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O'Reilly Sticks Up for Transgender Miss Universe ContestantvIn late-March of 2012, Bill O'Reilly aired a segment on The O'Reilly factor about 23-year-old Jenna Talackova, a transgender woman who was kicked out of competing for the title of Miss Universe Canada because she was born a man. The Vancouver woman was disqualified after pageant officials learned she'd had sexual reassignment surgery. Talacokva threatened a lawsuit in the case, saying she had every right to compete, even though she wasn't born a woman.
Enter Bill O'Reilly. In a shocking turn of events, O'Reilly actually defended Jenna Talackova's right to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant, noting that Talackova didn't break any laws and is "free to do what she wants to do." O'Reilly completely backed Talackova, saying:
What right does the Miss Universe pageant have to violate this lady’s right to be a woman? They are basically saying because you weren’t born a woman, you don’t have a right to be a woman... [I]t doesn’t sound right to me.Bill O'Reilly said Talackova has every right to compete in the pageant designed for women. He argued that the competition officials violated the transgender beauty queen's rights by kicking her out.
Just days after O'Reilly threw his support behind Talackova, the Miss Universe Organization said in a statement that the transgender contestant could indeed compete:
The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions.
O'Reilly Defends Ellen DeGeneresIn February 2012, Bill O'Reilly surprised fans and critics alike when he threw his support behind talk show host and popular gay rights activist Ellen DeGeneres as she battled the radical conservative group One Million Moms. After JC Penney named Ellen a spokesperson, the group organized a boycott of the retailer. They released a statement that the boycott "isn't about Ellen DeGeneres, but it's about mainstreaming something that is not acceptable to Christian and traditional family people."
As the story made headlines, Bill O'Reilly took to the airwaves to defend DeGeneres, saying it was wrong for any group to demand that a company fire a spokesperson who hasn't done anything wrong. Period. O'Reilly came at the story from the angle of a business person, who believes it goes against the "spirit of America." Indeed. Not only that, O'Reilly shot down the One Million Moms' stance that it "isn't about Ellen DeGeneres," saying:
But it is about Ellen DeGeneres, and this is where we run into a problem. If you remember with the McCarthy era of the 1950s, they were trying to hunt down Communist sympathizers and not let them work and put them on a blacklist… What is the difference between the McCarthy era Communist blacklist in the ‘50s and the Million Moms saying, ‘Hey, J.C. Penney and all you other stores, don’t you hire any gay people. Don’t you dare.’ What is the difference?
O'Reilly also noted that "This JC Penney thing is a witch hunt and it shouldn't happen."
Now here's where things got even more surprising: Ellen DeGeneres actually thanked O'Reilly for his support on her show, saying:
I already sent you out a Tweet to thank you … You didn't really make it clear if you were going to shop at JC Penney or not, but if you do, you can use my employee discount any time you want. That's for you Bill. Thank you so much.
Ellen, making nicey with Bill O'Reilly?! Amazing.
O'Reilly on Curbing Fossil Fuel Use and Alternative FuelsGlobal warming is one of those hot bed issues (so to speak) that pits liberals against conservatives time and again. That's not surprising. In the past, Bill O'Reilly has said that he's not totally behind the idea that fossil fuels are the reason for global warming, but he does support the effort to curb fossil fuel use. In 2002, O'Reilly noted in his Talking Points Memo that he "never understood the resistance to the concept of global warming."
O'Reilly noted that his position wouldn't be popular with some conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, but said:
The earth is getting warmer, and whether it is because of man or nature is pretty much beside the point.Wait, so which side is he on? He says he "wouldn't have signed the Kyoto Treaty," which asked industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but he notes that, with the use of new technology, "We should be able to get away from fossil fuel if we can." That certainly makes sense - but then O'Reilly takes things a step further, saying:
America needs to stop arguing over the cause of global warming and begin a disciplined 10-year plan to use fewer polluting agents, more conservation, and tons more innovation.Oh, and lastly? He wants to increase tax credits for alternative fuels. So there you go. Bill O'Reilly occasionally gets it right.
O'Reilly: Critical of Big Oil?Of all the people you'd think would side with big corporate oil companies, Bill O'Reilly would be near or at the top of the list, right? You'd be wrong. In fact, it seems that O'Reilly is one of Big Oil's harshest critics - or that's how he sounded in April 2006 on "The O'Reilly Factor." During a discussion with Neil Cavuto (VP of Fox News), O'Reilly patently said he thinks it's nuts that Exxon Mobil's raking in the cash while Americans are basically being gouged at the gas pumps. It's so insane, he insisted, that:
I'm not going to buy ever again a drop of gasoline from Exxon Mobil. I'll tell you why, and then you can tell me how misguided I am... I, as you know, think the oil companies are gouging the American public, because every time the future's people bid the price of oil up - as they did today over $70 a gallon, because they're worried about Iran, they're worried about Nigeria, they're worried about "American Idol" being canceled, it doesn't matter, they just bid them up - the oil companies say now we have another excuse to raise prices. They don't have to raise them.O'Reilly didn't stop there. He went on to say that in his view, companies are charging more money for gas to keep their record profits rolling in. In February 2012, he criticized companies for shipping oil overseas:
Let's be very clear. There is plenty of oil in the USA. Prices should not be at record levels. But they are because the oil companies are sending their products overseas to make more money. The oil companies know they can make more money in China so they send the stuff over there.O'Reilly reiterated his statement that he'd never buy Exxon Mobil "because I think they're greedy. I don't think they're looking out for the folks."
