The Culture Warrior ™, the No-Spinner ™, the guy who's looking out for you ™, the one who tells you that he's a journalist who only deals with the facts, Bill O'Reilly he is, decided this week that he would take it upon himself to attack the most vulnerable of victims. A child who had been terrorized and quite possibly emotionally and sexually abused by an adult kidnaper for four years.
Bill chose to use his bully pulpit against fifteen-year-old Shawn Hornbeck who was kidnaped in 2002 at the age of 11. Bill will claim that he didn't attack Shawn, but "just asked questions." He said that despite a tape of his Thursday show offering evidence to the contrary. Bill always seems to forget about the 21st Century mechanical recording devices that can literally replay his actual words, no matter how often he attempts to contradict them.
What Bill said and was reported at mediamatters.org in Bill's own voice was that, "I think when it all comes down, what's going to happen is, there was an element here that this kid liked about the circumstances," adding: "The situation here for this kid looks to me to be a lot more fun than what he had under his old parents."
Some more cynical might say that Bill was lying. I choose to say that you don't need to be cynical to know that he's lying.
But even more that his lying, it's Bill's disgusting choice to use his show to re-abuse the boy. To choose to go with the "I'd rather be sexually abused by this stranger because it's way more fun than being home with my parents" scenario is so much more than repugnant, that you wouldn't be surprised if ABC and CNN fire Glen Beck and entice Bill to spread his kind of Culture Warness over there.
Bill will claim, as he always does, that it is only the left-wing loons that are out to get him. That he is the victim. This time the tape offers the truth and just what a slime Bill O'Reilly truly is.
Shawn Hornbeck had spent the last four years enduring who knows what torturous hell and what did the guy who's looking out for you and your kids and castigates judges who don't give child abusers stiff enough sentences? He exploited Shawn again.
Bill O'Reilly is worse than scum. He is a child abuser.
Steve Young is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" and http://www2.dailynews.com/steveyoung">his column appears in the LA Daily News Sunday Opinion page...to the left of O'Reilly's...really.