Bill O'Reilly claims that he rarely uses the phrase "shut up."

Media criticism.
Sept. 19 2008 4:46 PM

Bill O'Reilly's "Shut Up" Revisionism

According to the talk show host, he rarely uses the phrase.

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Remember how you wistfully recalled your father telling you to shut up when you were a boy (Sept. 17, 1999) or the time you asked an atheist Eagle Scout why he didn't "just shut up" about his atheism when asked (Oct. 30, 2002)? Or the times you told "Canadians" (April 16, 2003), "Swedes" (Nov. 20, 2002), "loyal Americans" (Feb. 27, 2003), "spin-meisters" (Nov. 9, 2000), Clinton "partisans" (Feb. 4, 1999), the two political parties (Aug. 15, 2003), gay celebrities (March 21, 2001), and other folks who want to talk about sex to just shut up?

What's your reticence? On Sept. 11, 2007, you started running a regular segment called "Pinheads and Patriots" that "spotlights individuals who are helping the country and those who are harming it." If you're not ashamed of calling people you disagree with pinheads, why be shy about telling them to put a stopper in it?

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A tip of the hat and a "shut up" to Jeff Bercovici, who beat me to the punch on O'Reilly's claim in Time. Send shut up e-mail to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum; in a future article; or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

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