Dr. George Tiller, the OB-GYN who performed late-term abortions, was shot and killed this past weekend and this week much has been coming out about his past and possible connections between what happened and Fox News.
The alleged murderer, Scott Roeder, supposedly posted the following on an Operation Rescue web site in 2007:
It seems as though what is happening in Kansas could be compared to the “lawlessness” which is spoken of in the Bible. Tiller is the concentration camp “Mengele” of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgement upon our nation.
There were 29 episodes of The O’Reilly Factor that mentioned Dr. George Tiller with hateful, sometimes violent, language. Some examples were mentioned on BradBlog.
O’Reilly continued his series of programs focusing on the Kansas physician, charging him with “operating a death mill” (video here), and alleging that he was “executing babies” (video here).
O’Reilly had previously been highly critical of the state’s Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, charging, during his “Talking Points” commentary in 2007, that she was “allowing [Tiller] to continue the slaughter.”
The idea that Bill O’Reilly‘s inciteful language was influential for people, like Roeder, was furthered by Salon’s Gabriel Winant.
Tiller’s name first appeared on The Factor on Feb. 25, 2005. Since then, O’Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as recently as April 27 of this year. Almost invariably, Tiller is described as “Tiller the Baby Killer.”
Tiller, O’Reilly likes to say, “destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000.” He’s guilty of “Nazi stuff,” said O’Reilly on June 8, 2005; a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida, he suggested on March 15, 2006. “This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union,” said O’Reilly on Nov. 9, 2006.
O’Reilly has also frequently linked Tiller to his longtime obsession, child molestation and rape. Because a young teenager who received an abortion from Tiller could, by definition, have been a victim of statutory rape, O’Reilly frequently suggested that the clinic was covering up for child rapists (rather than teenage boyfriends) by refusing to release records on the abortions performed.
The New York Times also reported on the possible connection, providing quotes and details from several sources.
Within nine hours of Dr. Tiller’s death, Salon magazine had catalogued references to him on 29 episodes of “The O’Reilly Factor” from 2005 to 2009. In one, Mr. O’Reilly talks about him and the lawmakers who supported his “business of destruction,” saying, “I wouldn’t want to be these people if there is a Judgment Day.”
Bloggers quickly found new examples of Mr. O’Reilly’s condemnation of Dr. Tiller. A commenter on Daily Kos noted that Mr. O’Reilly once sent a producer to ambush the doctor at his home in Kansas. After the producer told him that some people called him a “baby killer,” the doctor tried to leave his house and called 911. The camera crew ended the confrontation.
The murderer is responsible for his own actions, but influences cannot be denied. The question then becomes, was he influenced by the hateful and violent rhetoric from people like Bill O’Reilly. We’re not likely to know unless he specifically states what incited his actions. Regardless, the use of such language is sickening, to say the least.
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