Editorial: Bill O’ Reilly, Bush, and Bias

Bill O’ Reilly has repeatedly commented that the South Vietnamese did not fight for their freedom. Reilly’s comments and ignorance towards the Vietnamese American public is incomprehensible and insulting. From O’ Reilly’s mouth – “The South Vietnamese didn’t fight for their freedom, which is why they don’t have it today.”

Who is Bill O’ Reilly and why should you care? Here’s a little blurb off O’ Reilly’s homepage.

Whether it is on television or radio, in books, in newspapers, or here on the web, the name Bill O’Reilly is synonymous with hard hitting, uncompromising No Spin reporting and analysis.

For some thirty years Bill has been a working journalist: a writer, news producer and reporter, anchor, and show host. His numerous awards include two Emmy Awards for Excellence In Reporting and two National headliner Awards for his news reporting for the ABC network. O’Reilly was also honored by The National Academy of Arts and Sciences for his reporting and analysis on and after September 11th, 2001.

Currently he’s on “The O’Reilly Factor,” weeknights on Fox News Channel. So O’ Reilly obviously has alot of media clout and consistently branding the South Vietnamese as not willing to fight for freedom will reach a wide audience.

Here’s the facts.

The official number for American service casualties is 58,148 killed during service. An additional 114 were captured and died in captivity.

In the 5 years following the war, veterans attributed for an estimated 9,000 suicides as a direct result of the war.

(Dr. Houk, Oversight on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, 14 July 1988 page 17, Hearing before the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs United States Senate one hundredth Congress second session. Also “Estimating the Number of Suicides Among Vietnam Veterans” (Am J Psychiatry 147, 6 June 1990 pages 772-776)

For a total of about 67,000 Americans.

Now for the South Vietnamese that “didn’t fight for their freedom” as O’ Reilly so eloquently states.

The number for South Vietnamese soldiers killed is 223,748. Two MILLION civilians died in South Vietnam during the war.

Not sure where O’ Reilly is getting his information or if he even bothered to do some research. But 223,748 soldiers do not die by “not fighting for their freedom.” Thats not even considering the millions of civilians who died.

Here’s the transcript from fox’s own site of O’ Reilly’s interview of president Bush.

BUSH: That’s when you’re supposed to vote. You’ve got to stand tough with these terrorists. You cannot allow the terrorists to dictate whether or not a society can be free or not.

Do you remember what happened in Afghanistan (search) when the Taliban (search) pulled the four women off the bus and killed them because they had voter registration cards? I think there had been about 3 million Afghan citizens who had registered at this point in time. A lot of people said: Well, the elections look like they’ve got to be over in Afghanistan, because the Taliban is, too violent to allow the elections to go forward. Today 10 million citizens in that country have registered to vote, forty percent of whom are women, which is a powerful statistic.

O’REILLY: The South Vietnamese didn’t fight for their freedom, which is why they don’t have it today.

BUSH: Yes.

O’ Reilly made a similar comment during his interview with Donald Rumsfeld on Dec 2.

DONALD RUMSFELD: I think so. I think so. Well, I shouldn’t say that. The United States won’t do it, the Iraqi people will.

BILL O’REILLY: Do you really believe the Iraqi people will fight? The South Vietnamese did not fight. Do you think the Iraqi people will fight?

Here’s another quote O’ Reilly made in one of his talking points from April 06, 2004.

So what we have here is a population that doesn’t seem to value democracy. America did all it could, including 55,000 dead to give the South Vietnamese a chance to be free, but the South Vietnamese would not fight. So for the past 30 years, they have lived with the boots of the Communists on their necks. Believe me, I’ve been there. There’s nothing free about Vietnam.

Right. Believe me. Funny. Get the facts straight O’ Reilly.