The death threats against South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker following an episode which toyed with the depiction of Prophet Muhammad have clearly hit a chord with a lot of TV personalities. Not only have they driven Anderson Cooper to border on opinion journalism, but they also led to a fairly intriguing O’Reilly Factor segment in which the self-proclaimed first amendment loving host admitted that even he would be afraid to do what the South Park guys did.
It’s an interesting clip as O’Reilly is clearly very impressed with Parker and Stone. He repeatedly calls them “courageous” and, when guest, Ann Hayes, implies that they might not have realized what they were getting into, he’s quick to back them up. Then he puts himself in their shoes and seems surprisingly chilled. However, while he’s self-deprecating, he made a couple of comments that have made some bloggers a little angry.
“I would’ve advised them not to do it. If somebody came to me and said, ‘Look, O’Reilly, I want to do a little satire of Muhammad on the Factor’ I would say I don’t think so. Because the risk is higher than the reward.”
The free speech implications of that statement are a little scary which is something that O’Reilly picks up on instantly. But, unlike the blogger linked above, we see it more as an interestingly honest candid moment from O’Reilly. He may have had problems with some of South Park’s jokes in the past (he was depicted in one episode years ago), but the idea of someone getting death threats for putting their opinions on TV is clearly something O’Reilly takes very seriously.
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