On Friday, Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity Bill O’Reilly returned to Boston University for Alumni Weekend and regaled a largely admiring audience with a variety of Fact(ors) from the O’Reilly Files.
The event was previewed by veteran Boston journalist Daniel Gewertz earlier this week:
The BU college hosting the event? The College of Communication (COM), home to the university’s Department of Journalism. In addition to a “conversation” between the face of FOX’s “The O’Reilly Factor” and another BU alum, Bill Wheatley (retired executive vice-president of NBC News), the evening will include a presentation of six “Distinguished Alumni Awards,” an honor already bestowed upon Mr. O’Reilly.
At that point, Gewertz got Geworked up:
See anything wrong with this picture? Not COM Dean Tom Fiedler, the man responsible for choosing O’Reilly as the night’s star attraction.
“I would argue that Bill O’Reilly is a role model for our students,” Fiedler told me recently. “I grant that his is a controversial path, and it may not be the path that all would choose.”
A role model?
“We are honoring Bill O’Reilly for living an honorable life,” Fiedler explained. “He has generously supported Boston University.”
“An honorable life.” It would take an article far longer than this one to catalog the deceptions, evasions and bullying tactics of O’Reilly.
Let me mention, but not stress, the millions of dollars that, according to theWashington Post, O’Reilly paid to his former producer, Andrea Mackris, to settle her sexual harassment case in 2004.
Another, more recent case:
On May 31, 2009, Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas abortion provider, was murdered at his local church. During the months leading up to this crime, O’Reilly often referred to the doctor as “Tiller the baby killer.” When criticized for his frequent use of the phrase, O’Reilly claimed he was directly quoting others. This was quickly disproved with voluminous videotape evidence.
None of that, of course, came up at Friday night’s O’Reilly love-in. Instead, here’s what we learned:
* O’Reilly has spent his career facing machine guns and Barney Frank with equal fearlessness
* As a result, he now needs bodyguards for his family and himself
* He couldn’t allow his Potemkin interview to be taped because there might be an untoward “incident” that could wind up on YouTube. (Not to get technical about it, but isn’t that what his “bodyguards” are supposed to prevent?)
* If afforded the chance, he wouldn’t recommend or even take again the career path he did because it was “too hard”
One thing Bill O’Reilly will never be called?
A Bold Fresh Piece of Humility.