Tuesday, August 07, 2007

DWT pays a morning call on Bill O, and learns that the incarnation of evil looks pretty scary when he fetches his morning paper--oh, those red shorts!


Holy loofah, Batman, is this Bill O's suburban dreamhouse? Uh,
no, actually it's
Tony Soprano's. (Kind of po-tay-to/po-tah-to?)

"If any woman ever breathed a word I'll make her pay so dearly that she'll wish she'd never been born. I'll rake her through the mud, bring up things in her life and make her so miserable that she'll be destroyed. And besides, she wouldn't be able to afford the lawyers I can or endure it financially as long as I can. And nobody would believe her, it'd be her word against mine and who are they going to believe? Me or some unstable woman making outrageous accusations. They'd see her as some psycho, someone unstable. Besides, I'd never make the mistake of picking unstable crazy girls like that."
--or words to this "effect," said to have been spoken by Bill O'Reilly, according to Andrea Mackris's 2004 court filing

No man is a hero to his valet, they say. They might add that no man is likely to look terribly heroic padding down his driveway in the morning to pick up his newspaper.

Naturally, you think of Tony Soprano. After all, this is one of the quintessential Tony moments. How many times did we see him, barely contained in his famous white bathrobe, barely awake, yet scanning the landscape for anything out of place as he shuffled down the driveway to pick up his newspaper.

It was hard for the New York contingent of DownWithTyranny not to think of Tony S while standing on the blacktop road outside Bill O'Reilly's suburban Long Island nest early one morning last week, when suddenly the great man emerged from his domicile to perform--as it turned out--the very same ritual, only to find himself face to face with progressive activist and blogger Mike Stark in his driveway.

Clearly Bill O could have used some of Tony S's deeply ingrained eyes-in-the-back-of-his-head vigilance. Even more, he could have used Tony's bathrobe. I'm fairly sure that the image of Bill O, resplendent in a New York Knicks T-shirt and a pair of red short shorts, has been burned permanently into my retinas. (I had a momentary impulse to poke my eyes out, just to make sure I would never see such a sight again.)

DWT was there in a support capacity for Mike, who explained why we schlepped out to Casa O'Reilly in a Daily Kos diary (several times updated, with pictures and everything--and now he's got video up!):

"After O'Reilly provided an 'accountability moment' to the JetBlue CEO at his home, I decided to provide O'Reilly with his own accountability moment at his home."

The "accountability moment" Bill O had forced on the hapless JetBlue CEO was a demand that he answer for the sin of his company's limited sponsorship of YearlyKos, the annual convention of the progressive netroots which took place this past weekend, a sponsorship that became ever more limited as Bill O and his frothing wingnut cohorts made it sound as if contributing a clutch of free plane tickets (about all the "sponsorship" seemed to consist of in the end) to YearlyKos was like promoting a Satanic cult.

Unlike most of us, Mike responded to O'Reilly's home-invasion stunt by thinking, "You know, I should go to his house!" (A surprising number of commenters on Mike's DailyKos diary didn't seem to grasp that he wasn't stalking the old geezer. He was just doing unto Bill O what he feels so free to do unto others.)

And what would he ask Bill O to "account" for?

Well, there's no shortage of material, and if you're in need of a current fix on the O'Reilly depradations, Media Matters keeps a watchful webpage trained on him. Of late, for example, poor old Bill seems obsessed with YearlyKos and DailyKos--two entities that have hardly anything to do with each other, but that perhaps understandably give him the billies, each in its own way.

Tonight on his show it appears that he will be featuring a sad, deluded young man who, in military uniform, interrupted a YearlyKos panel on Iraq demanding to know why no recognition was being given to the great triumphs of the Bush Surge. (Apparently the poor fellow is known in military circles for this behavior, and actually is in the military, or perhaps the reserve, in some maintenance capacity in Ohio, never having been to Iraq, unlike the active-duty member of the panel, who of course was not in uniform, which is forbidden for such events.)

From what I gather, the poor fellow was treated as respectfully as possible, considering that the nonsense he was spewing is just the thoroughly discredited propaganda being pushed currently by the die-hard Bush-policy loyalists. However, where serious military people seem mostly offended by the unpardonable breech of conduct of wearing his uniform to a political event, Bill O no doubt means to present him as proof of the perfidy of YearlyKos: a crusading soldier (whose crusade just seems not to have happened to have taken him to Iraq) who was shamefully rebuffed by those Dirty Fucking Hippies in his heroic effort to introduce a note of patriotism and enlightment to this coven of unmitigated America-haters.

Even if Bill O is confused about DailyKos and YearlyKos being one and the same thing, he's probably right--from his far, far right perspective, to be alarmed by both. DailyKos, after all, is the granddaddy of progressive blogs. It paved the way in showing how this new medium could be used as a national gathering place for people who are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

In fact, one of the members of our little Bill O Accountability Project, Phillip Anderson (who didn't actually make it to out to the house, as I'll explain in a moment, but was with us in spirit), has a lovely mission statement on his fine website, The Albany Project (thealbanyproject.com), which I think we could borrow after the fact for DailyKos.

The Albany Project, you probably won't be surprised to learn, chronicles the daily doings of New York State politics. If you think it's depressing keeping up with what goes on inside the Beltway, or in your state capital, you've clearly never gotten a whiff of politics Albany-style, which traditionally features a legislature that we Empire Staters take pride in believing is the most dysfunctional in the country, with the real work being done by our famous "three men in a back room"--the State Senate majority leader (in modern times always a Republican), the Assembly speaker (in modern times always a Democrat), and of course the governor, who often has nearly as much difficulty dealing with the legislative leader of his own party as with the predictably troublesome leader of the opposite party.

Phillip's mission statement is:

"The Albany Project seeks to return New York State Government to its rightful owners--the people."

In much the same way, DailyKos--by giving voice to so many people who never had a way of being heard, wanting to take back their government.

I suppose this is why DailyKos rattles Bill O so badly. It represents a new era of progressive pushback against the vicious propaganda, the lies built on hate and fear, with which he and the other right-wing noise machinists have so long had an unopposed run at imbecilicizing a gullible American public.

To prove that DailyKos is a hotbed of America-hating radicals, the lying hate-monger, in a seizure of unmitigated preposterousness, actually went mining amongst the zillions of unmoderated comments on DailyKos and, sure enough, came up with a few incendiary ones, which with his customary total dishonesty he has been representing as the basic content of the site, utterly ignoring the fact that even these comments are as nothing, in both quality and especially quantity, compared with what floods the right-wing blogosphere, including Bill O's very own blog (where you have to pay to play, I gather).

Bill O's customary intellectual honesty comes into play when he's challenged about those hate- and violence-mongering comments on his own site, when he could no longer deny them, as against the nuggets he managed to find on DailyKos. It appeas that when it comes to his own site, it's obviously impossible to monitor reader-added content. However, when it comes to DailyKos, it's equally obvious that of course the site bears full responsibility for every word it contains.

Life is so much easier when your decrepit carcass doesn't contain as much as a single cell of honesty or decency.

Okay, the question we were asking was: What was Mike trying to hold Bill O accountable for? He thought of the 2004 lawsuit for sexual harassment filed against him by former O'Reilly Factor associate producer Andrea Mackris. It caused a brief sensation, with our Bill claiming indignantly that it was all a setup, that the woman was a gold digger who had been infatuated with him and was presumably trying to punish him for spurning her advances.

Suddenly the lawsuit vanished, with Ms. Mackris presumably being generously paid (perhaps in the neighborhood of $2 million [for more on the dollar figure, see the UPDATE below]) to shut the fuck up. No doubt everyone took a vow of silence, except for a carefully worded O'Reilly statement that refers to no wrongdoing have been committed by any of the parties. (This of course covers not just Bill O, but Ms. Mackris, whom he had threatened with all manner of countersuits for her wicked lies about him.)

It was noted at the time that the original Mackris court filing, which runs to more than 20 pages, contains long chunks of apparent direct quotations from the frothings and ravings of Bill O. Even though some were labeled "words to the effect," this suggested to observers that O'Reilly's people had freaked at the indication that there were tapes, meaning that this wasn't going to be just "he said-she said."

That filing remains a matter of public record, even if the contents were never litigated. Of course we can't assume that everything there is true. On the other hand, there's no reason at all to suppose that any of it is untrue, and if you read those papers applying simple common sense, the kindest conclusion you can draw is that they're simply devastating to Bill O. Quite a lot to account for, in fact.

Not many people have read those papers, and Mike thought it would be a good idea if more people did. As a start, he printed out 20 complete sets, which he delivered to all of Bill O's neighbors the morning of our visit. Even now, I wonder whether any of them read those papers, and how they reacted.

What's the big deal about those papers? you say. To begin with, they paint a quite disgusting portrait--for the high-minded moralist of The O'Reilly Factor--of not just an old lech, but a serial old lech, who routinely subjected female employees to sexually explicit diatribes and tried to induce them to allow him to engage in phone sex with them. And yes, we're talking about phone sex, not chitchat. According to the papers, while he was on the phone with these women, often watching porn, he was whacking Little Bill (if you get my meaning; DWT is a family-friendly blog), and took pains to make clear when the little fella, er, went happy.

76. At approximately 11:06 p.m. on or about September 1, 2004, during the Republican National Convention, Defendant BILL O'REILLY telephoned Plaintiff ANDREA MACKRIS on her cell phone and asked that she call. Plaintiff believed that the call would be work-related, and returned the call. Instead, Defendant BILL O'REILLY once again launched into a lewd and lascivious, unsolicited and disturbing sexually-graphic talk.

A portion of this "sexually-graphic talk," referred to elsewhere in the papers as "this monologue," "his perverted ravings," and "defendant BILL O'REILLY's sexual rant," is quoted at length at no. 78 in the filing. This is Bill O's famous fantasy of taking Ms. Mackris on a Caribbean vacation and joining her in the shower, equipped with "that loofa thing"--later referred to as "one of those mitts, those loofa mitts you know," and still later, most mysteriously, as "the falafel (sic) thing." (Presumably the agitated state of Little Bill had something to do with the confusion of loofahs with falafel. I say loofah, you say falafel.)

This has to make anyone gag, but it's not the worst of what one finds in the filing.

There was a period when, according to the papers, in large part because of Bill O's unstoppable come-ons, Ms. Mackris left Fox for CNN. She wasn't happy there, and allowed herself to be talked into returning, but with conditions, according to the papers:

54. On or about April 13, 2004, during dinner at Milos, Plaintiff ANDREA MACKRIS again told Defendant BILL O'REILLY that she would return to work on "The O'Reilly Factor" only if he no longer engaged in inappropriate conduct. Defendant agreed: "Of course, because then you'd be working for me and I'd have power over you, so that couldn't happen, that wouldn't be fair." When Plaintiff reminded Defendant that he had done the same thing to other women who worked on "The O'Reilly Factor," and that he should be careful or they might tell someone, O'REILLY vehemently threatened with words to the effect:

If any woman ever breathed a word I'll make her pay so dearly that she'll wish she'd never been born. I'll rake her through the mud, bring up things in her life and make her so miserable that she'll be destroyed. And besides, she wouldn't be able to afford the lawyers I can or endure it financially as long as I can. And nobody would believe her, it'd be her word against mine and who are they going to believe? Me or some unstable woman making outrageous accusations. They'd see her as some psycho, someone unstable. Besides, I'd never make the mistake of picking unstable crazy girls like that. [Emphasis added.]

55. During the course of this conversation, Defendant BILL O'REILLY further sternly warned, to the effect:

If you cross FOX NEWS CHANNEL, it's not just me, it's [FOX President] Roger Ailes who will go after you. I'm the street guy out front making loud noises about the issues, but Ailes operates behind the scenes, strategizes and makes things happen so that one day BAM! The person gets what's coming to them but never sees it coming. Look at Al Franken. one day he's going to get a knock on his door and life as he's known it will change forever. That day will happen, trust me.

If we assume that Bill O once said these exact words, or even words to this effect (as could once, presumably, have been verified with reference to tapes, which have presumably long since been destroyed), it's important to note that he isn't denying any of his repellent behavior. He seems quite proud of it, in fact. What he's saying is, I'm rich, I'm white, I'm right-wing, I'm so powerful that I can get away with anything.

And besides, he can always count "fair and balanced" Roger Ailes to kick the stuffing out of people who try to hurt him.

As a matter of fact, in reality, you realize that in the end, Bill O didn't even follow through on his dramatic threat to Andrea Mackris. He didn't "destroy" her, or even sic the dreaded Roger Ailes on her. He just paid her off. You almost feel sorry for the sad old windbag, just as I sort of did that day as I watched him fetching his paper.

Then you remember that, while he may be just an old windbag, he's a determined and insatiable one, committed to his ideology of bigotry and hate, and that ill wind he unlooses on the land continues to pollute.

So I'm not sorry I went, even if it meant getting up at 4am, then dawdling so I left 10 minutes later than I should have and had to count off my 18 subway stops frantically guessing whether I would make the 5:29 train out of Penn Station, the one we had agreed the day before best suited our timetable. I made it, with minutes to spare.

Phillip, alas, just missed the 5:29, meaning he had to wait an hour for the next train, as I found out when Mike and his journalist friend Alan Zimmerman, who took the expedition photos I've reproduced here, arrived to pick me up. Unfortunately, the later train never made it past its first stop, Woodside, barely into Queens. This led to much cell-phone traffic between Mike and Phillip--could he perhaps share a cab with someone from the train who needed to get out there? Not without cabs to share, he couldn't.

In the end, we had to proceed with the mission without Phillip. This in turn led to one of the worst expeditionary developments since that unfortunate business with the Donner Party. Phillip, who has genuine competence in video matters, would have been the designated videographer. Against all advice, the camera was put in my hands--except, I should note, for the actual sequence when Bill O made his appearance. As it happened, Mike had the camera in hand then, so he became his own cameraman.

At this point we have to pause for a brief sidebar:


We all have our strengths and, er, not-such-strengths. For example, I can program my DVR box like . . . well, let's just say I can program it. On the other hand, when it comes to taking pictures, well, let's just say I can't. I wish I had a dollar for every time unsuspecting souls have handed me cameras and asked me to take a picture of them.

"Just press the button," they always say. But it never works. Never.

What they forget, first, is that you have to do something before you even try to press the button. Like find the viewfinder and figure out how it works, all the while not touching anything that would . . . oops, what the heck was that? And sometimes they forget to tell you that before you "just press the button" you've got to advance this or twist that, and then there's the flash, and . . . and . . . sorry, I need to take a moment to calm down here.

Anyway, my (ex-) friend Bob was a rabid New York Yankees fan. And one year, many years ago, finding himself with an extra ticket for the team's annual Fan Fest, he invited me to come along. I had never been to such a thing and had no idea what it was, and after finding out what it is, I can't imagine ever going to another one.

What it is, is: You pay a whole lot of money just to get inside a convention location where a large number of spaces are cordoned off to accommodate lines, enormous lines, where fans wait to get an autograph from whichever Yankee or ex-Yankee is at the head of that line. Naturally the line-heads are padded out with a bunch of stiffs nobody gives a damn about; you could get their autographs as quickly--and as often--as you like. And then there are the monsters, the guys whose autograph everyone wants.

Now, my (ex-) friend Bob's hero--no, his idol--from the Yankees' lean years of the '80s was Donnie Baseball, aka Don Mattingly (pictured above). Nowadays, since Donnie's return to the team as hitting coach, we see him all the time. But back then, in the early years of his retirement, he mostly stayed home with his family in Indiana. He was going to be at Fan Fest, though, and Bob was not only going to get his autograph but have his picture taken with him. He had brought along a little camera just for that purpose.

So we waited in the Mattingly line, which of course was enormous. Slowly, oh so slowly, we made our way to the front of the line. And just as we were about to meet the great man himself, I suddenly discovered that I was the designated photographer. Bob stuck the camera in my hand, uttering those fateful words, "Just press the button."

Donnie Baseball, the sweetest and most unassuming of superstars, was perfectly happy to pose with Bob, but the rest is a blur of panic and humiliation. I figured that before I pressed the button I should have reason to think that the camera was in some fashion aimed at Donnie and Bob, and then somewhere in there came button-pressing time, only--as God is my witness--the goddamned button wouldn't press!

From there my memories are cloudy until we were actually outside the convention center. I appreciated Bob's manful efforts not to taunt, whine, or otherwise recriminate. That must have been hard for him. I think possibly he had rejiggered the camera so the button was ready to press again, and then handed it to a total stranger who was up to the task.

It was sometime after that that Bob and I somehow lost touch. I don't state this as cause-and-effect. I merely note that anytime I see anyone start to nudge a camera in my direction, I just say no. To people who won't take no for an answer, I retell the legend of my day at Yankees' Fan Fest with my (ex-) friend Bob. If they persist, insisting, "No, no, it's simple--a chimp could do it," I suggest they find themselves a chimp.

Anyone who simply refuses to be deterred, in my view, deserves what they get.

Is it nice, finally, to disturb an old guy just fetching in his morning paper? Well, is it nice to make a living lying, defaming, and sowing hatred?

Eh, Bill O?

Envoi: Mike (right) and I wave to Bill O's neighbors with (yes!) loofahs.


I found the $2 million figure in what seemed a credible source, but the point is that by the nature of the payoff, we don't find out how much Bill O's indiscretions cost him--and his employers. Now I'm that it's more like $6.5 million--3.5 mil from our Bill and 3 mil from Mr. Murdoch's coffers. I like it! I say, since the principals don't want to tell us, we make up our own numbers. Do I hear $75 mil?


My man Mike has stopped by and left a comment, in which he adds the news that he has confirmed from the Manhasset police that our Bill indeed summoned them, and they determined that no laws had been broken.

I hope I'm not responsible for blowing Mike's cover, and subjecting him to the eternal vengeance of Bill O, not to mention the evil genius Roger Ailes. The thing is, taking nothing away from how poisonous our Bill's mouth is, I'm thinking more and more that he's all talk. Besides, doesn't he still have to take care of Al Franken first? (Just as a precaution, though, I would suggest that Mike and Al keep a safe distance from one another, so as not to offer our Bill a two-for-one shot.)

I might worry more about Roger Ailes, except that I got the impression from my quick refresher on the Andrea Mackris matter that Fox wasn't any too solidly behind their Bill and kind of left him hanging on his sexual-harassment rope. There really is such a thing as bad publicity, and I hear that Fox takes its anti-sexual-harassment policy seriously. If Fox actually contributed to the settlement money that made the Mackris complaint go bye-bye, I'm guessing it's because old Roger reckoned that (especially if the b---h had tapes!) this was one battle they didn't dare allow to be fought publicly.

Probably Roger also knows that if Bill O tries anything with us, it becomes a story for Keith Olbermann.

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At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: "Little Bill:

" It appears, according to the papers, that while he was on the phone with these women, he was whacking Little Bill (if you get my meaning; DWT is a family-friendly blog), and took pains to make clear when the little fella, er, went happy"

It seems plausible that "Little Bill" is the appendage O'Reilly refers to as the "Humble Correspondent" during his broadcasts. It's likely that the Humble Correspondent never fails to rise to the occasion when O'Reilly screws someone over-- especially when slander, propaganda, or ambush journalism are involved. However, the H.C. especially revels in the Bill's sensationalizing missing white women stories, and his voyeuristic interviews with dominatrixes, and hookers, and strippers, and so on...

Sometimes, when Bill gets especially excited, the H.C. showers O'Reilly with a "Pee-Body" award. But this only happens when O'Reilly's been fantasizing about Al Qaeda blowing up the Coit Tower, or the FBI raiding Air America or some other "payback" scheme while he ogles nasty photos of the hookers, dominatrixes, and missing white women.

And that's what's with his baggy red underwear. The white ones leave too much evidence behind.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Michael Stark said...

I called the cops in Manhasset yesterday... Turns out that Bill did call the cops on us, but they said we hadn't broken any laws...

If we persist, however, we may run up against harassment issues... and leaving the signs behind may have violated some kind of ordnance...

But all's well except that now I'm nervous as can be. I kinda-sorta believe O'Reilly when he says Ailes is capable of bloodying some noses... So... I'm really glad I broke that crack-whore habit...

At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great post and helluva job fucking with o'liely. i read your posts damn near every day. keep up the good work.

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for Tina Fey, then headwriter on Saturday Night Live, promising to recompense the public for the O'Reilly/Machris settlement that mandated that neither party could talk about the case publicly. Seeing that Machris was undoubtedly coerced into this, (she had her own phone tapes of O'Reilly's obscene messages) Tina Fey promised something like: "...but we'll keep talking about it" I've been waiting;I've heard nothing on SNL. I've been a big Tina Fey fan. Now, not so much. --Anon.


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