Bill O’Reilly — apparently stung by criticism that he recently “play[ed] into one of the oldest anti-Semitic canards about Jews” with his “deeply insensitive” suggestion that a Jewish caller “go to Israel” — has repeatedly lashed out at Media Matters for America for publicizing his comments.
This week, Media Matters for America President and CEO David Brock had enough, and wrote to O’Reilly:
As you can see, Mr. O’Reilly, you have repeatedly and personally attacked me, Media Matters for America, and my fine staff, calling us “vile,” “despicable,” and “weasels,” and comparing us to the Ku Klux Klan, Castro, Mao, and the Nazis. And you have refused my repeated requests to appear on your broadcast.
You once offered your viewers your definition of the word “coward.” On the January 5, 2004, O’Reilly Factor, you declared: “If you attack someone publicly, as these men did to me, you have an obligation to face the person you are smearing. If you don’t, you are a coward.”
Well, Mr. O’Reilly, you have attacked me publicly on numerous occasions, and you refuse to face me. You, sir, are a coward — by your own definition of the term. You are “hiding under your desk” (to paraphrase your August 26, 2003, claim about a “coward” who declined to appear on your show) rather than allowing me on your program to discuss your insults. You are “gutless,” to borrow the phrase you used on January 10, 2003, and February 8, 2001, to describe people who would not appear on your program. I attach additional examples of your pejorative descriptions of those who decline invitations to appear on your broadcast.
Your frequent complaint that your words are taken out of context appears to have spurred your recent assault on my organization. While reasonable people can disagree about conclusions we, or you, have drawn about your comments, you are simply wrong to say that we took you out of context. I remain willing and eager to appear on either your television or radio program to discuss your contention that my organization has taken your comments out of context.
Should you continue to refuse this offer, it is only reasonable that the American people will conclude that you are not only — as you would put it — a “coward,” but a hypocrite as well.
As of this writing, Media Matters for America has not received a response from O’Reilly.