If you can't get enough of Bill O'Reilly's heated arguments, or if you just want to know if he said what you thought you heard on his show The O'Reilly Factor, you'll get what you bargained for in his latest book, No Spin Zone.
In the No-Spin Zone, "lies are rejected and equivocations are mocked," according to O'Reilly.
O'Reilly, a two-time Emmy winner with 25 years of TV experience, excerpts some of his most controversial O'Reilly Factor interviews with a number of different opponents in his new book. It's a diverse group including James Carville, P-Diddy (aka Sean Combs), Floyd Abrams, Susan Sarandon, Al Sharpton, Dr. Joycelyn Elders and many more. Read chapter one and two from No-Spin Zone:
"You Kidding Me?"
Issue 1: Sexual deviants who prey on children
The Opponent: Floyd Abrams, First Amendment attorney
O'Reilly: This doesn't have anything to do with free speech.
Abrams: But of course it does.
O'Reilly: No, this has to do with aiding and abetting, promoting a crime on a Web site.
If you are thirty-five or older, chances are good that your childhood in America was pretty much like mine, no matter where you grew up. By age six I was out of the house most of the time after school and all during the summer, playing with my tight group of friends. There were limits. For example, if I was late for dinner at six o'clock, there was hell to pay.
Otherwise I was on my own in the great outdoors. My parents seemingly had no fear that I would be harmed by sinister outside forces marauding around my Long Island neighborhood. Sure, I might hurt myself roughhousing, but hey, those were the breaks. My father didn't sound like football announcer John Madden, but he had Madden's mind-set: "Play rough--take your chances."
With my dopey friends, whom you might have met in my last book, The O'Reilly Factor, I made the most of the deep woods three blocks from my house. We climbed thirty feet up into the thick leafy branches to build rickety tree houses. We tunneled underground like moles. We threw rocks at each other. We rolled around in the dirt completely unsupervised by annoying adults.
It never occurred to us that some older guy in an overcoat might drive up and try to hurt us. Yes, my father once said something about never taking a ride with a stranger. But he didn't say why, didn't make an issue out of it, and didn't seem concerned that his eldest son might be taken hostage at some point.
How times have changed. And that's the terrifying subject of this chapter's debate with a distinguished First Amendment lawyer and public figure, who I believe is absolutely wrong in putting the rights of special (read perverted) interests ahead of the safety of American children.
Parents today are rightfully worried about their children being abducted or abused, even in their own neighborhoods. But why is that? Are there more child molesters in the United States now than in my childhood years in the fifties and sixties? Are they bolder for some reason? Is it possible they are being encouraged?
Statistically, it is impossible to know. Officials at the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services say they do not have accurate statistics for child abuse and abduction before 1990. According to the federal government, more than 100,000 American kids were sexually molested in 1998, or one and a half children per one thousand. In 1999 nearly 32,000 kids were kidnapped--most by relatives. England does a better job of tracking the danger-to-kids trend. Scotland Yard says the number of convictions for gross indecency with a child doubled between 1985 and 1995. So the data suggest that society has become more menacing to children and that more adults are willing to risk imprisonment and social destruction to molest kids. The question is why?
Some believe that widespread, often-hysterical TV coverage has possibly encouraged deviant behavior toward children. Because of television news, crimes against children have been magnified greatly. The heartbreak of any child damaged by an adult is spread from coast to coast immediately and the experts start prattling, some of them sympathetic to the "disease" or "condition" of the victimizer. No one can say for sure, but the notoriety of the crimes may attract pedophiles who are risk takers. We are obviously not talking about rational people here.
But there is also something else in play in this country that is much subtler: the gradual contagion of nonjudgmental acceptance. The result of this contagion is that behavior that would have been roundly condemned forty years ago is now "understood" or in some cases even accepted.
Two college-student parents killed their newborn baby and left his body in a trash can outside a cheap motel. The pair received hundreds of calls of sympathy and support. After all, it was "understandable" that they panicked. In the end, a judge sentenced them to less than three years in prison.
In Wisconsin an expectant mother tried to poison her fetus with alcohol one day before the due date. She received no jail time, as supporters petitioned the press and the court with tales about her life of woe.
