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Shame on Fox News

People are concerned about Bill O’Reilly’s increasingly curious agenda. One person wrote to Accuracy in Media to object to AIM chairman Reed Irvine’s characterization of O’Reilly as “right-leaning.” In fact, we have commented on O’Reilly’s liberal views on the death penalty, global warming and homosexuality. O’Reilly, of course, rejects the label of “conservative.” He is right-leaning at times, left-leaning at other times, and can also be simply offensive, such as when he promoted an HBO program about a Nevada brothel.

“He has been openly supportive of homosexuals,” said this concerned citizen. “He repeatedly claims, without documentation, that there are insufficient straight foster-parents and therefore, homosexuals should be allowed to function as foster parents and adopt children. He repeatedly states, without empirical evidence and contrary to common sense, that homosexuals make good foster and adoptive parents?”

In another case, O’Reilly “exuded sympathy for Alastair Gamble, a former U.S. Army linguist with a specialty in Arabic who was caught red-handed in a homosexual act in the barracks and was discharged. O’Reilly clearly expressed his displeasure with the discharge as Arabic linguists are in short supply. Thus, morals are a secondary issue for him.”

Concern was also expressed about O’Reilly’s opposition to spanking children. He recently told his viewers that children who are spanked are likely to become criminals. Real experts, such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family, note that spanking can be a valuable disciplinary tool if it is administered appropriately.

O’Reilly’s concern for children was not on display when he interviewed Dennis Hof, the owner of the brothel named the “Moonlight Bunny Ranch,” and one of his prostitutes. This followed Gregg Jarrett of Fox News declaring that “We just put the X in Fox,” after he had conducted his own interview with Hof.

The purpose was to plug an HBO program about prostitution in Nevada. Hof told Jarrett this was the first shot in a campaign to legalize prostitution all across America. It’s difficult to ascertain why Fox was promoting a show on a rival network. But, whatever the reason, it certainly gives a lie to the claim that Fox News is “conservative” down the line. This is the kind of story that makes conservatives wince. The network does a good job in offering different political views, but then it spends valuable time promoting the worst in human behavior, and the worst in the media. Jarrett interviewed Hof, the owner of the brothel, as well as Patti Kaplan, the director of the program, Cathouse.

“This is great for your business,” Jarrett said to Hof. He could have been talking either about the HBO show or the publicity that Fox was giving him.

Naturally, Hof defended what he does, saying his “girls” work their way through medical and law school with the money they make. Is it true, Jarrett wanted to know, that one of his “girls,” Sunset Thomas, makes $2,000 a night. Yes, he said, and the same girl has a photo spread in Hustler magazine. This was supposed to be impressive.

Days before Gregg Jarrett’s titillating interview, O’Reilly interviewed Hoff and “Sunset” about their business and the HBO special. O’Reilly’s line of questioning went like this: “I have always felt that selling sex is a lazy way to make a living. Am I wrong?” Lazy? What about the morality of having sex with strangers outside of marriage?

O’Reilly’s beef seemed to be that prostitutes weren’t worth the money, but he was clearly impressed when Sunset said she made $2,000 a night. One of the funniest exchanges came when O’Reilly repeated his charge that prostitution was “a lazy way to make some good money.” Hof replied, “And so is your business.”

A December 7 article in the New York Times by Diane Cardwell highlighted “a growing and alarming phenomenon in New York and other cities: prostitutes who are younger and younger, some as young as 11.” Rhonnie Jaus, chief of the sex crimes bureau at the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, told New York City council members she had been shocked to work on a case involving four girls, ages 11 to 15, who were working for one pimp. “Now several years later, I have many cases involving teenage prostitutes and their pimps, with many more coming down the pike,” she said. “We see girls as young as 12 and 13 being recruited to become prostitutes off our streets, in front of group homes, and even on their way to school.”

Why not highlight this problem, rather than make money for HBO and its “glamorous” prostitutes?

Shame on Fox News.