Danger to American Journalists

To watch "the memo" click here .

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

We have a powerhouse broadcast for you, controversy in nearly every segment, including an arrest in the disappearance of 7-year-old Danielle Van Dam.

But first, the Talking Points Memo, some personal thoughts about danger to American journalists in the wake of the Daniel Pearl murder.

Before I went to El Salvador in 1981, I talked with some experienced Latin American experts, people who had seen the brutal wars down there for themselves.  I had never been in a war zone before, so I wanted some prep.  And the best advice I got came from a priest, who told me never to show fear in front of anyone with a gun.

Some months before, ABC News correspondent Bill Stewart had been murdered by Nicaraguan soldiers at a checkpoint.  Stewart was shot in the back of the head after his killer had forced him to his knees.

The priest told me that Stewart should have remained standing, because that would have indicated his macho.  But who knows, that thug might have shot him sooner had he defied the order to kneel.

A few months later, I found myself in Buenos Aires in the middle of a riot after the Argentines surrendered to the British in the Falkland Islands war.  An Argentine soldier pointed an automatic weapon at my head from about 20 feet.  I don't know how, but I stood motionless, looked him in the eye, and said, "Periodista -- no dispare, por favor."  That means, "Journalist -- please don't shoot."  He didn't, gracias Dio.

From then on, whenever I traveled into a zone of violence, I made sure I had company.  In Brazil we hired armed guards to venture into the slums of Rio.  In Belfast, a group of us went to the Divis Flats, where the IRA controlled things, but we stayed together.

In Vietnam in the early '90s, we hired former Vietcong soldiers to bodyguard us and paid them well.  In Zambia, Africa, we checked in with the police almost hourly.

Daniel Pearl went out alone.

Now, print is different than TV because we have camera people and sometimes producers, so there's a gang.  But no foreign correspondent should ever go anywhere in a war zone alone.  And all of the Muslim world is currently a war zone.

Foreign reporters are risk takers by nature.  Nobody would even take the job if they didn't like the action.  But today, no American passport will help you, and few countries in the third world can control their criminals.  Even Mexico is a high-risk proposition if you venture out of the tourist areas.

It's obvious we are living in a dangerous time, even though many of us in America feel secure.  But once we leave this country, the rules change, because increasingly, there are no rules, for journalists or anyone else.

Our condolences again to the Pearl family.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." 

Just to show you what we're dealing with here, even if Pakistani authorities catch the killers of Daniel Pearl, they cannot be executed.  Under Muslim law in Pakistan, any follower of Islam cannot be executed for killing a  non-muslim.  Fox News analyst Judge Napolitano uncovered that bit of very ridiculous news.

 — You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com