WaPo's Wemple: 'Really Disgraceful' That O'Reilly Called Protesters 'Far-Left Loons' and 'Anarchists'

On Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, host Howard Kurtz and guest Erik Wemple of the Washington Post both took exception with FNC's Bill O'Reilly for recently calling some of the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters "far-left loons" and "anarchists." Kurtz noted the contrast in how MSNBC and FNC have responded to the protests:

Keith Olbermann at Current TV and also Ed Schultz at MSNBC playing up these protests, criticizing the coverage or lack thereof. A marked contrast to the way Fox News is treating them. Bill O'Reilly the other night saying that these are "far-left loons" and "anarchists." Well, some of them may be anarchists, but still.

Wemple responded:

I think that the, look, whenever you have, I believe this is pretty much characteristic of left-wing protests. You see the protesters and they have the signs - one justice for movie goers - you know, everyone has their own, so it's easy, it's low-hanging fruit for people like O'Reilly to start making fun of them. I think that's really disgraceful.

When asked by Kurtz why he used the word "disgraceful," he continued:

I think it's disgraceful because, you know, you can always find someone in a crowd of 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 people to mutiliate, I mean, and to mock. And so I think that's really low-hanging fruit and I think it's crazy.

Kurtz soon added:

And it's striking to me that Fox News was so much more sympathetic couple of years ago to the Tea Party - or just two years ago I should say -  and then it was the liberal media that was accused of picking out a few intemperate protesters who had crazy signs or were yelling at Congressmen at those townhall meetings.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, october 9, Reliable Sources on CNN:
 

HOWARD KURTZ: Keith Olbermann at Current TV and also Ed Schultz at MSNBC playing up these protests, criticizing the coverage or lack thereof. A marked contrast to the way Fox News is treating them. Bill O'Reilly the other night saying that these are "far-left loons" and "anarchists." Well, some of them may be anarchists, but still.

ERIK WEMPLE, WASHINGTON POST: Right, I think that the, look, whenever you have, I believe this is pretty much characteristic of left-wing protests. You see the protesters and they have the signs - one justice for movie goers - you know, everyone has their own-

KURTZ: Save the whales, world peace.

WEMPLE: -so it's easy, it's low-hanging fruit for people like O'Reilly to start making fun of them. I think that's really disgraceful. I think that, you know, there is something that prompted this, it's very real-

KURTZ: Why "disgraceful"?

WEMPLE: I think it's disgraceful because, you know, you can always find someone in a crowd of 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 people to mutiliate, I mean, and to mock. And so I think that's really low-hanging fruit and I think it's crazy.

SHARON WAXMAN, THEWRAP.COM: I find it, I actually find it kind of interesting that Fox has taken the position it has because it could just as easily coopt these protesters as a symbol of how Obama is failing. I don't agree that this is a left-wing issue.

These are people that are hurting in an economic, a long swing of the economic pendulum that has, that has really hurt the middle class that the, you know, that we've been reporting about for many, many years. So the right could just as easily adopt these people and embrace them as their own, but instead they sort of look at them as anarchists - anarchists is such a weird word that I'm hearing.

KURTZ: And it's striking to me that Fox News was so much more sympathetic a couple of years ago to the Tea Party - or just two years ago I should say -  and then it was the liberal media that was accused of picking out a few intemperate protesters who had crazy signs or were yelling at Congressmen at those townhall meetings.