For reporting that is an embarrassment to the profession of journalism, and for being beholden to corporate paymasters rather than the citizens of America.

Privacy is cherished, even if we can't always agree on where the line should be drawn. We also generally agree that those in the position of power might have less privacy than regular folks.

Then there is the Bill O'Reilly standard for privacy. For Bill O, privacy is valuable unless you disagree with him: then privacy gets thrown out the window.

O'Reilly says:
O'REILLY: The right to privacy is a basic Constitutional tenet, and that is not ridiculous at all.
Apparently this only applies to celebrities, not people O'Reilly doesn't like.

Jon Stewart's take this week on "The Daily Show" was a culmination of a long-standing quest on O'Reilly's part to invade the privacy of people with whom he disagrees. In typical O'Reilly cowardice, he does not do this work himself, but leaves the tacky, invasive behavior to lesser-paid producers.

O'Reilly sent his producer to chase down and invade the privacy of Columbia Journalism Review Editor Michael Hoyt. Why? Because Hoyt wouldn't appear on O'Reilly's show.

O'Reilly is clearly in favor (sometimes) of a Constitutional right to privacy, but may now know of the freedom of association: the individual right to meet with other individuals. By correlation, there is a freedom not to associate with people as well, as in Hoyt does not want to associate himself with Bill O'Reilly.

This is not an isolated incident: O'Reilly and his minions have done this numerous times over the years.

The bizarre nature of O'Reilly refusing to acknowledge the privacy of Americans with whom he disagrees is one thing, but his fascination with protecting celebrities from paparazzi -- in direct hypocrisy to his otherwise opinion on the subject -- is mind-boggling.

Stewart ends the segment by noting that O'Reilly thinks Angelina Jolie has a right to privacy, except when there was speculation that Jolie had banned FOX News from a movie premiere. Then O'Reilly sends a producer to go after Jolie.

Or as Jon Stewart put it, "For those of you at home who are studying law, America's right to privacy is less than O'Reilly's need to know."

There are ways to find out information from people, even if they disagree with you. Respectable ways, decent ways. But O'Reilly has a different method: intimidation and invasion of privacy. And a lack of respect for constructive dialogue. For his continuing antics to degrade those with whom he disagrees and for the hypocrisy behind it all, Bill O'Reilly wins the Media PUTZ of the Week award.

Buzzflash Media Putz of The Week





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