During a Thursday interview where Tony Perkins blamed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for the recent shooting of a Family Research Council (FRC) employee, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly took the opportunity to insist he did not “exacerbate” the situation that led to the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller by calling him a “baby killer.”
“Now you may remember back in 2009, some in the liberal press accused me encouraging the assassination of late-term abortionist George Tiller in Kansas,” O’Reilly said.
As PBS’ Now noted, O’Reilly had mentioned Tiller’s name on 27 episodes of his Fox News show, often calling him “Tiller the Baby Killer” without attributing the label to anyone. He also said Tiller had “blood on his hands,” was guilty of “Nazi stuff” and was “operating death mills.”
“I never called him a killer,” O’Reilly insisted on Thursday, even though PolitiFact found that the Fox News host had used the term “baby killer” to describe Tiller at least 24 times.
“I simply referred to what Tiller was doing in detail and the press hounded me for it,” O’Reilly continued, bringing on Family Research Council President Tony Perkins to talk about the most recent shooting.
“I believe that the Southern Poverty Law Center is responsible for creating an environment that led to this,” Perkins explained. “[Your critics are] saying you are using hate speech — well, the Southern Poverty Law Center — because they disagree with our position on marriage and certain religious issues — have labeled us a hate group, and that gives license to lunatics like this that come in and shoot innocent people.”
“It’s a shocking situation,” O’Reilly agreed. “And as we said in the Tiller situation, there’s no excuse for it. I didn’t exacerbate that situation.”
“And I don’t know about the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the self-proclaimed culture warrior added. “We will check that out. Absolutely.”
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