Riveted On Rosie
O'Donnell returns to 'View' amid a firestorm of criticism from O'Reilly and other conservatives
April 10, 2007
BY DOUG ELFMAN Television Critic
Let's tally the slurs Bill O'Reilly has hurled at Rosie O'Donnell: She's "Tokyo Rosie," "siding with Iran," "rooting for Iran" and "helping the enemy" while "actively supporting Iran against her own country and Britain."
Wow. What has O'Donnell done? Did she supply rocket launchers to terrorists? Not quite.
"Rosie O'Donnell is saying that our country, America, all right, attacked itself to launch the war on terror," O'Reilly has said, among other things.
Wrong. O'Donnell very clearly said she doesn't believe the U.S. government had anything to do with 9/11.
Today, O'Donnell returns from vacation to "The View," and she might respond to Fox News' relentless War on Rosie, which also spread briefly to MSNBC.
O'Donnell did unleash a few controversial statements. But O'Reilly and the rest are taking liberties with most of her comments. Here's what really went down in a seven-minute conversation on "The View" one day last month.
O'Donnell repeated her belief that World Trade Center Tower 7 -- a building not hit by planes -- was felled by explosives. This is also the claim of some conspiracy theorists around the country.
Conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked liberal O'Donnell if she thought the U.S. government had anything to do with the attack of 9/11.
"No, I have no idea" who blew up Tower 7, O'Donnell said, and later added earnestly, "We're gonna take a break. We'll be right back in America, land of the free, home of the brave."
Regarding Iran, "View" guest Marcia Gay Harden said the United States should try to strike peace with Iran diplomatically.
O'Donnell agreed and suggested the American media has demonized and dehumanized everyone in the Mideast to the point that none of the people of the region are regarded as humans. They're seen as "just the enemy. They're terrorists."
And she posed the theory that the British government put sailors in harm's way to taunt Iran into action, as a scheme to raise popular support for war against Iran.
She has also said terrorists shouldn't be feared.
Following Fox News' lead, MSNBC's conservative Joe Scarborough showed select snippets of O'Donnell comments and called for her to be fired. To support his case, Scarborough quoted a column in the L.A. Times to suggest the paper was calling her crazy.
That column was written by Jonah Goldberg, a sometimes Fox News guest who once wrote in the conservative National Review about how his mother was the person who persuaded Linda Tripp to record her chats with Monica Lewinsky.
At Fox, talk host Greta Van Susteren interviewed O'Reilly (with no response from O'Donnell) to ludicrously suggest O'Donnell's motive was to specifically incite O'Reilly.
"If you have this verbal battle with Rosie -- sort of like with [MSNBC's] Keith Olbermann -- they love to bait you, Bill, because when they bait you that increases their ratings," van Sustren said, neglecting the fact that O'Reilly started this feud, not O'Donnell.
And, as if he were quoting one of his own critics, O'Reilly said of O'Donnell: "Surely you cannot allow someone to come on the air every day and vent hateful, dishonest propaganda."
O'Reilly interviewed Fox News' Dennis Miller, and they whined it's not fair that Hasselbeck isn't a strong enough conservative to counter O'Donnell. (O'Reilly and Miller had on zero liberals to counter themselves.)
"Elizabeth is a sweet girl, but she has trouble holding her own with those people," Miller said.
This whole routine revolves around an issue O'Reilly doesn't even regard as big news. He was interviewing Dave Zeeck, editor of the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune, about the subject when Zeeck proclaimed recent comments by O'Donnell and Ann Coulter were no big deal. O'Reilly agreed.
"You may not think they're important stories. And in the long run, they aren't," O'Reilly said.
If not, then why have O'Reilly and others at Fox News people spend so much time interviewing each other about O'Donnell?