In response to remarks penning him as a communist, UC Berkeley Professor Robert Reich has challenged conservative television pundit Bill O’Reilly to a “man to man” debate Wednesday.
The challenge was prompted by an April 20 episode of the Fox News talk show “The O’Reilly Factor” in which O’Reilly and Fox Business News talk show host Lou Dobbs made claims suggesting Reich was a communist. O’Reilly called him “a guy who secretly adores Karl Marx.”
The claims were based on a Daily Show interview in which Reich argued that public investments in education and infrastructure are necessary to the development of the U.S. economy.
According to the professor’s blog, Reich left O’Reilly a message urging him to debate the matter on O’Reilly’s show. In his blog, Reich rebutted the communist accusations, slamming O’Reilly for misinforming his viewers.
“Ordinarily I don’t bother repeating anything Bill O’Reilly says,” Reich said in his blog. “But this particular whopper is significant because it represents what O’Reilly and Fox News, among others, are doing to the national dialogue. They’re burying it in doo-doo.”
Reich also urged his Facebook followers to “tell (O’Reilly) to man up and debate (him)” via Twitter, using the “#beyondoutrage” hashtag. The hashtag is a reference to the professor’s recently published e-book of the same name.
Reich tweeted at O’Reilly:
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) April 25, 2012
Reich probed O’Reilly several times via Twitter, even asking, “What are you afraid of? I’m 4’10.”
Bill O’Reilly has so far not responded via Twitter.
Damian Ortellado is the lead higher education reporter.