Bill O’Reilly vs. Helen Thomas

Wed, February 11, 2009


I don’t want to stoop to Bill O’Reilly’s level, but after he went on his Helen Thomas mock-fest this week, I think I might have to start. With a Democrat back in the White House, Helen Thomas got promoted back to her front row status, after being demoted to the back of the room in the Bush administration. Thomas had her moment, in her trademark style, and got in the final question.

Afterwards, in a few short seconds, O’Reilly managed to insult Thomas the journalist, Thomas the woman, Thomas the senior citizen, Thomas’ clothes AND mothers in general! If he’d gone on talking for a little longer, I’m sure he could have found a way to work in her make-up and asked whether she wore army boots.

Wicked Witch of the East? Lincoln? Old lady?

Seriously, what is wrong with this man? Or, a better question is this — what is wrong with men who claim to be pundits and journalists and their constant sexist references as their default way to criticize women? You know, Bill (and all the others), if you want to criticize Helen or any of the rest of us on our journalistic abilities or how we’ve done our jobs, we can take it. There’s really no need to pull out the “your mother dresses you funny” card.

If O’Reilly is going to go down the “Helen Thomas is too old to do her job or to be taken seriously” road, I have to ask — would he say the same thing about someone like Daniel Schorr?

Helen is 89. Schorr is 93. They both have amazingly long lists of journalistic accomplishments. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to guess that if Dan Schorr had been at that news conference and had asked the same question, any reviews of his performance would not have focused on his nonagenarian appearance or whether he ought to be put out to pasture, the way O’Reilly did with Thomas.

The Helen Thomas rap by those Fox News guys is all about trying to keep women in “their place” — do your job, be accomplished, and keep plugging no matter your age, appearance or wrinkle status, and we’ll find a way to try to beat you back.

This is exactly what the bullies did when I was elementary school. This is exactly what the boy bullies are doing to some third-graders in PunditGirl’s class this year. The only difference is that when bullies grow up and someone puts them on television, our daughters get the message that bullies will continue to get the last word in, no matter how old they are.

I’m not worried about Helen. In a grudge match, I’m pretty sure she could take out O’Reilly with one pen tied behind her back! I bet she’s all fesity like that! But it’s not just about Helen — it’s about the rest of us and how our children see women portrayed by men on TV.

If you think O’Reilly should publicly apologize to Helen, stop by the Women’s Media Center site and sign the petition calling for him to sincerely say he’s sorry. I’m not holding my breath that O’Reilly has it in him, but we can try to make him feel a little shame, anyway. And if I knew where O’Reilly’s mother lived, I’d contact her and ask her to have a chat with her son about learning to respect his elders, especially women.

Or I suppose we could start our own mockfest of O’Reilly. No, it’s not the high road, but it might be the only kind of message he would get.

H/T to Jill at Writes Like She Talks for the video!

Be Sociable, Share!

Related Posts:

, , , ,

19 Responses to “Bill O’Reilly vs. Helen Thomas”

  1. Cynthia Samuels Says:

    This is a great post! It is hard to understand how these guys get away with this, even on Fox. Can you imagine them saying it, by the way, about Phyllis Schlafly or the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick? I think not.
    I frankly think he and Goldberg just do it to be outrageous so they can sell books. The cads.

  2. Jaelithe Says:

    Every time I hear anyone insult Helen Thomas, who is seriously an American hero in my book, I just remember that whole hilarious scene she created with Stephen Colbert for the White House Correspondents dinner, where she was stalking Colbert like some terrifying villain from a horror movie trying to ask him a question about the war in Iraq. Helen really pulled off an excellent impression of a totally unstoppable supernatural force.

    I hope that Bill O’Reilly and his ilk see that scene in their nightmares. Helen Thomas could probably make O’Reilly burst into tears with a glance. He must mock her because his inferiority to her is so painfully apparent.

  3. PunditMom Says:

    I agree with you, Cynthia, I’m sure it’s about the book sales. And Jaelithe, Helen is amazing. I met her once several years ago, and was impressed and excited to meet a great pioneer for women in journalism.

    O’Reilly wouldn’t even warrant carrying her purse.

  4. Open Minded Says:

    You are kidding me…right?? Helen has been dishing it out for so long she has become truly irrelevant. Our system allows for competing views, so lighten up and enjoy the show.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Hellen asked a stupid question and deserved to be ridiculed. No one complained when Palin was getting it from the far left. If O’Reilly wanted to be to mean to her, believe me, it would have been a lot worse.

  6. Jen Says:

    A few more examples.

    Last week Rush was putting down women that couldn’t pay a copay for any medical test that could scan for cancer. That we’re too cheap to pay the copays to save our lives.

