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Bill O’Reilly e-mail bombs Mike Thompson

Last Sunday’s editorial cartoon by Mike Thompson stirred the ire of Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly. Mike’s cartoon was in response to NPR firing long-time analyst Juan Williams for comments he made on the Fox Network about fearing Muslims. The cartoon depicted several Fox News personalities in various garb – O’Reilly in a “Obama=Hitler” shirt, Sarah Pallin in a clown suit, Sean Hannity with a chest bomb, and Glenn Beck in a militant uniform.

Rob Tornoe reports that O’Reilly said, “Believe me when I tell you the far left is seething over all of this NPR stuff. The blow back has begun. Take a look at this political cartoon in the Detroit Free Press by Mike Thompson featuring me wearing ‘Obama equals Hitler’ stuff.” He then went on to give out Mike’s email address and urged his views to “let him know what you think.”

Mike reports on his blog that he’s received over 2,500 emails – “many of them unsuitable to publish,” he writes.

Mike continues:

While defending Williams’ right to free speech, O’Reilly and a number of his viewers tried and failed to bully me for exercising my right to free speech. What it all boils down to for people who behave like this isn’t defending the concept of free speech, rather defending free speech that agrees with their partisan point of view. Many of them decry Williams losing his job because, in their view, he was too conservative. But then want to defund NPR and cause everyone else at the broadcasting company to lose their jobs because, in their view, NPR employees are too liberal. Many of them would stand silently next to people carrying “Obama = Hitler” signs at Tea Party rallies that O’Reilly encourages and promotes, but scream foul when I put the slogan on his shirt in a cartoon. These same people decry what they see as a journalist being punished because of political correctness, then turn around and exercise their own form of political correctness by sending torrents of disparaging, and threatening e-mails in a failed attempt to intimidate a journalist who doesn’t agree with their worldview.

He also lists a few of the emails he’s received, including a death threat.

Community Comments

#1 Beth Cravens
October/26/2010
@ 2:20 pm

That’s free speech for everybody except cartoonists dontcha know. What really kills me is that these “pundits” can muddy facts with opinion and lies at their leisure, but you are not allowed to say your bit

#2 Nick Perkins
October/26/2010
@ 2:21 pm

There’s plenty about the Fox News folks to make fun of; why does Thompson have to make stuff up?

#3 August J. Pollak
October/26/2010
@ 2:22 pm

Man, that’s a great cartoon.

#4 Dave Stephens
October/26/2010
@ 2:23 pm

Only one death threat out of 2500? Was that the lone NPR listener? LOL

#5 Max Sawicky
October/26/2010
@ 2:27 pm

By O’Really, the cartoonist would have been better employed drawing caricatures of Allah.

#6 Jeff Darcy
October/26/2010
@ 4:02 pm

Mike’s voice mail must’ve been full also, because some of O’Reilly’s
fans were calling me complaining about his cartoon. Which I thought was really crazy since I had done a cartoon knocking NPR. They must have figured Cleveland’s close enough to Detroit

#7 Mike Peterson
October/26/2010
@ 4:19 pm

Doesn’t his receiving a death threat mean that all self-respecting cartoonists must immediately draw a cartoon making fun of O’Reilly?

#8 Scott Nickel
October/26/2010
@ 4:42 pm

Anyone have Bill O’Reilly’s email address handy?

#9 Scott Nickel
October/26/2010
@ 4:54 pm

This is what’s on the Fox News website.

oreilly@foxnews.com

#10 JP Trostle
October/26/2010
@ 5:33 pm

Honestly, we should drop Billo a line and *thank* him for actually crediting the cartoonist by name. All too often these wankers toss a cartoon up on the screen and say ‘look at this outrageous cartoon’ as if it magically appeared from the aether.

#11 Paul Fell
October/26/2010
@ 6:15 pm

You go, Mike!

#12 Rich Diesslin
October/26/2010
@ 6:15 pm

It’s a funny cartoon. Mike’s explanation only detracts from it.

#13 Carl Moore
October/26/2010
@ 9:08 pm

Not only is Mike’s cartoon a perfect example of tired, ol’ liberal cliches about conservatives (O’Reilly = Hitler? Wow, there’s a sharp, incisive laugh-getter), but not one of his caricatures gets even close to a likeness. A sad, sagging effort all the way around.

#14 Pete Murphey
October/26/2010
@ 9:22 pm

Isn’t O’Reilly encouraging more free speech (e-mail commentary) in reaction to Mike’s free speech? Where’s the foul?

