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Bill O'Reilly's 'great ambushes...of justice' stalks blogger
Muriel Kane
Published: Monday March 23, 2009


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Blogger Amanda Terkel of ThinkProgress has become the latest victim of an ambush by a producer for Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.

The O'Reilly Factor's producers -- who have been dubbed "great ambushers...of justice" by The Daily Show's Jon Stewart -- are well-known for attempting to catch competing journalists as they go about their daily routines and firing accusatory questions at them.

Terkel had criticized O'Reilly for accepting an invitation to speak before a support group for rape survivors, even though he had suggested on his radio show last year that an 18-year-old, 5-foot-2-inch college student who was raped and murdered would "be alive today" if she hadn't been drunk and wearing an outfit with a bare midriff.

"This weekend, while on vacation, I was ambushed by O’Reilly’s top hit man, producer Jesse Watters, who accosted me on the street and told me that because I highlighted O’Reilly’s comments, I was causing 'pain and suffering' to rape victims and their families," Terkel writes. "He of course offered no proof to back up this claim, instead choosing to shout questions at me."

The producer accused ThinkProgress of being part of a "smear pipeline" and demanded that Terkel offer an apology on camera to rape victims. "O’Reilly never asked me for a statement nor invited me on his show before sending Watters to harass me," Terkel emphasizes. "Since I’m a 5 ft, 100 pound woman with an opinion that he doesn’t like, perhaps O’Reilly believes I deserve to be treated this way."

What makes the incident particularly disturbing is that it occurred while Terkel was on vacation, and the Fox producer and cameraman had apparently been stalking her for some time. She explains, "My friend and I were in this small town for a short weekend vacation and had told no one about where we were going. I can only infer that the two men staked out my apartment and then followed me for two hours. Looking back, my friend and I remember seeing their tan SUV following us for much of the trip."

Just a few weeks ago, Jon Stewart dissected O'Reilly's stalking techniques, contrasting them with his hypocritical attacks on paparazzi. Stewart commented that his "favorite part about the Factor is that they have no trouble reconciling their defense of celebrities' right to privacy with their intimidation of everyone else."

One widely-reported stalking incident occurred last June, when an O'Reilly producer ambushed veteran journalist Bill Moyers at the National Conference on Media Reform and demanded to know why he wouldn't appear on O'Reilly's program, telling him, "You like to beat up on producers instead of answering questions from tough journalists like Bill O'Reilly."

In October 2007, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann reported that O'Reilly had responded to Olbermann's coverage of his racist remarks after visiting a black restaurant "by threatening to 'come after, hunt down' all those who criticized him."

"Mr. O'Reilly's reference to hunting you down and coming after you is a dead giveaway that he plans another onslaught of attacks by his stalker producers," Olbermann noted. He illustrated the point with video of O'Reilly's people approaching NBC military analyst Bill Arkin in a store parking lot and asking him, "How could you say what you said? Don't you think that was really hurtful and harmful to the military families?"

Olbermann's conclusion was that the best was to respond in such a situation was to "fight fire with fire" by reciting references to particularly embarrassing incident in O'Reilly's own past. "Repeat them in any combination," he suggested, "intelligible or not, and you will be safe when the O'Reillyist attack inevitably comes."


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