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Bill O’Reilly Serves Up Justice

COM alum to give keynote at campus fundraiser tonight


For more than a decade, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has ruled the cable airwaves. His controversial nightly show, The O’Reilly Factor, is cable’s highest rated news broadcast, with an average audience of six million viewers. The program is known for its mix of news analysis and investigative reporting and its popular “No Spin Zone” feature, but occasionally O’Reilly sneaks in plugs for charitable causes.

That’s one way O’Reilly’s fan base may have heard of the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to the families of rape victims for travel-related expenses incurred during an attacker’s trial.

The foundation was created in 2003 by the parents of Alexa Branchini, a Boston University student who was assaulted and raped in her BU dormitory bathroom in 1999—just two weeks into her freshman year. Her attacker was caught by the BU Police, convicted, and is serving 40 to 45 years in prison. Beyond the emotional burden of the 16-month trial, the Branchini family endured the financial strains of traveling from their Buffalo, N.Y., home to Boston for each court proceeding. The experience made the Branchinis decide to help other families in similar situations with travel and lodging costs.

Foundation board member Wendy Murphy, who was Alexa’s lawyer and who teaches at New England Law, says O’Reilly has been an unwavering supporter of the organization since she first approached him more than five years ago. His response was simple: “‘That’s a great cause. Sign me up,’” she recalls him saying. “That’s really all there was to it.”

Tonight, in the Metcalf Trustees Ballroom, O’Reilly (COM’75) will address a group of foundation supporters as the keynote speaker for its fourth annual Justice Is Served benefit. VIP ticket holders will have a chance to meet the Fox News star beforehand. The VIP event includes a book signing for O’Reilly’s latest work, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, and a photo opportunity with O’Reilly.

The foundation’s mission aligns with a topic that O’Reilly’s show has frequently covered—sexual violence against children and the at-times inadequate response of the U.S. justice system. Murphy has been a guest on his show several times and says she’s grateful that he has drawn attention to such a critical issue. “He really did bring a consciousness that I think shifted the paradigm of the way people have understood this problem,” Murphy says. “I can’t encapsulate simply how much it’s meant to have him on board with us.”

According to the foundation, 85 percent of the cases where the foundation has provided financial assistance to a victim’s family have resulted in a conviction. That number drops to just 5 percent, the organization notes, when it is not involved.

Murphy says she hopes that because of the foundation’s work, “no one will choose to seek justice based on whether or not they can afford it.”

Tonight’s Justice Is Served benefit for the It Happened to Alexa Foundation is being held in the Metcalf Trustees Ballroom, One Silber Way, starting at 5:30 p.m. with a VIP reception in the adjoining lounge. O’Reilly will deliver his keynote address later that evening.

For more information on the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, or for tickets to the Friday, March 16, benefit, visit the foundation’s website or call 877-77ALEXA.

Leslie Friday, BU Today, Boston University
Leslie Friday

Follow Leslie Friday on Twitter at @lesliefriday.

28 Comments on Bill O’Reilly Serves Up Justice

  • Surprised Student on 03.16.2012 at 7:04 am

    Given Mr. O’Reilly’s highly politicized positions on issues, it is hard to consider him a “fair and balanced” news reporter. Most of the time I believe he is a heartless fool that abuses his First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech and the Press. This cause highlights a different face of Mr. O’Reilly’s character, and makes me review my previous perceptions of him. It is also comforting to see our BU community uniting to seriously address the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. I applaud Mr. O’Reilly and the “It Happened to Alexa Foundation” in their effort to raise awareness, and I wish them the best of luck.

    • Blackflon on 03.16.2012 at 5:43 pm

      Hey, Sparky, O’Reilly is not a “news reporter” He’s an analyst. Big difference.

  • Mo on 03.16.2012 at 9:52 am

    If only “surprised student” were to tune into his show at 8 pm every night, she/he would find he has guests from both sides of the issue on a regular basis which report facts rather than just ‘speculate’ from the ‘left.

    • Cody on 03.16.2012 at 2:27 pm

      Whoa I do watch the show and I’m not conservative nor am I at all liberal but the idea that you would even START to CONSIDER the IDEA of Bill O’Reilly and Fox News being “fair and balanced” says so many humiliating things about your level of intelligence. Especially if you’ve ever watched a full episode.

