Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dare to dream: Bill O'Reilly's Enemies List

I mentioned to some friends this week that Fox News crazy person Bill O'Reilly maintains his own Enemies List on the web. They assumed that they had misheard me. "Do you mean," they asked, "that someone is keeping a list of all the people and/or groups that O'Reilly has condemned? I'm sure Fox News itself wouldn't actually maintain something like that."

No, you heard me right the first time. Bill O'Reilly maintains an enemies list on his web site, which he calls his Media Outlets "Hall of Shame."

It all started you see in 2005, after Bill invited Al Qaeda to destroy the Coit Tower in San Francisco. Once again, I am not kidding. Criticizing a ballot measure passed by San Francisco voters urging public high schools and colleges to prohibit on-campus military recruiting, O'Reilly declared in November of 2005 that the rest of America should tell San Franciscans that, "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say (to Al Qaeda), look, every other place in America is off-limits to you, except San Francisco."

Not surprisingly, O'Reilly's remarks became the talk of the Internet. His reaction was swift: "I’m glad the smear sites made a big deal out of it. Now we can all know who was with the anti-military internet crowd. We’ll post the names of all who support the smear merchants on So check with us."

And of course as far as O'Reilly's concerned, if any source quotes his outrageous remarks and criticizes them, that source is "smearing" him.

When the Hall of Shame was first posted later in November, 2005, it only included three names, all of them mainstream media rather than web-based sources: MSNBC, The St. Petersburg Times, and the New York Daily News. The News was presumably chosen because it had the distinction of breaking the 2004 story of O'Reilly's sexual harassment of Fox News employee Andrea Mackris. Referring to the Hall of Shame as O'Reilly's "Enemies List" stems of course from memories of Richard Nixon's Enemies List. Nixon's original list was compiled for him by Charles Colson in 1971. Actor Paul Newman once stated that his inclusion on the list was one of his greatest accomplishments.

Since 2005, O'Reilly's list hasn't grown very much. He also has not, alas, added any web-based news sources or bloggers to the list, despite the fact that he originally promised to do so. The list did make news again this past week when Roger Ebert thanked O'Reilly for adding the Chicago Sun-Times to the Hall of Shame. Ebert observes that the Sun-Times is not looking for the favor of, "a man who turns red and starts screaming when anyone disagrees with him."

Mister O'Reilly, I implore you: add bloggers to the Hall of Shame. I can think of no greater achievement for Joe's Prediction than to one day earn membership.

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