O’Reilly Loses This Conservative

by Mike on January 19, 2007

in Anything Else

Many people believe that conservatives are fans of Bill O’Reilly. That’s not always true. Although I agree with O’Reilly’s political positions more often than not, I always saw him as a blowhard who often feigns expertise on subjects he knows nothing about. This tired act was once merely annoying. It is now inexcusable. I’m done with the Factor.

This story began about a week ago when a miracle happened in Missouri.  Two abducted children, Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck, were discovered alive after having been missing for four days and four years respectively. The elated families of both boys held separate press conferences to share the wonderful news that their children were alive.

Shawn Hornbeck had been missing for over four years and never tried to escape despite having some freedom of movement.  Admittedly, it is pretty difficult to understand why he didn’t try to escape.  However, those who have never been in such horrific circumstances cannot imagine what Shawn Hornbeck went through or what he was thinking. Unfortunately, ignorance of such circumstances did not prevent Bill O’Reilly from asserting that Shawn Hornbeck enjoyed the four years of captivity with his abductor. The following excerpt from the True Crime Blog of O’Reilly’s discussion with Greta Van Susteren is just a sample of O’Reilly’s comments.

BOR: Let me answer your question. This is what I believe in the Hearst case and in this case. The situation that Hearst found herself in was exciting. She had a boring life, child of privilege. All of a sudden she’s in with a bunch of charismatic thugs and she enjoyed it. The situation here with this kid is looks to me to be a lot more fun then when he had under his own parents. He didn’t have to go to school, He could run around and do what he wanted.

GVS: Some kids like school –

BOR: Well I don’t believe this kid did. And I think when it all comes down what’s going to happen is there was an element here that this kid liked about his circumstances…

O’Reilly later claimed he was merely “asking questions” because Stockholm Syndrome is rare. Even assuming this to be true, a child should at least be given the benefit of the doubt that his abductor threatened him in such a way that he was too terrified to make a break for it.  Hornbeck later stated this was the case. No one, including O’Reilly, can understand the fear this child faced. Even if Hornbeck had offered no explanation for failing to escape, O’Reilly’s “questions” were questions which should never have been asked.  Hornbeck deserves the benefit of the doubt. Period.

On a related note, O’Reilly and others have questioned the family’s decision to allow their son to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show. I don’t understand the decision, but again, I have never faced such circumstances.  Unlike most people,  Hornbeck’s family has worked very closely with families of other missing children for years. Tragically, they know the agony endured by the families of missing children. They also deserve the benefit of the doubt for their decision that Shawn could handle a television appearance.  At a minimum, people like O’Reilly who criticized the family’s decision should ask themselves if Hornbeck would have appeared on the show if certain media people had not fanned rumors that Hornbeck enjoyed his time in captivity.  The Oprah program dispelled that notion.

Ultimately, the only thing that matters is that both Ownby and Hornbeck are safe. Thank God!

I was never a fan of Bill O’Reilly even though I agree with him more often than not. The narcissism he often displays in everyday political debate is one thing, but this was just too much. An abducted child who was missing for four years doesn’t deserve to be slandered.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer February 1, 2007 at 2:44 am

More often than not I have agreed with Bill O’Reilly. Yes, I tend to be conservative. However, I am also a mother of three and work with adolescents professionally. I can’t find the words to say how disgusting and shameful I found O’Reilly’s comments. He could apologize every day for the next 20yrs. and he would never fall back into my good graces.

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Tim March 17, 2007 at 5:46 pm

I agree it was shamful what Orielly said but I believe it was do to his complete ingnorance of what could of happend and I also believe he is probably ashamed that he was so blind on how a child could have stayed there that Orielly can not even admit that in public at this point in his life. For he often or at least more so than any other news analysis I ever heard has apoligized more so on national air. If you believe in peoples intentions are what is most important maybe you do not need to hold such contempt for his ingnorance instead enbrace his efforts for children in the whole

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