      Do some Googling. Wikipedia. Here’s a fun dose of antisemitism from the convicted sexual harasser too:


      But of course, Media Matters is part of the liberal media elite.

      • Blackflon on 03.16.2012 at 5:46 pm

        Anti-semitism? That’s a joke, right?
        Convicted sexual harasser? You have evidence?

        Wrong, Media Matters is part of the idiot elite.

        • Cody on 03.17.2012 at 7:42 pm

          Oh shoooot so none of that really happened?

          I guess Wienergate was a figment of our imaginations a few years ago.

          And you’re right. He wasn’t anti-semitic. He just defended it. As a joke.

          C’mon, man, if you directed your passion on a path of justice and truth, the two of us could bear witness and fight the virtuous fight together!

        • Mo on 03.18.2012 at 8:46 pm

          Thank you! :)

          • Mo on 03.18.2012 at 8:47 pm

            That would be to mr blackflon.

    • K on 03.16.2012 at 11:10 pm

      First off, it’s great that O’Reilly is supporting this organization, because I think it’s something that BU needs to recognize and take steps to prevent any such event happening in the future.

      Mo, while you are correct that Bill O’Reilly does have guests from both sides of an issue, I hardly think that the O’Reilly Show is as factual as it claims to be, and neither is it “fair and balanced”. O’Reilly thinks the way to win an argument is to talk loudly and repeatedly about one’s opinion. He frequently talks over his guests and does not give them a fair amount of time to express their views. And if he finds he disagrees with their opinions, he either talks over them or resorts to low blows and cheap shots. His analytical skills are, at best, sub-par and usually worse.

      You’re correct, O’Reilly does not speculate from the left. He does it for the right. Sometimes the show has its merits, but most of the time it’s a waste.

  • Om on 03.16.2012 at 10:39 am

    Mo, I highly recommend watching Outfoxed (http://imdb.com/title/tt0418038/) for a different perspective. In the same way Surprised Student kept an open mind and read this article about someone she doesn’t particularly like or agree with, and finished with a renewed opinion, the film may enlighten you as well. Confirmation bias is strong, but in the pursuit of truth in this information age, would you not agree that looking for ways to prove your beliefs wrong is more constructive and educational than looking for information that confirms what you already believe?

    • Jo on 03.16.2012 at 12:56 pm

      Outfoxed! Please, Robert Greenwald and moveon.org has produced more lies and propaganda than anyone could fathom.
      Give us a break…lol

      • Cody on 03.16.2012 at 4:04 pm

        I don’t disagree, Jo. But check out the movie.

        The raw footage.

        The clips of Cameron with Bush talking about volunteering for his campaign.

        The behind-the-scenes.

        The talking points memos.

        Jeremy Glick.

        You don’t have to take Greenwald’s commentary (I don’t) but the film has a great collection of footage/facts you can see with your EYES and hear with your EARS if you decide to use your senses.

        Something tells me you don’t do that too often though. But I really recommend checking the primary sources themselves.

        Then, if you disagree with the thesis of that documentary…well I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Alaska.

  • allen jackson on 03.16.2012 at 11:25 am

    Out of approximately 150 professors at BU only 4 beside the President of BU decided to suupport the Alexa foundation. 150 letters sent out,4 responses. In my opinion the reason being they don’t like O’Reilly’s “politics” not quite far enough to the left to satisfy the profs. Says volumes whats going on at BU!

    • DJK on 03.16.2012 at 11:48 am

      It is my understanding that some professors officially did not support the event because of Mr. O’Reilly’s presence, but do you know exactly how many? I haven’t heard an exact number from O’Reilly or you. Many of the professors are not on campus this week because it’s Spring Break and they aren’t working. Perhaps many did not respond/support because of that or other reasons.

      Basically, without a specific number, your broad, damning assumption that it’s all down to politics for all 150 invited professors is just as arrogant and ignorant as the professors who chose to politicize the event and openly stated as much.

  • Henry on 03.16.2012 at 11:47 am

    It says a lot that BU refuses to recognize Howard Stern as an alum, yet they love to talk up their O’Reilly affiliation; O’Reilly is as far right as Stern is left, and (in my opinion) at least as offensive. I wish the article focused more on the actual charity (helping rape victims) than it’s arbitrary connection with a former Alum.

