Washington Post’s Dana Milbank takes O’Reilly’s beheading threat seriously

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly have been waging an apocalyptic war of words these past two weeks that could very well mean the massacre of polite political discourse, the execution of elocution and the secession of the American vernacular from the English language.

That was a joke.

If it was a bad one, perhaps it needs a set up.

On his Nov. 4 show, O’Reilly called for the sharia-certified beheading of Milbank, after which he emphatically reminded viewers, sidekick Megyn Kelly, “you Media Matters people,” and himself, that he was joking. Then he continued berating Milbank until the next commercial break.

His ire derived from a column Milbank had written the day before critiquing Fox’s “fair and balanced” coverage of Election Night. For the most part, the ever-cool Kelly stayed out of the fray but cheekily encouraged O’Reilly, saying, “I think you and I should go and beat him up.”

Six days later, the usually jovial Milbank responded at length in a very serious column titled “Bill O’Reilly’s Threats.”

In his column, Milbank said O’Reilly was serious about the decapitation threat and that there was nothing funny about the joke. While later in the article he wrote, “I don’t believe O’Reilly really wants to sever my head,” Milbank cautioned against further “thuggish tactics.”

”O’Reilly has every right to quarrel with my opinion or question my accuracy,” wrote Milbank. “But why resort to intimidation and violent imagery? “

Milbank wrote that “if only one of [O’Reilly’s] millions of viewers interprets his message otherwise, that’s still a problem for me.”

So is Milbank afraid for his physical safety?

“I have no way to know whether O’Reilly’s comments put me and my family in danger,” said Milbank to The Daily Caller on Wednesday afternoon. “I certainly hope not.”

Milbank told TheDC that, yes, O’Reilly “literally” wanted to behead him. And despite whatever linguistic terminology one wishes to employ regarding hyperbole, jokes, satire, etc., he said, “I just wish he’d drop the violent imagery.”

In his piece on Wednesday, Milbank surmised that the invective leveled against him by O’Reilly — whom Milbank compliments as a “responsible alternative” to Fox News commentator Glenn Beck — arose from a series of columns Milbank penned attacking Beck. Those columns (and a book now available in hardback!) take Beck to task for exciting violent individuals with unceasing tirades about Hitler and Socialism.

In the Beck series, Milbank made direct correlations between the radio jockey’s rants and crimes perpetrated by several high-profile nutcases.

For his part, Milbank told TheDC he just wants “them to turn it down a notch” because O’Reilly’s trash talk — like Beck’s — could lead some people to violence, although he said it wasn’t a particularly partisan problem.

“I have no reason to think Fox viewers are any crazier than the population,” said Milbank.” But as I wrote in the column, it only takes one nutcase to take violent talk as something other than a joke. That’s why I urge people to be responsible and to ease up on the violent imagery…”

  • johnnyu

    Where was the big outcry when George Bush was burned in effigy? Or called for his death? This little punk Dana whoever ought to start standing up to pee.

  • h8mongr

    I was watching when Bill O. said this. The name Dana Milbank went in one ear and out the other, never heard of him. Or if I have while listening to some story, I did not recall the name.

    My user name on here, h8mongr, is a tribute to Nancy P.
    She likes to call names, and even calls patriotic grannies names. Oh yeah, she says I’m unAmerican too.
    And she’s afraid…”Oh Noooo I saw this violence before in San Fran…..”.
    Weird how after she said all this, the violence that actually broke out was against a man selling “Don’t Tread On Me” flags at a rally. The violent ones who beat him were SEIU members. They were asking him how he could be a “sell-out” to his race. Sounds violent AND racial to me.

    Dana, no one wants to cut your head off, Beck and Bill talk has not whipped anyone into a crazed frenzy…except you.

  • ChuckNorton1

    Dana, Bill O is playing you like a fiddle. He knows how to push your buttons and make you over reach and strain your own credibility. Of course if you had maintained a level head and stuck to true journalistic integrity about your mistakes you would not be facing this problem.

  • sunnyr

    Dana Milbank is a moron. He has lost any credibility he ever had. Pfft.

  • aaarrrggg

    What a big baby.
    At least now Milbank gets 15 minutes of fame.
    Get over it already

  • beebop

    Milbank is just scared to death that Kaplan University will be closed down ( effectively shuttering WaPoop) and he’ll have to start collecting his 99 weeks of unemployment …. no one seriously reads his drivel except to laugh!

  • JoeJ

    Bill O’Reilly is 100% total horse doodle.

  • Caper29

    Just like that right wing nut case that shot JFK…Oh wait.

    Just like that right wing nut case that shot RFK…Oh wait.

    Just like that right wing nut case that shot McKinley…Oh wait.

  • me———————————-

    Um, Dana Who?

    Don’t you think it’s unlikely that anyone will try to kill you if they 1) never heard of you, 2) don’t care who you are 3) find you irrelevant?

    Just saying.

  • Anonymous1010

    Well the only real good thing about all this is Milbank admitted O’Rielly has more viewers than he does.

    “if only one of [O’Reilly’s] millions of viewers interprets his message otherwise, that’s still a problem for me.”

    At least he got that right.

    What he got wrong is none of O’Reilly’s viewers aren’t idiots like his viewers, we know jokes when we hear them.

    Milbank go cry on your pillow tonight shaking like a leaf and hold your gun close to you, oh yea you left wingers don’t believe in guns.

    Milbank your a joke that keeps people laughing.