MEDIA

Bill O'Reilly Has A Long Record Of Threatening And Ambushing Journalists

02/24/2015 11:44 am ET | Updated Feb 24, 2015

WASHINGTON -- There are few people in the media more thin-skinned than Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.

Mother Jones recently published a report calling out O'Reilly for exaggerating stories about his reporting during the Falklands war in 1982.

In response, O'Reilly seemingly wished bodily harm on one of the piece's authors, David Corn, saying, "I expect David Corn to be in the kill zone. Where he deserves to be."

O'Reilly later said "kill zone" was simply a "slang expression" and not meant to be interpreted literally.

But the threats didn't stop there. O'Reilly also lashed out at a New York Times reporter covering the controversy. During a phone conversation, he promised to go after the reporter if the story was not to his liking.

"I am coming after you with everything I have," he said. "You can take it as a threat."

Threats are nothing new from O'Reilly. And as I know firsthand, he sometimes goes even further.

In 2009, O'Reilly was scheduled to speak at an event for a group that helps rape survivors. At the time, I was a blogger for ThinkProgress, and I noted in a post that in the past, O'Reilly had implied that women who dress in a certain way or consume too much alcohol should perhaps expect to be raped.

A few weeks later, while I was on vacation several hours outside of Washington, D.C., a producer for O'Reilly, Jesse Watters, ambushed me outside my hotel, asking me why I was hurting rape victims and demanding that I apologize to rape victims everywhere for my post.

Fox News never answered my inquiries about how Watters found me, but my best guess -- since I hadn't told anyone exactly where I was going that weekend -- was that he staked out my apartment and followed me to Virginia. No one from The O'Reilly Factor had contacted me before the ambush for comment.

I wasn't the first one to face this type of harassment from O'Reilly or his team. He had behaved similarly toward dozens of other people before me, including judges, religious officials and journalists.

In 2008, Watters confronted Cynthia Tucker, then a columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, while she was outside her home getting the mail. Roger Oglesby, then the editor and publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, was ambushed by Watters in his driveway as he got out of his car in 2007.

Nevada journalist Jon Ralston said O'Reilly's team tried to get him blocked from appearing on Fox News after he wrote in 2012 that The O'Reilly factor had aired a segment that was "one of the most shockingly idiotic and insulting pieces I’ve seen about Las Vegas."

Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti did not return a request for comment on whether O'Reilly will send anyone to confront reporters at Mother Jones or The New York Times, and whether the network still stands behind these types of ambushes.

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