Why one NARAL staffer won't go on O'Reilly

Mary Alice Carr used to appear on the show, despite criticism she got, but his Tiller coverage was too much

By Alex Koppelman

Published June 4, 2009 2:55PM (EDT)

Liberals have different strategies for dealing with Fox News, especially its more bombastic hosts. Some choose to boycott, while others feel it's better to go on and defend their point of view. For a time, Mary Alice Carr, the vice president of communications for NARAL Pro-Choice New York, was one of the latter. No more.

In an op-ed she penned for the Washington Post, Carr writes, "I went on his show, time and again, even though many other progressives discouraged me. I went because I know what O'Reilly knows: It's the most-watched show, and I thought it was imperative that his audience also hear our viewpoint." But the Fox News host's coverage of George Tiller made Carr change her mind about appearing on his show, and led her to decline an invitation to come on in the wake of the abortion provider's murder.

"When you tell an audience of millions over and over again that someone is an executioner, you cannot feign surprise when someone executes that person," Carr writes. "O'Reilly knew that people wanted Tiller dead, and he knew full well that many of those people were avid viewers of his show ... He knows that his words incite violence.

"That is why I made a personal pledge to no longer sit across from him after he called for people to converge on Tiller's clinic. I realized that appearing on the show with him would only legitimize his speech and that no good would come of my efforts."

Carr says she did consider the most recent invite from a producer for O'Reilly, but ultimately decided against it, deciding, as she writes, "if the murder of a man in a house of worship wasn't enough to make Bill O'Reilly repent, what hope did I have?"

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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