Bill O'Reilly wants you to shut up.

Media criticism.
Aug. 28 2003 6:54 PM

Bill O'Reilly Wants You To Shut Up

Also, Al Franken, Tom Daschle, Jimmy Carter, Rosie O'Donnell, gay people who talk about their sexual orientation, atheist Scouts, peaceniks, both parties …

"Shut up!"
"Shut up!"

Fox News channel talk show host Bill O'Reilly says "shut up" the way other people say "um."

On his daily show, The O'Reilly Factor, he uses it as a place-holder for an idea still formulating in his brain. As a way to begin a sentence, end it, or punctuate it. Sometimes he says "shut up" with fury, eyes bulging. When he's being dismissive, he delivers it offhandedly and without real malice. Other times he says it gently, with a minxlike twinkle in his eye, signaling to all the world that he's just being frisky.

O'Reilly wants specific individuals to shut up, and he names them. He would like all gays and lesbians to zip it—even though he's invited them on his show to talk about … homosexuality. He's even heaved this impolite language at entire nations, demanding they recuse themselves from the international conversation.

In the half-decade his top-rated show has been on the air, he's called for the muzzling of practically everybody. At the rate O'Reilly is going, he'll be the only person allowed to speak in a couple of years. Which, I suppose, is his master plan. Here are excerpts from his show:

Two-for-One Bank Shot
"Already the two parties are blaming each other [about the power blackout]. And I have two words for them—shut up."
—Aug. 15, 2003

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On Location at the Los Angeles Book Fair
[To Al Franken]: "Hey, shut up! You had your 35 minutes! Shut up!"
—June 1, 2003

Where O'Reilly Learned To Say "Shut Up"
"My father didn't tell me anything. My father just said: 'Shut up. Eat your food. There are people starving in Korea,' but he didn't—he didn't offer a lot of career counseling, but he never discouraged me."
—Sept. 17, 1999

No-First-Amendment Zone
"All of these spin-meisters on both sides should just shut up until all the [Florida] votes are counted."
—Nov. 9, 2000

That Means You, Sid Blumenthal
"There is no victory for any American in the impeachment trial. The president should be ashamed of himself, and his partisans should shut up."
—Feb. 4, 1999

Hollywood Sissy
"He has dodged this program, Alec Baldwin has, for years. Bottom line: If you're going to sling it, Alec, then stand up to some fire. If not, shut up and don't be ridiculous."
—Jan. 2, 1999

Bill's Amen Corner
"Anyway, Kelsey Grammar and Robert Duvall were at this dinner, and [they] both said, hey, Dixie Chicks and all—these people should just shut up."
—April 28, 2003

Military Immunity
"I would never tell a general to shut up under any circumstances."
—April 3, 2003

Shut Up for Freedom
"And it is our duty as loyal Americans to shut up once the fighting begins, unless—unless facts prove the operation wrong, as was the case in Vietnam."
—Feb. 27, 2003

To Our Brothers and Sisters in the Great White North
"Canada shouldn't have any say [about the Guantanamo prisoners] at all. I mean, just shut up about it."
—April 16, 2003

To an Anti-War Protester Whose Father Died on 9/11
O'Reilly: "Shut up. Shut up."
Jeremy Glick: "Oh, please don't tell me to shut up."
O'Reilly: "As respect—as respect—in respect for your father, who was a Port Authority worker, a fine American, who got killed unnecessarily by barbarians—" 
Glick: "By radical extremists who were trained by this government—"
O'Reilly: "Out of respect for him—"
Glick: "—not the people of America."
O'Reilly: "—I'm not going to—" 
Glick: "—the people of the ruling class, the small minority." 
O'Reilly: "Cut his mic. I'm not going to dress you down anymore, out of respect for your father. We will be back in a moment with more of The Factor."
Glick: "That means we're done?"
O'Reilly: "We're done."
—Feb. 4, 2003

Presidential Gag Order
"What Jimmy Carter should do is privately give Mr. Bush his opinion and shut up publicly."
—Feb. 18, 2003

Diplomatic Gag Order
"But if the Bush administration wants to attack al-Qaida in Yemen, the Swedes should shut up, because basically it's our people who are dead, they killed our people, and we have to run them down."
—Nov. 20, 2002

