| Opinionated Fox News host Bill
O'Reilly has once again stepped beyond the role of journalist to activist. Yet
watching his show, one has to ask if O'Reilly is violating his own rules.
O'Reilly has criticized activist judges, judges who legislate from the bench,
yet that may be what O'Reilly is doing himself.
O'Reilly is upset that Canada granting asylum to the
two US Army deserters, and has called for a boycott of Canada as a response. On
his personal website, http://www.billoreilly.com, a poll asks "Will you boycott
Canadian goods and services if that country grants asylum to the two US Army
deserters?" The poll is still open and no results are available yet.
This is not the first activist boycott sponsored by
O'Reilly. In August 2002, O'Reilly sponsored a boycott against Pepsi (see
using rapper Ludacris, who is known for his vulgar language, in Pepsi ads.
O'Reilly contended that Pepsi was sending a bad message American youth by
glorifying the messages in the lyrics. O'Reilly's Pepsi boycott was successful
and Pepsi dropped the ads.
One viewer letter read by
O'Reilly on his Fox News show charged O'Reilly with conducting an illegal
boycott. O'Reilly dismissed the charges but for the wrong reasons. There are
only two types of illegal boycotts in the United States, and the O'Reilly
boycott of Canada does not fit either category. First, unions may not boycott
companies in order to force them to accept a union, and that is obviously not
the case here. Second, it is illegal to join into a foreign government
sanctioned boycott of a nation that is friendly to the United States. That too
is not the case here because this is not a boycott promoted by any nation - it
is Bill O'Reilly's boycott.
Boycott Watch asks the
question: Is O'Reilly calling for boycotts equal to judges legislating from the
bench, which O'Reilly regularly criticizes? Should reporters who claim to be
fair and balanced while working under the mantra "We report, You Decide"
sponsor any political or social boycott actions? You decide.