Why won’t Bill O’Reilly debate me?

He called the author a communist. What's he scared of?

Topics: Inequality, Bill O'Reilly, Fox News, Media, Conservatism, ,

Why won't Bill O'Reilly debate me? Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. (Credit: Wikipedia)
This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

Bill O’Reilly slammed me on his Fox News show last night for mentioning, in a New York Times op-ed last weekend, that he has called me a Communist. In that op-ed I referred to his Communist name-calling as an example of the kind of ad hominem incivility that now passes for political debate in America — of which O’Reilly is a part.

O’Reilly took umbrage that I would even bring it up. Apparently he thinks it’s perfectly fine to call me names but offensive for me to criticize him for doing so.

Yet O’Reilly refuses to have me on his show to debate any of this — either his initial charge I’m a Communist, or his indignation that I mentioned it in last weekend’s op-ed. When he first claimed I was a Communist I challenged him to a debate — a civil debate. He refused. He still refuses. He won’t even debate the topic of my op-ed — the increasing shrillness and divisiveness of Fox News and other media outlets, which are only adding to the vitriol of American politics.

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Why won’t O’Reilly debate me? What’s he afraid of?

Please email him and tell him that instead of talking about me he should have the courage and decency to talk with me directly. His email address is: oreilly@foxnews.com.

Robert Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written 13 books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His new movie "Inequality for All" is in Theaters. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org.

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