FNC Notes Media Obsessing Over Conservative Protest Origins, But Not Lib Protests
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O'Reilly hosted a discussion with FNC analyst and former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg, as the two pointed out the mainstream media's double standard in "obsessing" over how protesters who have been challenging ObamaCare were organized, but have shown no interest in the organization of protesters by left-wing groups. After O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" addressed the subject, Goldberg observed:
The word "hypocrisy" in your "Talking Points" is the key word. Civil rights demonstrations, anti-war demonstrations, pro-abortion rights demonstrations, environmental demonstrations, I don't remember the media obsessing about who got these people out to the demonstration site, who orchestrated the demonstration, who manufactured, to use another of their words, the anger at the demonstrations. ... But the media only feels an obligation to look behind the curtain at the forces that are orchestrating and manufacturing the demonstrations when it's a conservative demonstration.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, August 6, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
BILL O'REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight. The health care protests, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." As you may know, there is a great debate going on over health care in this country. It's very intense and some Democratic politicians have within harshly treated in town hall meetings. You may have seen the video, but here's another look.
[CLIPS FROM TOWN HALL MEETINGS SHOWN]O'REILLY: Now, the White House believes many of the protesters are organized right-wing zealots. And there's some evidence to back that up. For example, a Web site called Americans for Prosperity actually instructs people on to how to disrupt the health care meetings. How much reach that Web site has is impossible to ascertain.
But here's the hypocrisy. During the Vietnam era, protests against the war were almost always organized by the far left. There was an entire industry devoted to undermining that war. Millions of dollars were spent doing it. Yet, the press had little problem with the anti-war movement. In fact, it was glorified.
Just a few years ago, the Minutemen were shouted down at Columbia University. Certainly that was organized. And then speakers like Ann Coulter have been assaulted by left-wing kooks, throwing pies at her, shouting her down. The radical left Code Pink shows up all over the place in organized protests. The list goes on forever.
"Talking Points" has not justified bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior. I don't like insulting rhetoric at town hall meetings by anyone. People should be able to state their case without personal attacks. And I suggest all Americans bring some measure of civility to the debate.
However, organized protests is not un-American. And the left is now getting a big taste of its own medicine. Again, it's impossible to know what emotions are spontaneous and what are contrived. But if you want to know the truth about health care, the polling tells the tale. Most Americans now believe President Obama's health care vision is not good for them. And all the spin in the world will not disprove that fact. And that's the Memo.
Now for the top story tonight. How is the media covering the intense health care debate? Joining us from North Carolina, Fox News analyst Bernie Goldberg. In virtually every report, CBS Evening News, ABC Evening news, NBC Evening News, CNN, every hard news report in the first paragraph or two, it's well, this could be organized, da, da, da. And I don't remember hearing that about the other protests. Do you?
BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No. And the word "hypocrisy" in your talking points is the key word. Civil rights demonstrations, anti-war demonstrations, pro-abortion rights demonstrations, environmental demonstrations, I don't remember the media obsessing about who got these people out to the demonstration site, who orchestrated the demonstration, who manufactured, to use another of their words, the anger at the demonstrations.
And nor should the media have looked behind that curtain. Americans have every right to demonstrate. Just as the people who go to these town hall meetings do. Nobody's holding a gun to their head. They go because they want to. Nobody's saying if you don't go, we're going to kidnap your kids. But the media only feels an obligation to look behind the curtain at the forces that are orchestrating and manufacturing the demonstrations when it's a conservative demonstration.
O'REILLY: But here's the rub.
GOLDBERG: That is the hypocrisy.
O'REILLY: The town hall meeting's open to everyone. Everybody can show up. So you could have just as many people fervently wanting Obama's health care plan.
O'REILLY: But you don't. They're either not there, not talking. And then when one of these demonstrators gets up there, maybe the person's a professional plant, maybe a far right zealot, who knows? We don't know. But the crowd is with them. So what are you telling me, that everybody who shows up is organized and that there's nobody on the other side showing up? Doesn't make any sense.
GOLDBERG: No, it doesn't. But I want to look at this from a media point of view. And I'm really glad that you use the word hypocrisy, because that's what runs through all of this. Yesterday, somebody in the Obama administration, Linda Douglass, who I know and I think you know, said if you have any fishy, her word, fishy information, misleading information about Obama's health care plan, send it to us at the White House.
Look, I'm not one of those paranoids who thinks that oh yeah, they're going to get the names of the people and then, you know, sick the IRS on them. I'm not saying that. But can you imagine, Bill, can you imagine if somebody in the George W. Bush administration-
O'REILLY: Sure, they would have gone wild.
GOLDBERG: -said if you disagree with the, if somebody disagrees with the President, send us those emails. The New York Times would run a month long page one series. And the stories about the fascistic Bush administration would be under headlines the size of the U.S. bomb Hiroshima.
O'REILLY: No doubt. And it's interesting you mentioned that because in the block after you, the B block after you, we're going to discuss that very thing with Judge Napolitano who says there is a fascistic element to it.
All right, now, so that once again, we know that the reportage in America, we're talking hard news reportage now, isn't fair and balanced. That if it is a left-wing cause, and organized by Internet sites or whatever on the left, that's fine. There's no problem with that. We're not even going to bother to cover it.
But if it is a conservative movement, or organized by the right, then there's something dastardly about it. And I don't think it's any -- that's as clear as it can get.