Both Bill O’Reilly and Joy Behar took to their respective shows to explain their part of the now famous “The View” walkout, wherein Bill O’Reilly as guest said a few things about Muslims and 9/11, followed shortly by Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walking off the set. O’Reilly, according to Mediaite, wasted no time, going straight at the topic on his Talking Points Memo segment of his Fox News program. Behar did the same from her HLN pulpit. (Whoopi Goldberg probably would have as well, but she doesn’t have her own show.) Clearly, the two disagree.
The topic of discussion was the construction of the mosque at New York’s Ground Zero, which Bill O’Reilly said he found “inappropriate.” When asked to explain, he said, “Muslims killed us on 9/11.” Those few words ignited a firestorm of protest from Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar, who wanted O’Reilly to draw a distinction between regular Muslims and the Muslim extremists who carried out the terrorist attacks in 2001. Bill O’Reilly eventually did this, but only after Barbara Walters reasoned with him and after Behar and Goldberg walked out of the interview. The two women of “The View” would eventually come back but only after O’Reilly acknowledged that what he said was somewhat offensive.
But O’Reilly defended himself on “The O’Reilly Factor,” stating that after nine years, Americans realize that there is a difference between “peace-abiding Muslims” and the terrorists that attacked New York and Washington. He supported his position by noting that nobody says that Japanese extremists attacked Pearl Harbor; people simply say that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, understanding that not all Japanese were responsible for the attack on the Hawaiian naval base.
Joy Behar told her audience on HLN’s “The Joy Behar Show” that her walk out came after Bill O’Reilly had a “pinhead moment” on “The View,” using a derogation that O’Reilly himself commonly uses to label those that generally disagree with his conservative ideology. She showed a video clip of O’Reilly’s comments and said that she thought he had said what she would “construe as hate speech.”
In the end, O’Reilly defended his comments as politically incorrect (he doesn’t “sugarcoat,” as he described it) but nothing to get angry about. Joy Behar defended her walk out by labeling O’Reilly’s words as hate speech.
Who was right? Who was wrong? Could they both have been right, judged from their respective perspectives? Could both sides have been wrong? The blogosphere raged as people came down on one side or the other with many noting that, regardless of whether Bill O’Reilly’s words were agreeable or offensive, O’Reilly had every right to say what he did on “The View,” and Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg would have better made their point by remaining seated and continuing with the heated debate rather than walking out.
Even Barbara Walters chastised the two women after they walked off “The View” set.
But if anyone believes that the discussion has ended about political correctness and verbal sensibilities concerning the use of the all-inclusive term “Muslims” as opposed to a more restrictive “Muslim extremists,” that belief would be a bit misguided. In fact, “The View” intends to take on the topic again. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the ABC website of “The View” tracked ten times more traffic than usual after the Bill O’Reilly’s interview and the walkout.
The discussion continues as “The View” faces off for the first time against a like competitor. “The Talk” premieres the same day on CBS.
Besides, the walkout on “The View” was great for ratings. Mediaite reported that “The O’Reilly Factor,” already the #1 news-oriented program on cable television, saw its ratings numbers skyrocket the night of the confrontation. Joy Behar’s numbers were up as well.
The more cynical might be inclined to believe that it was all about the ratings…