  • Overlord of the Freshmen on 03.16.2012 at 12:35 pm

    I hate politics… I wish people would just get over themselves (right and left-winged people alike)! You’re all so full of yourselves that you can’t step back and realize that philosophically, everyone is driven with valid backgrounds. There are no definite rights or wrongs! Only different VALID thought processes.

    Essentially, get off O’Reilly’s back, his news spotlight is supposed to be entertaining…I can guarantee that the producers and he know they’re trying to rile people up because it makes the news more entertaining (save the reporting for the lead anchors who sit behind the desk with the news station’s name on it).

    • Henry on 03.16.2012 at 1:16 pm

      Philosophy is great and all, but you’ll find yourself in a ‘philosophically’ difficult position if you are unable to say that you disagree with a person, let alone that you think they are “wrong”

  • mary on 03.16.2012 at 1:17 pm

    “His controversial nightly show” –
    Leslie Friday, why do you call his show controversial? Do you label any shows on CNN or MSNBC with this term?

  • Cody on 03.16.2012 at 2:29 pm

    I have no political persuasion. Sincerely.

    But the idea that this guy is even on TV is very troubling.

    “And if Al Qaeda 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.”

    -The Most Watched Man in Cable News In The Same Country That Brought You Slavery, Jim Crow, and Citizens United

    • KathyAnn on 03.16.2012 at 4:24 pm

      “no political persuasion.Sincerely”…yea, ok!
      Anyone who hasn’t said anything negative about O’Reilly you have chastised with insults and name calling. Then you use media matters as a source for your information. Do you know who finances them? Sincerity is not your strong point.

      • Cody on 03.17.2012 at 7:36 pm

        Right now I like Ron Paul. But I’ve never voted.

        But wait…so the link from Media Matters is untrue??

        You mean the raw footage from Fox News wasn’t real???

        And the transcript of the court documents weren’t really court documents either??

        I WISH I could dismiss primary sources and raw footage based on the financiers of a website. I don’t have to “agree” with any motives of “Media Matters” to see the clips.

        Would you prefer I get the same videos from an alternative source? Or the documents?

        And yes, I’m afraid I’ve slipped a bit into a bit of name calling. You’re right, I should stop taking cues from my fellow “patriot.” Besides all of the clips I advise you to find of O’Reilly’s fondness for using middle school insults (raw clips from the show without the evil commentary from people with websites, right?) to attack anyone who disagrees with him (even if their dad died on 9/11), isn’t that the dude who has a book with “Pinheads” in the title?

  • PR Genius!! on 03.16.2012 at 7:24 pm

    I think Bill O’Reilly really fits in at Fox news as it really has shown itself to be a very efficient and well run PR machine. It would seem rather silly look to that sort of organization for unbias information.. like complaining about how he runs his show is putting the joke on you, because they know what their doing, and they probably don’t actually hold the views they sell to those who watch it

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2012 at 7:37 pm

    “Tide comes in, tide goes out. You can’t explain that!”
    -Bill O’Reilly (not a scientist)

  • Sam Stone on 03.17.2012 at 8:28 am

    Bill O’Reilly is representative of everything that is wrong with the “news” in this country. There is simply no meida outlet that reports the “truth”. ALL of them have editorial bias, and subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, twist the truth to support their agenda. If you’ve ever worked in the business, you know it can be as simple as the omission of a single word, or even a change in case.

    The “news” media in this country is badly broken as they are driven by “advertising revenue” and print exactly what their readers want to read: their own positions reflected back at them. So, whether it’s Fox News or MSNBC that you’re in to, you’re just another automaton. It’s significantly much harder to filter the truth from a host of media outlets but that, and “deep thought” is exactly what’s required, and what 99% of you do not practice.

    Finally, there is a significant difference between opinion and fact. Most of you allow yourselves to believe that your opinions are facts and leave no room for the possibility that you might be wrong… as you almost certainly are.

  • John on 03.19.2012 at 9:58 pm

    Once one knows that O’Reilly is rabidly pro-Israel and pro-Roman Catholic, one can pick through what he says. I thought he was very biased against the Occupy Wall Street Movement. But I find the show entertaining. When Fox bought the WSJ, things shifted a bit more to the right on his show.
    He supports a number of charities on his show. He is self deprecating and does not take everything SO seriously. Watching PBS, BBC-US, and O’Reilly gives me a spectrum POV.

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