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Young Bill O’Reilly’s early work foreshadowed ‘obsession with porn’

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, August 26, 2010 21:58 EDT
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Digging through their archives after being tipped off by a blog post, a Massachusetts newspaper has unearthed decades-old writings by Fox News editorial personality Bill O’Reilly that appears to reinforce what one online magazine called a professional “fixation” on the world of adult films.

As it turns out, O’Reilly, who attended grad school at Boston University, contributed his own youthful wit and wisdom to the Boston Phoenix, and a Cambridge publication called Real Paper.

Boston Phoenix, which is still quite alive and kicking, caught wind of O’Reilly’s contributions circa 1974 by way of a blog post about the right-wing commentator’s recent book, “A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity”.

Sure enough, trolling their archives returned a couple gems. One O’Reilly piece is particularly interesting: he sits for a screening of the pornographic film The Devil in Miss Jones, then goes out to eat with the director.

In the printed text, O’Reilly’s typically insistent, prone-to-interruption persona is nowhere to be found. Indeed, he quotes the pornographer at length.

No, he did not think the film was degrading to women. “If anything, I think it degrades men because they are portrayed as just objects used to educate Miss Jones in lustful matters.”

Why did he want to degrade men? “I did it because of what sex films have done to women throughout the years.”

What is the atmosphere on the sets of his films? “I’m glad you asked that. The morals behind the scenes of a sex film are much higher than most of the straight pictures. There’s a good chance you might have to screw somebody to get in a soap commercial for instance. People don’t have to screw to get a part in a screwing film.”

Doesn’t sound like he got his mic cut.

Of particular curiosity is O’Reilly’s confession on page two of the article, that in a separate piece he’d interviewed Linda Lovelace, the starlet from famous adult film Deep Throat.

Damiano’s two famous films Deep Throat and The Devil In Miss Jones were both made for under $25,000 (stars Linda Lovelace and Georgina Spelvin were both paid around $500 for their participation) and have each grossed close to 10 million. Damiano is reluctant to talk about the financial aspect of his business but he does admit to being forced to sell his share of Deep Throat for $15,000. Rumor has it that Damiano and his family were threatened with violence if he did not sell out his share of Throat. Damiano will not directly comment on this saying: “I really don’t want to comment on that because nothing can be served by it. The money is gone. Any of the news that came out about it did not come out through me. I really don’t want to go into it. It can only be uncomfortable.”

“It’s a part of the past,” his wife adds, “we’d like to leave it there.”

The 5’4″ producer will, however, enthusiastically discuss the actual making of Deep Throat. In an interview with Linda Lovelace last November the performer told me that she was an afterthought for the lead in Deep Throat. Damiano denies this: “I was looking for someone to play a sex role in a picture I made called Changed. Linda was originally supposed to make that film with me but when she came to my office with her boyfriend-husband-trainer, whatever he was, and I saw what she could do on film, I decided not to use her in Changes but to write a film around her. I knew she was completely unique.

“Whoa. Whoa. Hold it right there Mr. Family Values,” Boston Phoenix intervenes. “So that’s not one, but two stories in which O’Reilly interviews personalities in the adult film industry. I guess ol’ Bill isn’t lying when he says that he started out doing hard journalism (Zing!)”

The whole situation seems to be made more interesting by O’Reilly’s odd obsession with references to pornography throughout his career. Even on Fox News, the self-labeled “culture warrior” was chided in the media for raging against pornography, but ultimately just showing a lot of adult-oriented footage on his own show.

For instance, this video from The Young Turks, published June 18, 2009:

O’Reilly’s encounter with the star of Deep Throat certainly was not the last time he brushed past an adult starlet.

Here’s an interview from 2007, of O’Reilly interviewing porn star Jenna Jameson.

And then there’s his 1998 book, “Those who Trespass,” which features such classic lines as, “Say baby, put down that pipe and get my pipe up”; “Cunnilingus involves the lips and tongue”; and “I wish I were a lesbian.” Snips from the audiobook are lovingly archived at the Village Voice.

“A brief examination of O’Reilly’s work documents his fixation (and reveals numerous parallels to his alleged recent troubles),” Slate’s Michael Hastings explained in 2004 in an article titled “The No Skin Zone: Bill O’Reilly’s obsession with porn.”

“He began an online column for the Republican National Convention with the line: ‘Covering a political convention is kind of like watching a porn film. … ‘ (That column, dated Aug. 26, happens to coincide with Mackris’ assignment at the convention, also cited in the suit.) On Aug. 2, O’Reilly interviewed Vivid Entertainment performers Sunrise Adams and Savanna Samson about their new book, How to Have a XXX Sex Life. (The complaint alleges that O’Reilly said he was ‘excited’ after interviewing two porn stars ‘on or about’ Aug. 2.) Early in the interview he says, ‘Now, I haven’t seen any of your movies, and I will try to watch one.’”

….

On Jan. 22, 2003, O’Reilly quizzed Diane Sawyer on an ABC report about corporations like AOL Time Warner and GM profiting from porn. He talked about the same subject on Nov. 1, 2002, with Jan LaRue, chief counsel for the conservative group Concerned Women for America. LaRue caught on to his pattern of titillation and damnation; she posted an open letter saying she felt betrayed by the way he used the issue as a setup ‘to attract viewers.’ She also wondered if he knew ‘the depravity of the material these corporations are offering.’

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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