A reader writes:
As insufferable as O'Reilly usually is, I don't think he was beyond the pale to say "death-mill." (And I'm pro-choice.) The disturbing description that young woman gave - patients lying in a row awaiting full dilation, squeezing the fetus into a toilet-like device - does convey a kind of assembly line where dead fetuses are the end result. Just as you always say how torture should be called "torture," the description of abortion procedures should not be sanitized.
Now, if O'Reilly had directed inflammatory rhetoric at the doctor himself, by saying something like "Tiller should not get away with this" or "Somebody needs to stop that monster," then I think your post would have merit. Absent of that, I think you're being just as inflammatory as O'Reilly - if not more so.
I think it was wrong that Tiller was killed. I knew someone who flew out to Kansas for a late term abortion - month 7. The viability threshold had been crossed and there was no real health risk to the mother. Much as I don't like O'Reilly, his use of the phrase "baby killer" was factually accurate.
The blame for Tiller's murder rests solely on the depraved individual who pulled the trigger, not O'Reilly or any other pro-life boogeyman that you feel like beating over the head with this tragedy. O'Reilly does come off as a despicable alarmist in those clips, but that is no reason to inject his name into your headline and insinuate that he is responsible for Tiller's murder.
Also, how can you chalk this up to Christianist terrorism when the killer has yet to be caught? The Christian organizations who were Tiller's biggest enemies have already put out statements denouncing the act as evil cowardice.
Your blame-shifting and overgeneralization do a huge disservice to Obama's call for "open hearts, open minds, and fair-minded words" on the abortion issue. I hope that you will address this knee-jerk, sensationalist post when the shock of the news has worn off.
I do not and did not blame O'Reilly for the murder. I think his rhetoric and demonization of an individual subject to violence and threats are excessive and dangerous. He has every First Amendment right to speak the words he has spoken and I am sure he never wanted this to happen. But you can debate these matters with a little less personal demonization and get your point across.