Bill O’Reilly, host of “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News Channel, took issue Thursday with the tactics of the conservative Media Research Center’s call for the firing of Ed Schultz, host of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show”.
MRC president Brent Bozell had spelled that call out in a letter to MSNBC president Phil Griffin earlier this week and had threatened to take his “message directly to the shareholders of Comcast.” O’Reilly noted this and was sympathetic to the MRC’s cause.
“Now some Americans are calling for firings, boycotts and in one absurd case, criminal prosecution, for speech that they don’t like,” O’Reilly said. “The latest is the conservative Media Research Center calling for the Comcast Corporation to fire some people at MSNBC. Now, we sympathize. For years gutter snipes on that network have been abusing freedom of speech, intentionally trying to harm folks with whom they disagree.”
O’Reilly explained his past position on boycotts, highlighting his Ludacris-Pepsi dispute, which he contended wasn’t a boycott but just criticism of Pepsi. His said his only actual boycott threat involved France, for allegations of its business relationships with Iraq under Saddam Hussein. However, when it comes to the programming of both the left and the right, he said boycotts are “garbage.”
“The entire boycott movement is garbage,” he said. “The far-left threatening sponsors who advertise on programs they don’t like is flat out un-American. So I believe that the Media Research Center is making a mistake sinking to that level. We sometimes use some of MRC’s facts and they’ve always been reliable. MRC is a good source of information. It should stay that way and stay out of the boycott business. I have no beef with anyone who is angry about the Limbaugh situation on either side. You are smart enough to form your own opinion. And I believe in the free marketplace.”
Later on the Fox News Channel, Bozell told “Hannity” host Sean Hannity that he didn’t want to employ these tactics, but that the way the left had handled the Rush Limbaugh controversy had made it necessary to highlight the double standard.
“You know, I didn’t want to either,” Bozell said. “But there comes a point where enough is enough. There comes a point where you get just plain sick and tired of the hypocrisy, of the raging hypocrisy of this network, where you have one host after another who on the record has made statements that are hundred times more offensive than what Rush Limbaugh has said and no one’s been called into account for it. It’s time conservatives start calling them into account for what they’re doing.”
A representative speaking on behalf of the MRC told The Daily Caller that the call was for Schultz to be fired, not for the network to be boycotted.