Bill O'Reilly thinks the Eric Fuller story is a Big Fracking Deal, revealign the depths of depravity of the "far left" and their use of violence -- so much so that he devoted his opening "Talking Points Memo" segment to this thesis. A little later in the show, he brought on Alan Colmes and Monica Crowley to talk it over.
Crowley, predictably, complained that the "story was buried" by the rest of the media. That's because, in fact, it was rather more similar to the right-wing O'Reilly fan's arrest last week for threatening Rep. Jim McDermott -- which is to say, the story dealt with a threat and not actual violence. Did anyone happen to notice Fox News covering that story? I sure didn't.
But then Colmes started in with some serious points:
COLMES: Look, I object to something you said in the opening talking points. You said that the logical argument could be made that the far left encouraged an unbalanced guy. There's no more evidence of that than that the far right encouraged this guy Loughner to do what he did.
O'REILLY: Wait. There is evidence in the specificity of what the man said. The names that he used in the context of the threat.
Hmmmmm. Well, using that same criteria, we can definitively connect the man who threatened Jim McDermott to Bill O'Reilly now. Because not only did he call and threaten McDermott on the very same day that O'Reilly's column attacking him was published, but the caller specifically threatened McDermott over the very same issue for which O'Reilly attacked him.
But then it got really serious:
O'REILLY: Loughner had no -- and testimony now has revealed -- that he didn't watch cable TV. He didn't listen to talk radio.
COLMES: There is no evidence -- look, you could make the case that Byron Williams went to attack the Tides Foundation and shot up the California Highway Patrol because of stuff that Glenn Beck said about the Tides Foundation.
O'REILLY: You can't make that case.
COLMES: Sure you can. That's just as much equivalency there as what you're talking about!
O'REILLY: No, there isn't, because the overwhelming debate last week was about this story. It wasn't one guy. It was everywhere.
COLMES: But when a guy goes and wants to go attack the Tides Foundation and shoots up the California Highway Patrol because Beck is vilifying them and the ACLU -- there's equivalence!
O'REILLY: All I'll give you is it's circumstantial. But the evidence is far more compelling --
COLMES: You are doing, Bill, the same thing you are accusing the left of doing, by accusing the left of violent rhetoric.
O'REILLY: No I'm not. No I'm not. I'm only dealing in the facts. And the facts as we know it were presented.
O'Reilly is just flat-out lying. Because it was three months ago that a devastating story from Media Matters provided all the evidence you need to make that connection -- since Byron Williams himself went on the record and explained quite ineluctably that he was directly inspired by Glenn Beck.
Here are some of the things Williams said:
"I'm not gonna say anyone is worthwhile," he replies. "I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind. I said, well, nobody does this."
... Byron says he thinks Beck has improved in recent months. "I don't think he's a natural newscaster, you know what I mean?" he says. "I look at it more like a schoolteacher on TV, you know? He's got that big chalkboard and those little stickers, the decals. I like the way he does it."
... "You know, I'll tell you," he says, "Beck is gonna deny everything about violent approach and deny everything about conspiracies, but he'll give you every reason to believe it. He's protecting himself, and you can't blame him for that. So, I understand what he's doing."
... "And I'd say, well, you know, that's the thing. It's that anything you do is going to be considered promoting terror attacks or promoting violence. So now they've got Beck labeled as this guy that is trying to incite violence. And what I say is that if the truth incites violence, it means that we've been living too long in the lies."
I don't believe O'Reilly is actually ignorant of these facts -- in fact, they read Media Matters almost obsessively over at Fox. O'Reilly is simply lying baldfacedly and pretending not to know these facts exist.
And Monica? Perhaps when your channel actually reports anything on the Byron Williams matter or Charles Habermann's threats, or for that matter any of the litany of threats and violence against liberals and the "government" perpetrated by right-wing extremists over the past two and a half years -- threats Fox either ignores completely or dismisses as "isolated incidents" -- then we may begin to take your complaint that no one reported much on the Fuller case seriously.
[Note: Edited the headline to clarify reference to Fuller incident.]