Thursday, June 4, 2009

Haiku 060409

drifting clouds
of cottonwood seeds...
spring blizzard


Recently, we read the following:

Washington Post: “Tiller killing puts spotlight on Fox's O'Reilly” by David Bauder (AP)

“The shooting death of abortion provider George Tiller has put Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly in the media spotlight because of stories he did about the Kansas doctor over the past few years.

“Liberal commentators have questioned whether O'Reilly's words, including calling the doctor 'Tiller the baby killer,' were too incendiary. O'Reilly condemned Tiller's killing and said his opponents are exploiting the murder to attack Fox and stifle criticism of people like Tiller.

“Tiller was gunned down Sunday while at church services in Wichita. He had operated a clinic that was one of three in the nation to perform abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy, when the fetus is considered viable, and had survived a previous shooting….

“Before Tiller's death, O'Reilly had talked about him on his top-rated ‘The O'Reilly Factor’ some 29 times since February 2005, according to Salon magazine Monday. Twice he sent producers to Kansas to report on the story. In June 2007, Fox's Porter Barry confronted Tiller in the street and asked, ‘they call you Tiller the baby killer. Is that appropriate?’ Tiller was shown calling 911 and saying he was being accosted by an O'Reilly producer. Last July, Fox's Jesse Waters followed then-Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in the street to ask about Tiller.

“Salon's Gabriel Winant wrote that ‘O'Reilly didn't tell anyone to do anything violent, but he did put Tiller in the public eye, and help make him the focus of a movement with a history of violence against exactly these kinds of targets.’

“Frank Schaeffer, who with his father Francis in the 1980s said that force could sometimes be justified in fighting abortions, wrote in The Huffington Post that he and the religious right ‘all contributed to this killing by our foolish and incendiary words. I am very sorry....’


And we thought:

….Wasn’t Hitler accountable when his Jew-hating followers in fact carried out the killing of Jews in the millions?

Curiously, even if many hold O’Reilly accountable for sowing hatred for “Tiller the baby-killer,” some question if it’s “his fault if some abortion-hating fanatic decides to kill another human being.” How could O’Reilly be held blameless otherwise? It was his repeated verbal assaults against Tiller’s person that one of O'Reilly's viewers/followers finally played out. At the least he bears some responsibility for Tiller’s killing.

O’Reilly, over the years, fomented hatred against Tiller, the person. His relentless name-calling and personal attacks obviously just clouded the issues and obscured the legal paths anti-abortionists might take. He could have remained focused on Tiller’s acts -- the abortions he performed that O’Reilly hated -- and the law and court opinions that allowed those acts. This would have been the more responsible, public behavior for O’Reilly.

O’Reilly reportedly holds sway over 3.3 million viewers. He should certainly be careful about what he says on the air. Who knows – maybe Tiller’s killer took one of O’Reilly’s “hate” labels for Tiller as code word to kill….

No comments: