If Helen Thomas is a Witch, What Does That Make Bill O’Reilly?

Fri, February 13, 2009

Moms & Politics

It’s always easy to tell when you’ve hit a nerve with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly because he loses that condescending laugh of his and goes on the uber-attack. It’s clear that he’s currently on the feminist warpath after being called out for attacking journalistic icon Helen Thomas by comparing her to the Wicked Witch of the East.

I know I talked about this latest attack on a woman earlier this week, but since O’Reilly won’t let it go, I figure I can write about it again!

At age 88, Helen (I met her once, so I hope she doesn’t mind if I call her by her first name), is a shining role model for all girls. A member of the White House press corps for almost 50 years, she’s still at it, even though the George W. Bush administration moved her from her traditional front row seat in the press room to the back of the bus. She’s in front again and after her question to President Obama this week, O’Reilly and his Fox News pals had a field day in the guise of journalistic criticism by mocking everything they could think of, including their suggestion that their moms were better suited to cover President Obama than Thomas.

Then, never one to to let a moment in the spotlight go to waste, O’Reilly suggested that those of us upset by his shenanigans don’t have a leg to stand on because he didn’t perceive enough liberal outrage over Saturday Night Live’s portrayal og Sarah Palin (nice bait and switch, Bill). As author Courtney Martin pointed out when she bravely took on the O’Reilly machine, SNL skewers everyone and uses physical characteristics to do it for comedy’s sake; SNL isn’t a purported news show where we expect at least some modicum of respect toward others in the field.

Here’s the diff in my book — when so-called male journalists attack women reporters and suggest to the world that one of the most accomplished in the field is too old, too ugly, dresses funny and is like the Wicked Witch of the East, that’s not good-natured fun. That’s a wholesale sexist attack, right up there with Dick Armey who, while debating tax policy with Salon’s Joan Walsh, couldn’t come up with a substantive response to her point, so blithely proclaimed, “Give it a rest,” and “I’m so damn glad you can never be my wife, so I wouldn’t have to listen to that prattle from you!”

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to suggest that if an equally qualified, yet elderly, male reporter, had asked the same question Thomas did that there would have been nothing but respect for a person who was still working in their chosen field when they could be taking it easy on a beach sipping pina coladas or in their recliner with the TV remote.

O’Reilly and his goon squad (sorry, Sarah) know the difference between legitimate cirticism and sexist rants, they’re just hoping we can’t tell that they’re blurring the line. O’Reilly now claims his comments about Helen were just all in good fun and that he even sent her flowers as a peace offering, all the while maintaining that his comments were fair game.

Sounds like the not-so-powerful Oz wants us to pay no attention to that man behind the curtains.

I’m appalled at one more thing in this latest sexist attack. O’Reilly has a nine-year-old daughter, as do I. Does he let his daughter watch him trash women this way, especially a woman who is a trailblazer and an icon with professional accomplishments that O’Reilly can only hope for? When she’s an adult, would O’Reilly be OK with someone else dishing out the same sexist treatment to her?

If you’re sufficiently riled up over this latest O’Reilly travesty, go over to the Women’s Media Center site and sign the petition calling for him to truly apologize to Helen Thomas. I guess no one told him we girls like sincere apologies with our flowers.

I’m also hanging out today over at Gina Chen’s blog, Family Life. I really love her blog, but this is the closest I’m getting the Syracuse weather in February! ;)

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13 Responses to “If Helen Thomas is a Witch, What Does That Make Bill O’Reilly?”

  1. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah Says:

    I realize that this will never happen but O’Reilly should feel ashamed. Hopefully his daughter will take her queue from smart women like yourself and realize that her father is full of shit.

    I’m thinking of Patti Davis here.

    And listen here Bill – Helen Thomas is more of a journalist and important historical figure than you could ever hope to be.

    (and apology accepted)

  2. Sensory Mom Says:

    Very nice page… came over from Gina’s… good for you for telling it like it is… Don’t let O’Reilly “rile” ya up. He is just playing a character, and one he gets paid well for. I am sure he hates looking at himself in a mirror daily…. nobody could be that evil or that stupid… or could they??? Hmmmmm.

  3. Linda Lowen Says:

    Whether or not O’Reilly is playing a character (as Sensory Mom suggests), what bothers me most is that his ‘followers’ believe him unquestioningly, pick up on his verbiage, and repeat it all over the internet.

