Bloggers like Jill Filipovic are quite wrong to make an analogy between O’Reilly’s rhetoric and the shouting of ‘Fire!’ in a croweded theatre. The point about the overused ‘Fire!’ example is that in a crowded theatre there is no time to think: if someone shouts, everyone runs, as there’s no time for debate or reasoned inquiry into the nature of the fire or the truth of the claim. The link between words and actions becomes blurred in this one, exceptionally rare instance.
In contrast, when O’Reilly says stuff on his show, there is every opportunity to question and challenge his claims. TV is not a panicked atmosphere but a media outlet, where the audience hears things, weighs them up, and decides whether to agree or disagree.