On Tuesday afternoon, Fox News Channel had a rare attack of decency and gave Bill O’Reilly his walking papers. In fact, rumors abounded as early as Tuesday afternoon that the No Spin Zone was about to get spun out of 1211 Avenue of the Americas. It would have been surprise if this didn’t cause hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing on the fringe. But if the defense offered by one prominent wingnut is any indication, the right is going to have some work to do to defend one of their biggest heroes.
Hours before O’Reilly’s ouster, Trump confidant and longtime right-wing provocateur Roger Stone dropped by InfoWars to decry the attacks on O’Reilly. As far as he was concerned, it’s all because the big bad libruls are ganging up on him. Watch here.
Stone claimed that O’Reilly was the target of an “orchestrated campaign of smear,” much like what happened to Fox News founder Roger Ailes last summer. Stone claimed that Ailes was pushed out due to “a campaign of half-truth and smear.” Uh huh. So those librul activists Laurie Luhn, Gretchen Carlson, and Megyn Kelly conspired to smear Ailes and throw him to the wolves, right?
Alex Jones’ sidekick, Paul Joseph Watson, harumphed that O’Reilly’s ouster was the work of “Obama front group” Media Matters. To his mind, it was more evidence of what he saw as standard operating procedure on the left.
“The left uses the fact that the right has principles. They use that against us because they don’t have any. So it’s always about the personal attack, isn’t it? You very rarely see people on the right going after people on the left in terms of personal attacks.”
Um, Paul? Where have you been in the last quarter-century?
Stone chimed in to say that liberals know they can’t win an honest debate, so they try to bludgeon their opponents into silence.
“They can’t argue on the basis of ideas. They can’t argue on the basis of issues. So they have to silence us. They’re trying to do so through Facebook, through Google, through these kinds of campaigns being run against O’Reilly. Censorship to me seems to be fundamentally un-American. We allow everybody a voice. This is a flagrant, egregious violation of the First Amendment.”
I had to listen to this twice. So in Stone’s world, calling out someone for being a churl and a bully violates his right to free speech? Uh huh. So all those women who got millions in settlement checks from Fox News were trampling on O’Reilly’s First Amendment rights. For that matter, by even daring to speak out, all of O’Reilly’s accusers over the years have just been out to silence him. And by calling for a state investigation into how Fox News handled sexual assault, Lisa Bloom was violating Fox News’ right to free speech. And on, and on, and on.
It’s hard not to wonder if Stone slept through his civics classes in high school and at George Washington University. After all, if anyone seriously believes that the First Amendment prevents you from speaking out when you’ve been sexually harassed, there is something very wrong.
(featured image courtesy Stone’s Facebook)