    I noticed that in my own blog, after O’Reilly’s show aired, his exact ‘points’ were made again and again by people who have nothing better to do than troll the internet posting comments and looking for a fight.

    The Sarah Palin thing is a red herring. Plenty of us didn’t like her politics, but defended her on our blogs because no woman deserves to be treated like a piece of USDA-inspected meat.

    O’Reilly knows he did wrong with regard to Helen Thomas. That’s why he keeps repeating that he only made fun of her voice – he didn’t make fun of HER. He says she sounded like a witch – he didn’t call her one. Whatever, Bill.

    The reality is that he’s backpedaling. If you’re going to verbally abuse women, then stand up there ‘like a man’ and take ownership of your remarks.

  4. anniegirl1138 Says:

    Men just don’t get it and I am constantly amazed at just how much they don’t get it.

  5. lisa winter Says:

    thanks for this post about helen thomas. personally, she’s one of my heroes. A stand out in a male dominated field, that isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. She is older and doesn’t back down. i’m afraid those like o’reilly are going to constantly try to cut down strong women like her. i wish i could see them duke it out (verbally that is) i bet you can guess who my money would be on.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Role model for all girls? Are you kidding? This woman is nothing but vitriol and partisanship. She is a partisan with bitterness beyond her years. Thomas should have retired two decades ago.

    In her eyes, Democrats, and I do mean all Dems, can do absolutely no evil, and are allowed the freest reign, while even the most positive thing of a Repub is cast in the most evil specter ever. I think everyone here here who blasts O’Reilly ought to stop re-positioning everything he says in an evil way and take it at a literal sense. I’ll bounce between O’Reilly and Olbermann, and I must say, Olbermann has the most obnoxious and condescending tone of either of them. O’Reilly tends to be polite where Olby assumes he’s superior and just lowbrows insults.

    Of course, I doubt this will ever get posted because this page isn’t about honesty, but about fawning servitude to the left.

  7. Becky Says:

    Did anyone ask Helen Thomas if she wants an apology? Isn’t it a tad bit patronizing to assume she needs people to demand an apology on her behalf?

    Just sayin’.

  8. Holly Says:


    I sat here in front of my computer and just repeated those three words over and over.

    unfunny? Is being funny what is important?



  9. Holly Says:

    spitballs to battleships?



    head shaking.

    a serving of arrogance anyone?

  10. judy in ky Says:

    Who knows what Bill O’Reilly really thinks… his smile is fake and his “politeness” is a sham. I think he is just a “brand”. The scary thing is, that he has followers. What are they thinking? I’m afraid to know.

    At least Keith Olbermann expresses honest, righteous anger. I don’t think he’s putting on an act.

  11. Shawn S. Says:

    Ok ladies, I can see a few of you watched O’Reilly and clearly some of you didn’t. His bigger point (beyond that she SOUNDED like the wicked witch of the east) was that her questions were trite and absurd. She asked Obama if he thought the “so-called” terrorists were hiding in Pakistan and how he planned to handle it. The “SO-CALLED” Terriorists????? Does this offend any of you. We KNOW that Terriorists are hiding out in Pakistan and I don’t know what you think that they should be called, so called, “Friends”, “Allies” or “Dirtbags”, what? They are TERRORISTS. I don’t think that O’Reilly should be making fun of anyone, however, the real critique was pointed toward her question, not her. Go back and watch if you have any questions.

  12. PunditMom Says:

    Hm. Interesting discussion on this. Too bad Anonymous didn't leave a name — if you feel that way about Helen Thomas and this blog, de-lurk.

    It is trues that O'Reilly plays a character, but so many people believe every piece of vileness that comes out of his mouth, I worry about people losing the ability to think for themselves.

    And if people didn't like Helen's questions, then I want to know why no one, including O'Reilly, is mocking the male reporter who asked Obama about A-Rod & steroids … at a White House news conference?

    Now, THAT'S worthy of asking, what the heck was he thinking.

  13. Jen Says:

    That Dick Armey thing was disgusting, I actually saw that when it happened and my husband had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

    Keith Olbermann would tell you to take it or leave if you watch his show. I mean, he does best and worst people segments… of course that’s entertainment.

    It astonishes me what people will do while their children are watching and then turn around and shame people for doing those things for the sake of their children.

    Take, good ole Sarah Palin for example. Was that a good example she set for her kids (who were right there watching) .. her trying to get any thing to stick whether it’s true or not? Stretching the truth in ridiculous ways (ie Bill Ayers). What kind of freakin’ role model is that?

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