O'Reilly Shocks With Answers on 60 MinutesIn 2007, Bill O'Reilly appeared in an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes. When peppered with questions from Mike Wallace about his views on a variety of issues, O'Reilly seems amazingly... wait for it... liberal?
Honestly, I'm not lying. Check out the O'Reilly "60 Minutes" interview with Mike Wallace here and transcription below. Check out his answers, starting around the 7:30 mark.
Mike Wallace: You are pro-gun control, right?
Bill O'Relly: Correct.
Wallace: Against the death penalty?
Wallace: For Civil Unions for homosexuals?
O'Relly: For everybody, not just homosexuals. For everybody.
Wallace: For gay adoptions?
O'Relly: As a last resort. I'd rather have nice, responsible gay home than the System for kids. What else?
Wallace: Any other thing?
O'Relly: The environment. The environment. The government's gotta be proactive on environment. Global warming is here. All these idiots are running around saying it isn't here - that's ridiculous.
Are your eyes melting yet? Well, maybe this will get things burning: While Bill O'Reilly did support President Bush, his quest for WMDs, and the Iraq War in general, he changed his tune in 2004 when he appeared on "Good Morning America." Following a report that shed doubt that Saddam Hussein actually had any weapons of mass destruction, O'Reilly said he had become "much more skeptical about the Bush administration." He went on with his criticism of the former President and the way he ran things:
I think all Americans should be concerned about this, for their families and themselves, that our intelligence isn't as good as it should be.Boom!
O'Reilly is Against the Death PenaltyBill O'Reilly's stance on the death penalty may surprise you considering the apparent bloodlust that runs through the conservative camp. O'Reilly is actually an opponent of the death penalty - a position he shares with many liberals. In June of 2001, Bill O'Reilly wrote a piece outlining his beliefs on capital punishment, and using convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh's case as an example. McVeigh, if you'll remember, preferred death to a life of many long years behind bars. He got his wish in June 2011 when he was given a lethal injection at the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, IN. O'Reilly said:
I believe that inside many Americans lies certain uneasiness about capital punishment. If taking a life is wrong, then it’s wrong even when the state sanctions it. Of course, justice dictates a fitting punishment for murderers, and the Old Testament does discuss an eye for an eye.Wow. Okay, so here, O'Reilly says quite clearly that the death penalty is "wrong" - but he also suggests the need for "... a better way to punish people that commit crimes against humanity." Here's where he lowers the hammer, so to speak - this is his "better way":
Killers, rapists, drug kingpins, and terrorists should all be subjected to life in prison without parole in a federal work camp. This special prison system would be run military-style and be located on federal land in Alaska. It would be, in effect, a gulag.Umm, yeah. No mention here of the idea that the death penalty might execute innocents - only the belief that the convicted should spend the rest of their natural lives in substandard conditions and being punished. Fair enough. Let's just give a few points for opposing capital punishment and perhaps leave it at that.
O'Reilly Supports Gay RightsWhile it's true that Bill O'Reilly would rather a kid be raised by opposite-gender parents than a couple of the same sex, he would also prefer any kid be adopted by a loving gay family than end up in the foster system. In a 2002 interview with "recovering homosexual" Stephen Bennett, O'Reilly argued:
Now this homosexual couple - responsible, not flamboyant, both earn a good living - are raising this abused child, and he's a troubled child. But you would rather see this kid in foster care, bounced around from home to home because you don't like gays. That's really -- you think God up there is saying that?His stance on gay marriage is a bit more complicated, as he believes the legalization of same-sex marriage would open the door to unions between polygamists, cousins, and different species. Still, ever the proponent of a hands-off government, O'Reilly supports anti-discrimination laws for gays and protective laws for the workplace. At the heart of the marriage issue, he admits:
I couldn't care less. You want to get married? Knock yourself out. Go to Vegas; have a good time.While he occasionally gets in arguments with gay rights activists on his show, O'Reilly insists that the heat comes not from loathing, but from a place of compassionate concern.
I want you to have a good life. It's easier to have a good life if nobody knows what your sexual proclivities are - hetero or homosexual or whatever - so keep it quiet unless you absolutely have to define it.... Society does not have the right to judge what you do behind closed doors.