Throughout the country drug-addicted babies are routinely returned to the mothers who have already damaged them physically and perhaps limited their learning potential for life. But remember: The mother has a disease. Can society deprive the mother of raising her own children? Well, I damn well would. But I seem to be in the minority these days, as my "understanding" threshold does not reflect the society in which we live. In all the examples I've cited, the child's life is devalued in favor of the adult's "situation." How did this happen in America?
Here's my answer, which is the lead-in to our first encounter in the No Spin Zone: The welfare of a child means less today because of the promotion and acceptance of certain so-called special interests. The most notorious example--and I am not making this up--is an organization based in the United States called the North American Man-Boy Love Association. It advocates the legalization of sex between men and boys as young as eight years old. Read that sentence again and digest the eight-years-old part. This vile NAMBLA group was formed in 1978 and calls for the "empowerment" of youth in the sexual area. It says it does not engage in any activities that violate the law.
Oh yeah? What about the fact that NAMBLA was involved in funding an orphanage in Thailand that allowed grown men to rape and molest the children who lived there? And what about the case of child rape in Ohio where NAMBLA was found guilty of complicity in the crime? The Ohio Court of Appeals ruled that NAMBLA's literature, found in the possession of the rapist, showed "preparation and purpose" in encouraging the rape.
It gets much, much worse. A NAMBLA member recently raped and murdered a young boy in Massachusetts. In October 1997 ten-year-old Jeffrey Curley was playing near his home in Cambridge when two men tried to lure him into a car. When he resisted, Salvatore Sicari and Charles Jaynes got brutal. They wound up killing the boy and then drove to Maine, where they dumped the boy's body in a river.
Both men were eventually arrested, convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Prosecutors at the trial produced as critical evidence a diary kept by Jaynes. In it he flat out stated that he became obsessed with having sex with young boys after he joined NAMBLA. How did the organization allegedly poison him with its ideas? According to the diary, Jaynes received NAMBLA literature in the mail and visited the group's website on computers at the Boston Public Library. Clearly, these NAMBLA people wanted to get their message out. According to lawyers familiar with the website, it actually posted techniques designed to lure boys into having sex with men and also supplied information on what an adult should do if caught.
Jeffrey Curley's parents are suing NAMBLA in federal court for $200 million. And guess who is defending NAMBLA in the case? Can you spell ACLU? That's right. The most powerful free speech watchdog in the world is using its money and resources to make sure that NAMBLA is not driven out of business. Is this an outrage or what?
The amazing truth is that the American Civil Liberties Union is spending membership dues defending the lawsuit. In a statement it said, "Regardless of whether people agree with or abhor NAMBLA's views, holding the organization responsible for crimes committed by others who read their materials would gravely endanger our important First Amendment rights."
Baloney! I respect the ACLU's goal of protecting the rights of all Americans. At their best, this group is courageous in defending legitimate expressions of opinion, some of which, like the Nazi marches, are pretty vile. But NAMBLA is a different matter because the freedom to harm children is not built into our Constitution.
Attorney Floyd Abrams walked onto The O'Reilly Factor set confident and clear-eyed. He had won many of these debates in the past. In my introduction to the segment, I told the audience that I believed NAMBLA was guilty of promoting statutory rape and was a seditious organization in the sense that it wanted to undercut the moral foundation of the United States. Abrams opened his remarks by saying that "the ACLU serves the public by serving even an awful bunch of creeps." Then we got down to the heart of the matter and things got heated.
O'Reilly: This doesn't have anything to do with free speech.
Abrams: But of course it does.
O'Reilly: No, this has to do with aiding and abetting, promoting a crime on a website.
Abrams: If that's what they do, then the family will win the case. But until they show that, there should be somebody brave enough--and the ACLU is--to show up.
O'Reilly: I think you're dead wrong because what the ACLU is doing is allowing an organization to corrupt children. In doing so the ACLU becomes part of the crime if it wins and allows NAMBLA to get away with it.
Abrams: So they shouldn't have a lawyer, right?
O'Reilly: They shouldn't have the ACLU.
Abrams: Throw them in jail.
O'Reilly: I'd put them in jail in a heartbeat.
Abrams: I know you would.
O'Reilly: Each lawyer has a responsibility to choose the case that promotes justice.
