A Top surgeon and head of a Woman’s Health Clinic was murdered – coincidently – after a 28-episode smear campaign spread over 3 years by the FNC television show (The O’Reilly Factor) in which he was repeatedly and relentlessly referred to by Bill O’Reilly as “Tiller the baby killer”.
Mr. O’Reilly did not coin the name, that was done by a right-wing senator, but he was responsible for putting it in the ear of millions of pro-life Fox viewers, many of whom violently opposed the concept of abortion on any level.
At some point – a man with an audience needs to be a responsible speaker. We may indeed enjoy free speech under the first amendment, but hate speech is still hate speech and repeatedly, publicly labeling a licensed doctor a baby killer is not speech we shjould ever sanction under our constitution.
Tiller was discussed in 28 episodes of the Fox News talk show The O’Reilly Factor before his death in May 2009, focusing national attention on his practice. Although he later denied it, show host Bill O’Reilly sometimes described him as “Tiller the Baby Killer,” a nickname that Congressman Robert K. Dornan had used on the floor of the US House of Representatives. O’Reilly said he would not want to be Tiller, Kathleen Sebelius, and other pro-choice Kansas politicians “if there is a judgment day.” On November 3, 2006, O’Reilly featured an exclusive segment on The O’Reilly Factor, saying that he had an “inside source” with official clinic documentation indicating that Tiller performed late-term abortions to alleviate “temporary depression” in pregnant woman. He characterized the doctor as “a savage on the loose, killing babies willy-nilly,” and accused him of “operating a death mill,” and of protecting the rapists of children. He suggested that Tiller performed abortions for women who had “a bit of a headache or anxiety” or who felt “a bit blue.”
After Dr. Tiller was murdered, O’Reilly denied responsibility and defended his campaign against Dr. Tiller, saying: “When I heard about Tiller’s murder, I knew pro-abortion zealots and Fox News haters would attempt to blame us for the crime, and that’s exactly what has happened. […] Every single thing we said about Tiller was true, and my analysis was based on those facts. […] Now, it’s clear that the far left is exploiting — exploiting — the death of the doctor. Those vicious individuals want to stifle any criticism of people like Tiller. That — and hating Fox News — is the real agenda here.”