"They're courageous -- no doubt that they are," said Bill O'Reilly of Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor" this week. He was discussing the Islamic death threats against Parker and Stone that, naturally, followed the recent South Park Muhammad episode. The threats came in a jihadist video (caption: "Help Us Remove this Filth") portraying the writer-producers as likely victims of Islamic violence along with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Salman Rushdie, Geert Wilders, Kurt Westergaard and Lars Vilks. A photo of the slain body of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, his head nearly cut off on an Amsterdam street in 2004 by a jihadist assassin, served as an example.
Rather than praise Parker's and Stone's courage, however, O'Reilly went on to disparage their judgment.
"Was it the smart thing to do in light of the Danish cartoonist and van Gogh?" he asked. "It's harmless to me," he continued about the episode in question. "But if you are a hardcore jihadist any mention of Muhammad in any kind of way, particularly if you poking fun at him, is a capital offense."
According to whose law, Bill -- Islam's or ours? Or is our law now Islamic? Those are the question citizens of the Western world need to hear discussed. But not on the O'Reilly Factor.
"See, I would have advised them not to do it," O'Reilly continued, "because the risk is higher than the reward."
One reason there is such a high "risk" is because media people such as O'Reilly left Westergaard and now the South Park creators, as Parker put it, "out to dry." All media in American should have reproduced Westergaard's cartoon, just as all media in American should now applaud Parker and Stone for their defense of free speech against Sharia. Surely, it is O'Reilly's responsibility as a leading broadcaster to do that small bit to keep the airwaves free.
Alas, this man of the folks doesn't see it that way. "You don't want to give in to the intimidating forces of evil," he said. "But you got to deal with reality. And these people are killers and they will kill you."
In other words, shut up about Muhammad, and everything will be fine -- or at least Islamic.
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