery by O'Reilly--to leave
before O'Reilly found out he was still there.
The next day, O'Reilly continued to slander Glick, citing letters that
were supposedly running eight to one in praise of his bullying. "Glick was
out of control and spewing hatred for this program and his country using vile
propaganda. This is a no-spin zone, and wild ravings will be shut down
quick," huffed O'Reilly, though Glick argues that the video of the
exchange shows O'Reilly as the one "out of control." Glick dismisses
this as a clear case of "projection" on O'Reilly's part. One letter
writer commented that Glick's "condemnation of America and his stated sympathy
for those who killed his father was truly appalling," though anyone who
reads the transcript above can see this as an absolute lie.
While completely understanding Glick not wanting to be brutalized by
the fascist O'Reilly, it would have be an interesting lawsuit against the bully
of Fox News. Also, I would encourage Glick to pursue criminal charges against
O'Reilly with the Manhattan District Attorney's office for violation of New
York Penal Code Section 240.26, "Harassment in the second degree":
"A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when, with
intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person:
1. He or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other
person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same"
Should Glick be reluctant to press charges, perhaps it is incumbent
upon the Manhattan prosecutor to follow through on this case for the safety of
society. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's office can be reached at (212)
Tom Gorman is an activist and writer living in Glendale, CA. He
welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.