#15 Jim Lavery
October/26/2010
@ 9:33 pm

Instead of illustrating Fox News’ supposed bigotry, this cartoon only displays Thompson’s own. Whatever one might think of O’Reilly, the Fox host has always expressed how he finds the “Obama = Hitler” (or “Obama Is Evil”) meme to be belligerent and over the line attacks. While disagreeing with the president on most things, he has always gone out of his way to do so on a respectful and policy-related level. Obama has even appeared on the show a few times himself. If Thompson spent the same amount of time on researching O’Reilly content as he did on his elaborated rendering of the Fox News set his cartoon might have some accuracy. But all he did was reveal himself to be not the “journalist” he claims to be but the ignorant partisan bomb thrower he claims O’Reilly to be.

#16 Scott Nickel
October/26/2010
@ 10:07 pm

Remember, that’s oreilly@foxnews.com

#17 Dave Bowman
October/27/2010
@ 2:46 am

The right-wing nutjobs exhorting their cohorts to send threatening emails is nothing new. They’ve used this tactic to silence college students, gay activists, community groups & professionals.

However, collecting those names & email addresses, uploading them to a national data-base, and making them available to everyone (including spammers) is new, and could very easily be done.

#18 Ted Rall
October/27/2010
@ 7:27 am

The email rules I’ve posted to my website have done wonders for increasing the civility of those who email me. I state that I reserve the right to post and reprint any emails I receive, including the email address. You’d be amazed how much that has kept the wingnuts’ death threats away.

Bullies thrive on thinking their threats will remain anonymous.

#19 Shane Davis
October/27/2010
@ 9:49 am

What amazes me is how fast the left has turned on Juan Williams. Is there anything as cannibalistic as liberals scorned?

#20 Gerald Vanderhoff
October/27/2010
@ 11:11 am

Fox News to world: If your words are edited to sound bigoted, you should be fired. If your words are actually bigoted, when can you start?

#21 Terry LaBan
October/27/2010
@ 11:12 am

@Jim Lavery While disagreeing with the president on most things, he has always gone out of his way to do so on a respectful and policy-related level.

What?! Are you freaking nuts? Do you actually listen to O’Reilly, or do you just turn down the volume and worship him?

I’ve never been terribly impressed by Mike Thompson, but that cartoon is pretty good. As for Shane’s statement that the left is “turning” on Juan Williams, I don’t know what he’s talking about. I never thought the guy was a great analyst, but that aside, he clearly never was a classic liberal. You can argue with the NPR’s firing him, but to say it’s some kind of a purge of conservative commentators as some, particularly O’Reilly, have, is ridiculous. NPR has more in-your-face conservatives on all the time–editors of the Weekly Standard, think tankers from the Cato Institute, you name it. It’s just another imaginary grievance Fox can use to wring ratings from the bitterly clinging to their guns and religion crowd.

#22 Pete McDonnell
October/27/2010
@ 12:15 pm

NPR had every right to can Williams for his remarks; his comment about Muslims may seem pretty mild compared to a lot of what passes for commentary on FOX, but it doesn’t pass muster as level headed reporting. NPR has a standard that makes their decision to fire him unassailable. Truth is, NPR pisses off liberals constantly: it was labeled “National Pentagon Radio” by the left for the content of their coverage of the war/occupation of Iraq. TV news is bottom-shelf, dumbed-down infotainment.

#23 Jim Lavery
October/27/2010
@ 12:35 pm

I don’t worship O’Reilly, nor do I watch him regularly—I don’t even really care for him. But I have heard him openly condemn the whole Obama=Hitler=Evil=Communist argument. That being the case, to tag him with that behavior is to do the same thing O’Reilly/Fox is accused of doing.

#24 Terry LaBan
October/27/2010
@ 2:35 pm

@ Jim
Ok, I take your point– O’Reilly never actually called Obama “Hitler”. He’s just been telling his viewers for 2 years that, say, forbidding health insurance companies to deny people coverage if they actually get sick is the equivalent of Stalinism. I’ll bet Hannity never wore a suicide vest or Palin a clown costume, either. But Beck DID dress up like a commissar, so let’s agree that this cartoon rates at least a “partly true” on that website that rates those things. Did you know that Republicans don’t really look like elephants, either? Darn cartoonists–you just can’t trust ’em.

#25 Mike Peterson
October/27/2010
@ 3:07 pm

I love Mike Thompson’s work, but I have to say I thought the Reilly figure was a clunker and the other three were spot-on. Having said that, it hardly calls for a denial-of-service attack, but Reilly has a demonstrably fragile ego and it’s not a surprise.