    Dick Army told Joan Walsh on Hardball that he was glad she wasn’t his wife because he wouldn’t want to have to listen to her blathering all the time.

    It’s ridiculous. It’s time to fight back.

  7. Jill Says:

    I love tag-teaming on this stuff, PunditMom! Thank you. :)

    Here’s a link to Feministing’s account of Courtney Martin’s appearance on O’Reilly tonight – sounds like he just gets deeper and deeper into it. Gawd.

  8. impromptublogger Says:

    Ahem Anonymous – nobody complained about Palin’s treatment? Where were you for the 2 months before the election.

    Helen Thomas is a grand old lady of journalism and deserves to be treated with utmost respect. I hope to be that energetic at her age if I live that long.

  9. CharmingDriver Says:

    It’s clear to see where some people get their, ahem, ”Talking Points” (look at me when I’m talking to you Open Minded and Anon), as Bill O has said not only will he not apologize but that it is the fault of the ‘left wing fringe’.

  10. Keesha Says:

    Yeah! Let’s get right on that! Because Media Matters and (Democratic) Women’s Media Center tells us too.
    This is nonsense, Pundit Mom, and here’s why.
    Scott Horton wrote a post comparing Hillary and Condi Rice to witches. He did that last month. Where was Media Matters, where was (Democratic) Women’s Media Center?
    No where.
    We only call out the right wing?
    Not in my home.
    In my home, you attack women, you get called out.
    The FAILURE of high profile feminists — including the worthless women of WMC — was refusing to call out the ‘lefties’ using sexism against Hillary.
    Yes, it was easy to call out the MSNBC boys.
    I’ll take (Democratic) Women’s Media Center, Media Matters and Pundit Mom seriously when they find time to call out all sexists and not just create echo chambers of “Oh, that evil right wing!”
    That evil right wing (and I do think they’re evil) were far from alone in the damaging.
    And here’s a thought: If any of you had called out Scott Horton for calling two high profile women “witches” (and hiding it in some ‘unnamed’ friend), maybe the idiots at Fox so-called News would have known, “Uh, oh, better not go there.” But you waive it through and ignore it when it’s from our so-called friends and then want to act outraged when the right wing does it.
    Harper’s Magazine is a CESSPOOL of sexism. Check the masthead for women, check the website for women. The publisher can and does still slam Hillary month after month. And he never gets called out for his sexism and Scott Horton and the other boys at our supposedly left friend magazine trash us on a daily basis but let’s be offended that Bill O’Reilly went after Helen.
    As for Daniel Schorr, Bill would rip him to shreds. Know your history, Pundit Mom.
    The right wing hates DS for publishing the Pike Report.
    And what did the brave left friend DS do for women after that?
    Oh, yeah, he told his CBS bosses it was Lesely Stahl.
    Tried to get her fired and only after they were looking into it did he finally admit it was him at which point he was fired from CBS.
    People need to know their history.

  11. Jill Says:

    Bill O’Reilly would rip Daniel Schorr to shreds? Wow – talk about breaking with reality.

  12. Open Minded Says:

    Charming Driver: No talking points needed here. I get my information from various sources, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox and the broadcast network news shows. I love the broad spectrum and different views – except for the extreme clowns (Rush, Hannity, Olbermann, Maddow). Lynn Samuels has a lot of good stuff, as well as O’Reilly. I know that pains you, but overall there is insight on his show. We’re all in this together, and if we keep things away from the extremes we’ll all be much better off.

  13. Sharon Says:

    Once again you got people commenting, PunditMom. Well done. Keep doing what you’re doing. If you build it, they will come.

  14. PunditMom Says:

    For the record, I have spoken out against other instances of people calling other women the same names. I objected even when so-called journalists were treating Sarah Palin with sexist lingo.

    O’Reilly’s comments about SNL and Palin are red herrings — satire is different than purported journalists mocking women in sexist terms.

  15. PunditMom Says:

    And I know Dan Schorr. He may be in his 90s, but no one is going to rip him to shreds, especially O’Reilly.

  16. Says:

    Why is it every time a man criticize or make fun of a women on TV it is always sexist be honest lady’s if a old man would have been the target of the same treatment by a female reporter you would not bothered with your comments this is only one more event for feminists to spread their mysandry your not fooling anyone

    sent from:

  17. Says:

    I thought it was hilarious, it made my day. You know what? My mother called me that day laughing about it as well. You people need to lighten up and enjoy the comedic nature of political journalism in this world.

    sent from:

  18. Jill Says:

    Favorit – sounds like O’Reilly has a stand-up comedian audience all ready for him – please – encourage him to leave broadcast, would you?


  1. [...] am SO weary of men journalists (and some women) thinking they can get away with sexist slams of women in the name of political [...]

Leave a Reply