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Between the Lines

October 15, 2004

All sex all the time edition

O'Reilly: 'He's going down'

As you've no doubt heard, the mighty bully Bill O'Reilly has been sued by a 33-year-old former employee, Andrea Mackris, who claims he repeatedly made "vile" sexual overtures to her over the "Fair and balanced" Fox network's phones. Looks like she taped them. Oh, Bill.

"Guys like O'Reilly who like to espouse what right-wing Republicans espouse about family values shouldn't be doing stuff like this. The man knows he did it. He finally got it through his thick skull that he did it, and he's not going to get away with it. . . . He's going down." -- Benedict Morelli, lawyer for Andrea Mackris

Fox and O'Reilly have sued Morelli and Mackris, accusing them of extortion (Mackris, needless to say, wants money. Lots of it.) O'Reilly said in an interview that,

"I knew that by filing this lawsuit I was going to perhaps ruin my career. . . . If I have to go down, I'm willing to do it. But I've got to make a stand."

A real hero.

Said Morelli: "That's a very interesting comment to make for a guy who is innocent, isn't it? Mr. Family Values. Mr. No-Spin Zone. Ask him, did he do it?"

O'Reilly's attorney, Ronald Green, would not deny that the sexual conversations had taken place, saying he could not address whether his client "used a particular word or phrase at any time as part of a joke." He said that the lurid, highly detailed "snippets" recounted in Mackris's lawsuit could have been "taken out of context" or "spun for exaggeration," and that O'Reilly "wants to hear the tapes if they exist." Green said he has witnesses who say Mackris told them that she decided to tape O'Reilly when the four-year employee returned to Fox.

Morelli declined to say whether the conversations were taped. In New York, it is illegal to tape a phone conversation without the other party's consent.

Mackris alleged in the suit that when she told O'Reilly in April that he had engaged in similar conduct with other staffers and should be careful, he replied: "If any woman ever breathed a word I'll make her pay so dearly that she'll wish she'd never been born. . . . 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."

There's only one psycho in this tale. And it isn't Mackris.

The indispensible Smoking Gun has Mackris' 22-page complaint here, and these are not exactly "snippets." They're lengthy disquisitions that provide insight, if that's the right word, into O'Reilly's fantasy life. And they're not for the squeamish.

Pathetic, really.

Mary Cheney: so what's the fuss about?

Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne are trying to make much of the little John Kerry said during Debate 3 about the fact that the Cheney's daughter, Mary, is a lesbian.

Here's what Kerry said, in response to a question about whether homosexuality is a "choice":

If you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."

Boy, that's really offensive.

The Cheney's reaction:

Dick: "You saw a man who will do and say anything to get elected. And I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father

Lynne: branded the comment a "cheap and tawdry political trick" after the debate and said of Kerry, "This is not a good man."

The history:

Mary Cheney, the person who presumably would be harmed by all this, has been openly gay for years. Among other things, she used to work in gay and lesbian outreach groups. In addition, Mary is her father's campaign manager, so she is, in the context of a political campaign, a public figure. She and her partner attended the vice presidential debate.

At that debate, where sexual orientation also was briefly discussed, John Edwards said,

"You can't have anything but respect for the fact that they [the Cheneys] are willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her."

Asked is he wished to follow up, Cheney said only, "Let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter."

Kerry wasn't the first to mention the fact that Mary Cheney is gay. Neither was Edwards. Dick Cheney himself brought it up in August, when he parted ways with Bush on the reprehensible proposal to amend the Constitution to prohibit gay marriage. Cheney said the question should be left to the states and added, "Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue that our family is very familiar with." I wrote about it here. So Cheney mentioned his daughter in a political context nearly two months before the Democrats did.

Nor did we hear any complaining from the Cheney clan when Alan Keyes, the GOP loose cannon of the fringe right who's running for U.S. Senate in Illinois, described Mary Cheney as a "selfish hedonist" because she is gay.

If Lynne Cheney was looking for something truly "cheap and tawdry," surely this would qualify. But the Cheneys didn't complain. Instead, the campaign flack just said, "It was inappropriate."

This faux anger is desperation, I'd say. It's time to move on, folks.

Posted by tbrown at 01:05 PM




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