Update: Bill O'Reilly attacks Colorado over Jessica's Law -- but not over pot
Update: Yesterday, we talked with KNUS yakker Peter Boyles, who said he'd been contacted by a producer for Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly about appearing on a Wednesday night broadcast about Colorado -- but when Boyles said he favored pot legalization, the producer became markedly less enthusiastic and later hung up on the host. (See our previous coverage below.) So...what actually aired last night? We watched so you didn't have to, and both Colorado and pot appeared -- but not together.
The Fox News producer initially felt Boyles out on the topic of Jessica's Law, an O'Reilly cause that calls for long mandatory-minimum sentences for anyone convicted of molesting a child age twelve or under. And indeed, Colorado and Jessica's Law were paired in a segment called "Did You See That?"
Rather than quizzing someone on the ground in our fair state, O'Reilly chatted with Fox News' Martha MacCallum, who said that Colorado is one of just five states that hasn't passed Jessica's Law, and an ongoing attempt by Republican legislators to do so is doomed, since Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino has sent it to the so-called "kill committee" -- Veterans and Military Affairs -- so that his fellow Democrats can crush it. O'Reilly expressed exasperation, maintaining that Colorado has a record of giving sex assaulters shockingly inadequate sentences -- as low as two years, he claimed, without offering an example. Along the way, photos of the Dems on the Veterans and Military Affairs committee members were flashed on the screen, so Fox News viewers could look upon them with enmity.
Then, in a segue with all the subtlety of a tsunami, O'Reilly and MacCallum chuckled about packs of Chihuahuas reportedly creating havoc in an Arizona town. From child molestation to cute dog story in two seconds or less.
When it came to pot, however, Colorado was left on the sidelines. Instead, O'Reilly interviewed Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen, who's introduced legislation calling on the federal government to study the effects of marijuana, among other things. To say O'Reilly didn't offer his personal endorsement is an understatement.
Here's our previous coverage.
Original post, 11:46 a.m. February 26: Bill O'Reilly is known for trumpeting his willingness to engage anyone, anytime on the field of intellectual combat. But is he really more interested in chatting with people who simply reinforce his views, thereby turning alleged debates into echo chambers? No surprise that KNUS talk-show host Peter Boyles has an opinion about that -- one based what he characterizes as on a retracted invitation to appear on O'Reilly's show tonight, when the Fox News star may or may not be launching an attack on Colorado's marijuana laws.
Yesterday, according to Boyles, Casey Bloyer, his producer, was contacted by someone who identified himself as an O'Reilly producer. The reason for the call: O'Reilly planned to highlight Colorado on the February 26 broadcast of his signature O'Reilly Factor program and was interested in having Boyles weigh in.
When Boyles got on the line, he says the producer "started talking about how Mr. O'Reilly was concerned that Colorado doesn't have a Jessica's Law," which sets hefty mandatory-minimum sentences for assorted sex crimes against victims under twelve -- one of O'Reilly's favorite causes. "But then he started talking about the legalization of marijuana and what I thought about it.
A Peter Boyles graphic introducing him to the KNUS audience.
"I told him that even though I've got 29 years of sobriety, I voted to legalize it," Boyles goes on. "I went through the whole thing about the rise of [alcohol] prohibition and the rise of the gangs, and then I talked about the gangs today, and how they're the exact model of prohibition-era gangs, except even more brutal. And I said I thought marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol. For me, my gateway drug was alcohol."
After sharing these views, the producer suddenly "started talking about how they were thinking about doing another segment next week," notes Boyles, who quickly read between the lines. "I said to him, 'Have the balls to tell me I'm not going to be on the show now because I don't agree with Bill O'Reilly about marijuana.'"
Instead, the producer tried to turn the conversation back to a segment for next week. That didn't go over well with Boyles: "I said, 'Don't hand me that bullshit. You tell that fake Irishman...' and that was about as far as I got when he clicked off."
Boyles' conclusion? "My contention is that he wants an ass-kisser and a lap-sitter. In other words, we tolerate no dissent. Which is exactly what they accuse the mainstream media of doing."
No telling if O'Reilly's program this evening will feature Colorado -- or if his guests will include someone who'll dutifully attack marijuana legalization. The curious will have to tune in to find out.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Follow That Story archive circa December 2011: "Tim Tebow and Fox News: Bill O'Reilly, Steve Doocy fighting 'War on Tebow'?"
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.