After the September 11 attacks, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly (9/17/01; FAIR Action Alert, 9/21/01) had a whole list of predominantly Muslim countries that he proposed to attack if they did not submit to the U.S.--starting with Afghanistan:
The U.S. should bomb the Afghan infrastructure to rubble--the airport, the power plants, their water facilities and the roads.... This is a very primitive country. And taking out their ability to exist day to day will not be hard.... If they don’t rise up against this criminal government, they starve, period.
Also on his list were Iraq (“Their infrastructure must be destroyed and the population made to endure yet another round of intense pain”) and Libya (“Nothing goes in, nothing goes out.... Let them eat sand”).
This enthusiasm he has expressed for attacking countries with Muslim populations is an O’Reilly trademark (e.g., Radio Factor, 6/18/04, 3/8/06, 7/26/06). In fairness, he’s also expressed similar interest in decimating non-Muslim countries. (See Extra!, 7-8/99.) But his disregard for Muslim civilians is matched by the anti-Muslim sentiments he frequently expresses on both his nationally
syndicated radio show, the Radio Factor, which has a reach of 3.5 million listeners (Talkers Magazine, Spring/08) and cable TV show.
O’Reilly has bemoaned (O’Reilly Factor, 7/8/05) the fact that areas of London are “just packed with just dense Muslim neighborhoods, which breed this kind of contempt for Western society. Why do they let them in?” He defended airport security profiling of Muslims (O’Reilly Factor, 8/16/06), saying: “We’re not at war with Granny Frickin. We’re at war with Muslim fanatics. So all young Muslims should be subjected to more scrutiny than Granny”--a move that he said would not be “racial profiling” but rather “criminal profiling.”
O’Reilly compared a University of South Carolina assignment asking incoming freshmen to read a book called Approaching the Quran: The Early Revelations to teaching Hitler’s Mein Kampf in 1941 (O’Reilly Factor, 7/10/02). O’Reilly also told Stuff magazine (11/02; Extra! Update, 6/03) that “the most unattractive women in the world are probably in the Muslim countries.” On his syndicated radio program (Radio Factor, 11/29/06), O’Reilly blamed killings in Iraq on the religion of its people: “They’re all Muslims, and they’re doing what they do. They’re killing each other. And they’re killing Americans.”
Like fellow cable hosts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, O’Reilly offers a national platform to some of the most egregious Islamophobes. His O’Reilly Factor, which consistently leads ratings in the world of cable news with an audience of over 2 million prime time viewers (New York Times, 8/22/08) has hosted such noted Dirty Dozen members as Robert Spencer (11/20/06) and Pat Robertson, who declared on the O’Reilly Factor (2/27/02) that “out of a billion-plus people there are probably 150 million really fire-breathing Muslims.”
The Dirty Dozen: Who's who among America's leading Islamophobes
Glenn Beck | Steve Emerson | Sean Hannity | David Horowitz | Michelle Malkin | Bill O’Reilly
Daniel Pipes | Pat Robertson | Michael Savage | Debbie Schlussel | Robert Spencer | Mark Steyn