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 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 in return.
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, Vietnam.”
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 like that.
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 you.
GLICK: Well, why not? This is about world politics.
O’REILLY: Because, No. 1, I don’t really care what you think.
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 9/11…
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 representing me.
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, all right.
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 trained there.
GLICK: The al Qaeda people? What about the Afghan people?
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 doing?
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 government…
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 minority.
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) 335-9000.
TOM GORMAN is an activist and writer living in Glendale, CA. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.