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BILL O'REILLY
Jim Cooper  /  AP file
Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly isn't making any friends in the Bay Area.
msnbc.com
updated 11/17/2005 1:08:48 AM ET 2005-11-17T06:08:48

Does Bill O'Reilly have it in for the city by the bay?

San Franciscans have been in an uproar this week over apparent comments by the host of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" that it was A-OK for terrorists to wipe the city off the map.

At issue are comments from O'Reilly's Election Day broadcast on his syndicated Westwood One radio show about a San Francisco ballot measure opposing the presence of military recruiters in city schools.

"Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead," O'Reilly said, according to a transcript and audio posted by liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America, and by the San Francisco Chronicle.

"And if al-Qaida comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead," O'Reilly continued, referring to the 1933 San Francisco landmark that sits atop Telegraph Hill.

Adding to the buzz was the archived version of O'Reilly's Tuesday show, which omitted the incendiary comments, according to Bay Area TV station KNTV.

City officials were not amused. "It sounds like he's on the same medication Rush Limbaugh is addicted to, and he should go see a therapist,'' Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, whose district includes the tower, told the Chronicle.

Neither O'Reilly nor Fox News have yet commented on the dust-up.

'The big digit to the military'?
As for the ballot measure, which urged local high schools and colleges to bar military recruiters from their campuses, it passed with 60 percent of San Franciscans in favor of it.

The radio show was not the only time O'Reilly commented on the ballot proposition. On his Monday night "O'Reilly Factor," he tangled with Angela Alioto, the former president of the city's Board of Supervisors.

"Why should the rest of the country protect your butt, with all due respect, OK, when it comes to the war on terror, if San Francisco is going to thumb your nose and give the big digit to the military? Why should ... why should we protect you from al-Qaida and terrorists if you're going to disrespect the military, by passing this ... even though it's symbolic ... this resolution?" he asked Alioto.

Alioto briefly tripped up O'Reilly during her appearance, pointing out that he had conflated the military-recruitment measure with another measure to ban handguns. That measure also passed, 58 percent to 42 percent.

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