He Even Talks Like This to Colleagues
"I'm going to give you a plug, so shut up for a minute, Dick [Morris]. Here we go. You've got the State of the Union address coming up."
—Jan. 27, 2000

Don't Tell Me To Shut Up!
"You're going to say, 'Shut up, O'Reilly! You—you're a sadist with your guests all the time!' "
—Nov. 21, 2002

Special Guest Invective by Sitcom Star ALF
ALF [to O'Reilly]: "They've got a talking Bill O'Reilly doll. It's only $19.95, but it's $50 worth of batteries. The thing doesn't shut up."
—June 25, 2002

Enough To Make O'Reilly Shut Up
"If Congress would pass that [air safety] bill, then I would shut up for a little while."
—Nov. 13, 2001

And He Wonders Why Daschle Won't Appear
"Believe me when I tell you The Factor goes out of its way to get Democrats on this broadcast. But Daschle has been and remains too frightened to appear. So with all due respect, senator, shut up."
—May 17, 2002

O'Reilly Delegates Authority to Sen. Evan Bayh
"If you see [Sen. Tom Daschle] for me, senator, tell him to shut up. For me. You can be nice."
—March 17, 2003

Scout's Honor
[To an atheist Eagle Scout, Darrell Lambert]: "I want to quote this—'On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and to my country and obey Scout law,' on and on and on and on. I mean, God's in the first 10 words. So why did you have to tell them you were an atheist if you didn't have any trouble reading the oath? Why didn't you just shut up?"
—Oct. 30, 2002

Welcome to My Show To Talk About Sex. Now, Please Put a Cork in It.
"My thesis, you may know, is that nobody should ever talk about their sexuality in any—in any regard ever. You should not define yourself that way. It just makes life a lot rougher. So, therefore, I would probably say, if you're a gay celebrity, shut up."
—March 21, 2001

"I am in favor of having equal treatment for everyone. But I'm also in favor of having everybody in the military shut up about their sexuality. All right. Not discuss it, it's not germane. It's irrelevant."
—Dec. 20, 2000

"You can do whatever you want. Just shut up about it. Little kids don't need to know whether you're homosexual, heterosexual, a cross-dresser, whatever. Don't discuss it. That's reasonable."
—Sept. 28, 2000

"I don't want the Scout master to tell my boys if he's gay, if he's straight, if he's a bigamist, if he's anything. I don't think that has any place in Scouting, so therefore I don't think the Scouts are wrong in saying shut up. We just don't want to hear about this."
—Aug. 29, 2000

"Why didn't you just—why—why didn't you just not say anything? This—I never can get this for you guys, and I—and I don't mean to be arrogant or anything like—I just don't get it. Just shut up about it. Who cares what you do? That's what the Air Force is asking you to do. Shut up."
—June 8, 2000

"If I were Rosie O'Donnell and I didn't want to get married, I'd shut up. The same thing with Madonna. Have the kids if you—you know, obviously, they have money. They can support the kids. But I'd shut up."
—Dec. 14, 1999

"I'm asking you to shut up about sex."
—Sept. 23, 2002

O'Reilly: "I don't go running around telling everybody about my sex life, and I don't think you do either, do you?"
Hugh Downs: "No, you don't have to—"
O'Reilly: "So just shut up about it."
—July 2, 2001

Shut Up, Pinhead!
To Mike McGough of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial page, who accuses O'Reilly of exploiting a murder victim's sister who appeared on O'Reilly's show:

"Hey, Mike, shut up. I resent the fact that you said that we exploited this woman. We gave this woman a voice. That's something that you and your stupid newspaper would never do, you pinhead. You would never do that. "
—Nov. 13, 2002

A Viewer Protests the Treatment of McGough
"Paula Evans, Winston-Salem, N.C. [writes]: 'Bill, if you are so concerned about public figures being bad role models for children, please stop interrupting your guests and telling them to shut up!' "

"Well, the 'shut up' line has happened only once in six years, Ms. Evans, and that's because the editor from Pittsburgh was filibustering, after accusing me of exploiting the families of the murder victims. The no-spin zone is a tough place, and lies and unreasonable discourse will be stopped in their tracks."
—Nov. 15, 2002

******

Shut up! Don't send me any e-mail at pressbox@hotmail.com.

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.

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