Bill O’Reilly on Westboro Baptist Church: Disrupting the Facts

Bill O’Reilly’s Talking Points: Hating America – 03/30/10

O’Reilly at 1:25 into the clip:

Its obvious they were disturbing the peace by disrupting the funeral. They should have been arrested.

There is a problem with accusing the Westboro Baptist Church of disrupting the funeral. They didn’t disrupt the funeral, as 4th District which reversed the judgment pointed out.

The protest was confined to a public area under supervision and regulation of local law enforcement and did not disrupt the church service.

If the intent of the Westboro Baptist Church was to disrupt the funeral, they failed badly. Albert Snyder, the father of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder who died in Iraq, did not see the signs of the protesters until he saw them on television later that day.

Reporting the church members disrupted the funeral is inaccurate. The lawsuit isn’t even about disrupting the funeral; the lawsuit alleges privacy invasion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. If the Westboro Baptist Church had disrupted the funeral, they probably would have been arrested.

I don’t know which category this misreporting falls under: defamation, libel or slander. I see a potential for news outlets to be sued by Westboro Baptist Church, for the very similar reasons they were being sued by Albert Snyder–intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The church could claim their image has been harmed, by news outlets falsely reporting they were engaged in an illegal activity. Westboro has ammunition to backup the claim because the court has stated they were not disrupting the funeral.

Bill O’Reilly has offered to pay the $16,000 court costs for Albert Snyder to the Westboro Baptist Church. This sad story has the potential to become even more shocking and depressing. If O’Reilly continues to misrepresent the facts, he might end up handing over even more money to the church.

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