Can Bill O’Reilly Say ‘Civil Assault?’

Mon, March 23, 2009


[Civil] assault is an intentional attempt or threat to inflict injury upon a person, coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm, which creates a reasonable apprehension of bodily harm or offensive contact in another. Assault does not require actual touching or bodily harm to the victim.”

Apparently Bill O’Reilly isn’t familiar with the fact that sending a couple of guys to stalk and ambush a young woman reporter, regardless of whether they physically accosted her, could get him sued … again.

O’Reilly or someone at Fox News sent O’Reilly’s producer and “helper” to stalk and intimidate Amanda Terkel of ThinkProgress after she highlighted in a speech that O’Reilly had suggested that if a woman is dressed in a suggestive way, and becomes the victim of rape, she was asking for it.

To add insult to injury, take a look at the comments on this story over at Politico. I don’t know what’s scarier — the fact that Fox News thought its actions were legitimate “journalism” or the comments online of people who think stalking an O’Reilly critic deserved it:

“That is nothing compared to what Lunatic Lying Liberal Losers have done in times past. Too effing bad, [woman], how do you like it, you sleaze bag? I hope they continue to “ambush” you, you miserable cow.”

So do you think if a couple of guys you didn’t know stalked you on your weekend getaway and then ambushed you O’Reilly style, that you might think there was a threat of bodily harm? In my book, that’s a no brainer.

I’m sure O’Reilly will have something self-serving to say about this soon, though at the moment Fox isn’t commenting. But the bigger issue is the fact that men, both high profile and anonymous, continue to think it’s fair to intimidate a woman because she dares to publicly disagree with them. And as long as that’s the case, we’ll never be rid of the likes of Bill O’Reilly and it won’t be safe to speak our minds.

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8 Responses to “Can Bill O’Reilly Say ‘Civil Assault?’”

  1. Cynthia Samuels Says:

    Once in a while the “ambush interview” is useful – when some highly-privileged bozo hides behind office doors and security guards and won’t talk. Once in a while.
    This case is not one of those “whiles.” Even more puzzling to me is that it’s very expensive to send a producer/reporter and a cameraperson two hours into Virginia and in these times, surprising. I have posited on our list that they are desperate for ratings; it’s the only reason that makes sense. Great post Pundita.

  2. Bob King Says:

    One wonders what reactions there would be on the Right should such stalkers find out the hard way that their target had secured a concealed carry permit?

    Not that I would advise that – not before having achieved some mastery of UN-armed self-defense. Yang Style Tai-Chi or Aiki-Jitsu are particularly effective for small people who may have to cope with large and aggressive jerks with minimal after-action paperwork. :>

  3. NYCity Mama Says:

    I agree with Ms. Samuels. They must be desperate for ratings. I don’t consider Fox “News” that at all. But they feed the desperation and hostility of a certain market in our society…the same that would respond in the way the commentator you highlighted did. Someone should be sued. Disagreeing with someone doesn’t not open them to this level of assault, especially from so called professional “journalists”.

  4. April Says:

    Ugh. I really wish I had read this before lunch. This makes me nauseous.
    I also just happened to be discussing at lunch how our culture continues to label women as “bitter” if they say they never want to marry again. Yeah, couldn’t be the MEN at all now, could it?

  5. PunditMom Says:

    I’m not against all ambush interviews. There is a time and place for that tactic. The difference here is that there was no apparent attempt to talk with her before. No requests for an interview to challenge her. They just decided to apparently stalk her house and follow her as an intimidation tactic.

    Yes, O’Reilly does this to lots of people — but does he stake out their homes and follow them on vacation? This one is beyond the pale.

  6. PunditMom Says:

    Not to mention the stalker laws that they probably violated

  7. miranda Says:

    My husband pointed out that this sort of technique is the mark of someone who is insecure and obviously can’t handle strong women. Whether that’s true or not, I can see where some men probably struggle with women who are smart, strong and independent. It’s so much easier to think of women as stupid sexual objects.

  8. Stefanie Says:

    You have NO idea what attempts they made to speak with this woman, who was obviously clueless. There was no “apparant” requests for an interview? How do you know that? She was commenting on something he said that she did not even listen to herself, she only quoted the parts that fit her agenda.
    If you notice, she was not “ambushed” she was walking with a male along the street…she was not alone.
    I don’t think Fox News is desparate for ratings, as the O’Reilly show has more than TRIPLE the viewers of any other show in his time slot.
    Why do I not hear your outrage about the rape victim and her family, (the ones this woman was blogging about) and how much this “ambushed journalist’s” words have done damage to them and their foundation? Do your homework.

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