Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has carefully followed the story of Marine veteran Jon Hammar, who has been imprisoned in Mexico for having carried an antique shotgun into the country. In passionate segments on Fox News, O’Reilly and other network personalities have called for his release, along with chiding U.S. officials for failing to make his case a priority.
Given the apparent hopelessness of the situation, O’Reilly is now calling for drastic action. In a discussion on the Fox News show “The Five,” O’Reilly said this:
“If Mexico doesn’t release the corporal by Christmas, I’m going to call for a boycott of Mexico. Nobody goes.”
And what would that boycott entail?
“Individual tourism and airlines flying there. We can do that, and we will.”
None of the roundtablists of “The Five” saw fit to call O’Reilly a “fascist” and “un-American.” ‘Cause those are the words that O’Reilly used earlier this year to describe a headline-making boycott.
Lefty groups in March organized a boycott of Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers following the host’s misogyny toward Sandra Fluke. O’Reilly made clear his opposition to such tactics:
“The entire boycott movement is garbage. The far left threatening sponsors who advertise on programs they don’t like is flat-out un-American.”
“There’s something very fascist about all this — shut down your opposition; don’t let them speak. . . . In every totalitarian state in the world, that is tactic No. 1: silence the opposition.”
O’Reilly might try to fashion a distinction between his possible boycott of Mexico—a strictly commercial endeavor—and the Limbaugh thing—which was orchestrated, indeed, to shut someone up.
Yet O’Reilly’s riffing about a boycott surely does amount to a threat, something that the host railed against during the Limbaugh-Fluke madness. A discussion with communications specialist Michael Maslansky on March 15 went like this:
O’REILLY: All right, Mr. Maslansky, are boycotts un-American?
MASLANSKY: Well, personally I hate a lot of what’s going on here. But I wouldn’t call it un-American. And this is — this is no different from using your influence to — to accelerate the way the market reacts to something. All they are doing is putting their view out there. No different from people on the Republican side saying that we should fire Obama.
O’REILLY: That’s an election. Mr. Maslansky, the boycott movement from the left right now is driven by threats. Threats, would say, would you agree with that?
MASLANSKY: Well I think threat that what —
O’REILLY: Retaliatory action against companies who continue to buy spots on programs they don’t like. That is a threat. Do you — would you agree?
MASLANSKY: Well, only to the extent that it’s forcing or accelerating market change. Basically what they’re saying —
O’REILLY: No, no. It’s a threat. That basically what they’re saying is if this sponsor continues to support this program, we will try to hurt that sponsor by telling our followers not to buy it. That’s a threat. Right?