Bill O'Reilly Has a Posse


One of the weirder features of the O'Reilly Factor is how the host directs his producers to seek out, in person, the people who dare to piss him off. This isn't an unusual trick for local news, the mileau that produced O'Reilly. But local news producers and reporters reserve their ambush time for criminals or creepy people. (Great example here.) O'Reilly goes after judges who've made wrong decisions and members of the media who make fun of him. Michael Roberts in the Denver Westwood tackles that side of the show with a focus on one lonesome newspaper columnist.

On April 7, [Joanne Ostrow] wrote an online piece chiding O'Reilly for spewing "racist bile" in an epic blowup with fellow Fox personality Geraldo Rivera. (O'Reilly and Rivera had harangued each other over a March 30 Virginia Beach crash in which two young women were reportedly killed by Alfredo Ramos, a drunk driver with a previous record and no green card. The former viewed the tragedy as an indictment of U.S. immigration policy; the latter argued against using the deaths to make a "cheap political point.") Two days later, O'Reilly put Ostrow in the "Ridiculous" spotlight, branding her "flat-out dishonest, and a far-left ideologue." In the meantime, O'Reilly producer Porter Berry phoned to ask if Ostrow would debate her statements on the Factor; she declined, saying her prose spoke for itself. Then, on April 10, Berry, a cameraman and a sound technician ambushed Ostrow in the parking lot of a Wild Oats market. (Berry flew in for the task.)

On April 11, O'Reilly aired this forced conversation on his nationally syndicated radio staple and the television Factor. Although KOA's Mike Rosen and KHOW's Peter Boyles scoffed at the notion that Ostrow had been stalked, her experiences imply otherwise. Since she went directly from her home to Wild Oats, Ostrow believes Berry staked out her residence and tailed her to the business.

It doesn't make much sense. O'Reilly frequently gloats about his dominance of the media—when the subject of NBC News or Keith Olbermann comes up, he flaunts his ratings like a chestful of medals earned storming Osama bin Laden's cave. And that just makes his peevishness, aided by all of Fox's resources, truly disturbing.

Cathy Young took whacks at O'Reilly in 2002 and 2007. To her eternal shame, she never got stalked by a TV producer with a boom mike.