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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 02:57 PM ET, 11/04/2011

O’Reilly: Fair and balanced on OWS

Observe the brilliance of Bill O’Reilly. Last night in the “Talking Points” segment of the O’Reilly Factor, the host decided to address the Occupy Wall Street movement. Specifically its relationship with violence and destruction.

In opening his argument, O’Reilly cited “reporters” who have concluded that the movement is split between those who want peaceful protests and those who want to “destroy stuff.” He then introduced some footage by saying, “Last night in Oakland, the destroyers won.”

Moving back into editorial mode, O’Reilly slowed down and announced to viewers how reasonable he is:

Now Talking Points always wants to be fair, so here’s a balanced perspective.

Fair and balanced---just what the viewers love. Having established how impartial a guy he is, O’Reilly gets into the thick of it:

In the beginning, many of the protesters simply wanted to vent a legitimate beef--that greedy banks and brokerage houses are manipulating the economy so that working people make less money. In some cases, that is true. So like the Tea Party, the occupiers have some valid points. But very quickly, very quickly, anarchists, communists, and violent psychopaths showed up, and now we have chaos.

Bold text added to highlight a pivotal archival question: Since when did O’Reilly ever believe that these people were anything other than extremist wackos? Have a look at the segment below:

In the space of several minutes, O’Reilly called the protesters “far-left loons” and “anarchists.” Then he said:

“I think they want to tear this country down---that they hate the country.”

When did O’Reilly say all of this? Oct. 6, just a few weeks after the protests kicked off and right in the midst of the first media explosion on OWS. That sounds pretty much like the “beginning” of things.

Let’s wind the clock back a bit further. On an Oct. 3 show, O’Reilly said this about the protesters:

“They want to destroy the system. They want a quasi-socialistic system like Europe or a real socialist system like Cuba. That was almost uniform to everybody we talked to. They don’t like capitalism.”

Those comments stemmed from an even earlier Factor, a Sept. 30 show in which O’Reilly sent producer Jesse Watters to the protests to collect feedback from the people. Following the outing, Watters sat down with O’Reilly to make fun of Occupy Wall Street. Their chat presaged the coverage to come---namely, that these people were a bunch of commies, at best.

In deference to the ideologically flexible O’Reilly, he has conceded that the job market is tough on the country’s young people and that up-and-coming generations appear to have it harder than he did. He even went so far as to say, in the Oct. 3 show, that the fat cats “are sitting on all this money, some of it derived by taxpayers. And they’re not helping out in the economy by getting into the circulation.”

But the notion that O’Reilly once viewed the protesters as proud Americans who got stormed by anarchists arriving by sea or van? Ha.

By  |  02:57 PM ET, 11/04/2011

 
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