Wonder how he feels about this one, which not only pegs his little buddy Juan but once more resurrects his pathetic foray into phone sex …
http://www.gocomics.com/jeffdanziger/2010/10/26/

In the words of Sir Lawrence of The Coaxial, “Now, that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.”

More to the point, it’s accurate. I think Thompson went for a quick image and missed the target. And Billo overreacted.

#26 Shane Davis
October/27/2010
@ 7:36 pm

Terry,
I used to watch Fox News a lot and I’ve seen Juan Williams comment very frequently. I don’t know how you can say he’s not a classic liberal, but even if you go with him being a healthy center-left, did what he say on O’Rielly really justify firing him? I know leftist hate Fox News, O’Reilly and Limbaugh like cancer, but it seems they’re trying way to hard here…hating O’Reilly by proxy by beating up on Juan Williams just seems desperate. He’s about as inoffensive as a cup of warm pudding.

#27 Ted Rall
October/27/2010
@ 9:47 pm

Juan Williams was no liberal. He was radio’s version of Alan Colmes, just a paid punching bag for the right.

#28 Mike Peterson
October/28/2010
@ 3:18 am

Shane, read some of the news coverage rather than the commentary. He wasn’t fired for what he said. He was fired for what he kept saying. He consistently flouting the terms of his contract despite numerous sit-downs with the brass reminding him not to let his commentary go from the analytical to the personal. The final straw doesn’t have to weigh a ton.

#29 Terry LaBan
October/28/2010
@ 12:34 pm

I’m not defending the firing, Shane. I don’t know if he deserved it or not, but there’s no question that NPR handled it badly and in a way that made it appear to be punishing him for his politics. I’m just saying that are, in fact, plenty of credentialed, intelligent conservatives on NPR all the time(and almost no liberals of that sort on Fox). My general impression of Juan Williams, formed mostly when he hosted “Talk of the Nation” for awhile, years ago, was that he was a not that smart and out of his league.

#30 Shane Davis
October/28/2010
@ 3:42 pm

Terry,
Here I am trying to think up a cogent response and I end up laughing at what you said…
I don’t wanna beat up on him either but your evaluation of Mr. Williams tickled my funny bone…hee hee hee…

You might be surprised to find out I have the same opinion of Bill O’Reilly…

#31 Shane Davis
October/28/2010
@ 3:47 pm

Mike,
I’ll take what you say at face value, it frankly wasn’t important enough to me to dig deep enough into his history with NPR to know that, although I”ve heard plenty of ‘analyists’ wander into the personal and not get fired for it. On the (admittedly thinly informed) surface, it still appears he was fired for being ON Fox News, not for what he SAID on Fox News. But I could be wrong.

Ted,
So Alan Colmes serves the same purpose as Elisabeth Hasselbeck does on ‘The View’?

#32 Mike Peterson
October/28/2010
@ 5:40 pm

Shane, he was on Fox before he was on NPR. And I’ve often been uncomfortable with Mara Liaisson’s off-network gigs, but I’ve listened to her and also the Cokie Roberts, and they do offer some very certain predictions and very specific comments about why something happened or what someone’s intentions were. But they don’t spend a lot of time drawing on or referencing their personal experience (and Roberts has plenty that is germane). Williams exposes a lot of his personal feelings about things, and that’s what NPR kept telling him was inappropriate.

I went into more detail about how this all works on my personal blog, at http://nellieblogs.blogspot.com, but the bottom line is that, while NPR is more restrictive than some other places, those of us who have worked the newsroom understand that some newsrooms are tight@ss and some are pretty casual. It’s no big deal — If you don’t like the rules, you don’t take the job.

But you don’t take the job, break the rules and then whine about the outcome.

#33 Derf Backderf
October/29/2010
@ 1:25 pm

Perhaps NPR should hold a listener survey, ya know just like the comics polls editors love so much. The five lowest-rated personalities get the ax. Anything to get those Cartalk guys off the air….

#34 Smosongesmorp
January/16/2011
@ 7:20 pm

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#35 Henry Clausner
January/17/2011
@ 8:10 am

i like the cartoon…but where’s Rush Limbaugh?

#36 Jon Jacobs
January/17/2011
@ 2:11 pm

Poor Bill. It is so difficult to be Bill O’Reilly. He is so thin skinned and sensitive. He would appear to be the intellectual equivalent of Sarah Palin. And for that I do feel sorry for the schmuck.

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