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Bill O'Reilly targets critics of U.S. war
On the Fox News hit list

By Nicole Colson | February 11, 2005 | Page 12

CONSERVATIVE TALK show host Bill O'Reilly is on the attack--against college professors he deems to be "un-American."

Near the top of the list is M. Shahid Alam, a professor of economics at Northeastern University. Alam was attacked by O'Reilly for an essay of his that was published on the CounterPunch Web site in late December.

In it, Alam stated that the September 11 attacks were carried out by those who believe that they are fighting for their freedom against a foreign occupation and control of their lands--like Americans did in the Revolutionary War. Alam went on to argue that attacking the U.S. was a sign of political failure. But the conservatives went ballistic anyway, bombarding him with two weeks of hate mail that included several death threats.

Then, O'Reilly and Fox News came calling for an interview. Alam refused to appear on screen with O'Reilly, knowing the blowhard host's record of shouting down any left-leaning guests who questions him. Fox refused to take Alam up on his offer to answer any questions the network might have in another form.

"I expect he will make all kinds of outlandish accusations that will resonate well with the left- and Muslim-hating members of his audience," Alam wrote as the show was preparing to air.

O'Reilly has a number of other targets on his latest hit list--including University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill. Churchill pointed out in an essay published shortly after September 11 that the U.S. has repeatedly carried out military strikes on civilian targets around the globe--and that it shouldn't be surprising when terrorists do the same.

The strength of Churchill's point was undermined by comments which imply that some of the victims of September 11 were complicit with U.S. imperialist aims. But O'Reilly isn't interested in disentangling what's right and wrong about what Churchill wrote. He is on a campaign to destroy the careers of professors who are critical of U.S. policy.

"Many of these so-called teachers, like Ward Churchill, have tenure, a dastardly con that protects teachers for life," he fumed in a recent column. "They know they can't be fired, so they become little Ayatollahs."

Meanwhile, Churchill was recently "disinvited" from speaking at a panel discussion on "The Limits of Dissent" at Hamilton College in New York--and was forced to resign as head of the ethnic studies department at the University of Colorado. Now, administrators are "reviewing" all of his writings--in order to determine whether he should keep his job.

Statements in support of M. Shahid Alam can be sent to Northeastern University President Richard Freeland via the Internet. Statements in support of Ward Churchill can be e-mailed to University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman at [email protected].

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