During one of many interviews in which he pushed back on an article about his reporting some 33 years ago, Bill O’Reilly told TVNewser that he expected David Corn, the story’s co-author, “to be in the kill zone. Where he deserves to be.”
Well, Corn isn’t taking that comment lightly. His editors at Mother Jones have emailed Fox News executives, asking that O’Reilly renounce the comment and apologize. TVNewser has obtained the email, in which Mother Jones editors accuse O’Reilly of crossing a line:
We are writing with alarm about Bill O’Reilly’s response to our report investigating his characterizations of his reporting in “war zones.” We welcome criticism, but calling for our reporter “to be in the kill zone” crosses a line. Like everyone in media today, we are concerned about the safety of our staff. We’d have hoped that statements with this kind of violent tone would not come from a fellow media professional.
For a full day before publishing the story, starting at 8:30 a.m., Mother Jones sought comment or clarification from Fox News. This included sending emails with a detailed list of questions. After multiple calls and emails to you both went unanswered, we published the story at 5:26 p.m.
After the article was posted, Mr. O’Reilly spoke to multiple reporters for other outlets. He did not address the substance of the article. Instead, he called David Corn “a liar,” “a guttersnipe,” “a disgusting piece of garbage,” and “a left-wing assassin.” He suggested that Corn deserved to be “in the kill zone.”
Mr. O’Reilly has indicated that he plans to address the Mother Jones story on his show tonight. He should use that occasion to renounce his “kill zone” remark and apologize. If he does not, he should issue a separate statement renouncing the remark and apologizing.
We would appreciate a response. And of course, we remain very interested in any comments responding to the article itself.
Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery