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Liberal bloggers point finger at Bill O'Reilly in George Tiller's death [Updated]

It's no secret that Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly was instrumental in publicizing the activities of George Tiller, the 67-year-old Kansas doctor who was one of the few physicians in the country to perform late-term abortions in the face of protests, bombings at Tiller's clinic and death threats.

Tiller was slain over the weekend, as he stood in his church in Wichita, Kan., serving as an usher. President Obama decried the killing, saying, "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence." Scott Roeder, an anti-abortion activist and former member of a right-wing militia group, has been arrested.

Now, liberal bloggers are speculating that what one called O'Reilly's "jihad against Tiller" may have contributed to the doctor's death.

"There's no other person who bears as much responsibility for the characterization of Tiller as a savage on the loose," said Salon.com's Gabriel Winant. Tiller has been vilified in 29 episodes of O'Reilly's "The Factor," Winant reports, usually described as "Tiller the Baby Killer" and often as a doctor who "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000."

On March 15, 2006, O'Reilly said Tiller was the moral equivalent of Al Qaeda. On Nov. 9, 2006, he likened the physician who gave women legal abortions to China's Mao, Germany's Hitler or the Soviet Union's Stalin. And on Dec. 12, 2006, he unleashed all his hatred in this episode. See what you think.


For the most part, both pro-choice and antiabortion groups of the mainstream variety were careful to condemn Tiller's slaying.

But Operation Rescue, which ran a Tiller Watch on its website, called Tiller "a mass murderer." In a statement, the group's founder, Randall Terry, said, “We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God.”

Maybe, as MSNBC's political team suggested this morning, the culture wars are about to return big time.

Corrected, 7:25 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said that the right-wing blogosphere was defending O'Reilly by blaming the Obama administration, and quoted John Aravosis, who blogs for AmericaBlog.com, as noting that the White House withdrew a domestic terrorism report that warned of abortion protest violence. AmericaBlog is a liberal outlet, and its sarcastic post took us in. We apologize for mislabeling AmericaBlog and for misunderstanding Aravosis' intent.

-- Johanna Neuman

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The blame goes to the person that actually committed the crime, and no further, whether you're pro-choice or pro-life. Interesting that the pro-life movement has been relabeled anti-abortion. Not truly understanding why this change is being made, other than to slant an agenda.

John Aravosis is not a right-wing blogger. His criticism of Obama is not a right-wing complaint. Please correct.

Bottom line; Tiller was a killer. You live by the “sword” you die by the “sword.”

I have no sympathy for money grubbing doctors acting like they are doing something good for people (women) but they are no better than a televangelist ripping off widows and orphans for their last cent!

You “Pro choice/death” people are such hypocrites - never seeing the forest because of the tree of your selfishness. Why don’t you shed a tear for the children torn to shreds by this man’s seared conscience?

Sonia Sotomayor Simply Judge Her Words And Deeds

Before Sotomayor's confirmation hearings begin, the Supreme Court probably will overturn a ruling she supported on the 2nd Circuit — the propriety of New Haven, Conn., canceling fire department promotions because there were no African-Americans (although there was a Hispanic) among the 18 firemen the selection test made eligible for promotion. A three-judge panel of 2nd Circuit judges, including Sotomayor, affirmed a district court's dismissal of the firemen's complaint, doing so in a perfunctory and unpublished order that acknowledged none of the large constitutional questions involved.
Stuart Taylor of the National Journal calls this "a process so peculiar as to fan suspicions that some or all of the judges were embarrassed by the ugliness of the actions that they were blessing and were trying to sweep the case quietly under the rug, perhaps to avoid Supreme Court review or public criticism, or both." Taylor says that when "the circuit's more conservative judges got wind of the case," they sought to have it reheard by the full 2nd Circuit. They failed but successfully argued that the Supreme Court should take the case.

Taylor has also noted this from a Sotomayor speech to a Hispanic group: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion (as a judge) than a white male who hasn't lived that life." Says Taylor, "Imagine the reaction if someone had unearthed in 2005 a speech in which then-Judge Samuel Alito had asserted, for example: 'I would hope that a white male with the richness of his traditional American values would reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn't lived that life' — and had proceeded to speak of 'inherent physiological or cultural differences.'"

Such a perspective on race based decision making is not the sort of Change we had hoped would come from candidate Obama.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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