Abrams: These people need the ACLU.
Sure they need it, because they are a criminal enterprise that exists for only one reason: to encourage statutory rape. The ACLU's representation is free, and NAMBLA is staying alive because of it. When the ACLU chooses which cases to take, it has a responsibility to the people who are paying dues to it. The thing is, no decent human being should be helping NAMBLA, and I know many ACLU members who are absolutely mortified that this organization has stained itself with this case.
It should be obvious that I am a big free speech supporter. The Factor would have been shut down a long time ago if the First Amendment wasn't sacred. But we need a clear-thinking ACLU to protect our freedom of expression, not some radical organization that is lost in a fog of self-righteousness. I asked ACLU President Nadine Strossen to address this NAMBLA issue, but she declined. That was interesting. Ms. Strossen has talked with me before and is anything but camera shy.
And what about the authorities? Why isn't the Justice Department prosecuting NAMBLA? If the Ohio court nailed them, what's wrong with the feds? The answer to that one is that the feds don't care. We have become a nation held hostage to self-serving rationalizations of special interest groups. The Zone is sickened by the cowardice of the Justice Department as well as by the ACLU's irresponsibility. Using the First Amendment as a cover for the subversion of our laws violates the public safety. Spinning the NAMBLA-ACLU deal as a "rights" issue is a disgrace.
"One thing [NAMBLA] didn't say was go out and kill anybody," Abrams said to me. "One thing it didn't say was go out and rape anybody."
But as any good citizen knows, it's not what you don't say that counts, it's what you do say. If the ACLU cannot acknowledge that it is a crime to conspire to have sex with children--a hurtful and brutal act physically, emotionally, and morally--then the American Civil Liberties Union does not deserve our respect or our support.
CHAPTER TWO: Reading, Writing, and the Joy of Sex
Issue 2: Sex ed in your child's classroom
The Opponent: Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former surgeon general of the United States
O'Reilly: But you know how kids are. As soon as masturbation is brought up, they'll run out and tell their friends . . .
Elders: Poor children whom nobody has ever taught anything--are we to just throw them away? I think not.
It's not just the shameless perverts we need to worry about. Our children can also be assaulted by well-meaning public officials, teachers, and other adults in responsible positions. And these intrusions on the young are far more powerful than the lurid crimes that grab headlines because they are often very personal and delivered to the child one-on-one by influential adults.
Take the supposedly enlightened movement toward sex education. Right now, in many of the nation's public schools, there are sex education classes that get right to the heart of the matter. You get the what, you get the how. You get the birth control. You sometimes get nonverbal approval and, in rare cases, outright encouragement to engage in sexual activity. Driver's ed leads to driving a car, right? Sex ed has to be handled with the proper touch (pardon the pun) or, well, you get the idea.
I taught high school in Opa-locka, Florida, considered at the time to be one of the worst slums in South Florida. The kids at my school knew all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. They needed guidance, not instruction. They needed emotional maturity and perspective. They listened very, very closely to everything an adult said about sex and especially the way it was said.
Sex ed for me was "the talk" my father gave me when I turned thirteen. It was awkward for both of us, as the Irish aren't exactly known for their Dr. Ruth-like candor in these matters. "The talk" was also somewhat unnecessary. I already knew the basics from seminars with my friends, using Playboy magazines as text. And my father's words were highly theoretical because the reality was, I had about as much chance of landing the great white whale as I did of having sex. Teenage girls want to date smooth guys. I was a barbarian. But I gave my father points for trying.
As a young teacher I was more relaxed speaking about sex than my father ever was, but I was careful. Students have a way of misquoting any provocative comments, and that can lead to big trouble in a Catholic high school. Some of my students as young as fifteen were having sex and almost everyone in the school knew about it. I encouraged the use of contraceptives for any American who did not want to become a parent. I spoke of this in a general sense, illuminating the lesson with specifics about poverty, divorce, and child deprivation. Most of the kids got the message. Some didn't. It is always that way.
Predictably, the school administration did not like my kind of direct approach. They were determined to control the sexuality of the students by threatening them with various punishments for risque behavior. This of course was insane. The more you just say no, the more enticing certain kinds of behavior become. The issue came to a boil over football, of all things.