LAT Falsely Attacks FNC's O'Reilly

On Friday (2/4/11), the Los Angeles Times' Patrick Goldstein published a blog post with the title, "Bill O'Reilly on science: Why is Earth the only planet with a moon?"

Well, it would be somewhat noteworthy if O'Reilly actually asked such a question, considering the fact that most people know that several other planets in our solar system have moons. The problem is, as an accompanying video clearly shows, O'Reilly neither said nor implied any such thing.

In a weekly "Backstage Conversation" video for his website, O'Reilly responded to a viewer's question about previous comments the host had made on his television show. In debating the existence of God, O'Reilly had essentially claimed that the existence of so much order, direction, and design on our planet - the phenomena of tides, for example - is a strong case for the existence of God. (This is basically the teleological argument, an argument that may be above Goldstein's grade level.)

In the course of his answer to a presumed atheist from Beverly Hills, Florida, O'Reilly - looking a bit tired, by the way - seemed to ask why Mars and Venus do not have a moon, yet Earth does. Well, while Venus does not have any moons, Mars does indeed have two tiny moons that orbit it. But O'Reilly is correct to imply that Earth is the only planet in our solar system with only one moon. In fact, according to NASA, our moon is quite uncommon in the universe.

Yet, most importantly, by no means did O'Reilly ever say or imply that no other planets have moons. As the bleary-eyed Goldstein wrote, "Here, watch for yourself."

Goldstein's headline and post are simply bogus.

Video transcript:

O'REILLY: David from Beverly Hills, Florida: 'What do you mean when you refer to the tides when you are asked about the existence of God? Science explains the tides ... the moon's gravity pulls on the ocean.'

O.K. How did the moon get there? How did the moon get there? Look. You pinheads who attack me for this, you guys are just desperate. How did the moon get there? How did the sun get there? How did it get there? Can you explain that to me? How come we have that, and Mars doesn't have it? Venus doesn't have it. How come? Why not? How did it get here?

How did that little amoeba get here, crawl out there? How did it do it? C'mon. You have order in this universe, you have an order in the universe. The tide comes in, tide goes out. O.K. Yeah. The moon does it. Fine. How did the moon get there? Who put it there? Did it just happen?

If we have existence, if we have life on Earth, how come they don't have it on the other planets? What, are we just lucky? Some meteor do this? (Explosion sound.) C'mon, I see this stuff. It's desperate. As I've said many times: It takes more faith to not believe, and to think this was all luck - all this human body, the intricacies of it, and everything else, all luck - than it does to believe in a deity.

At the very least, Goldstein and the Times owe Mr. O'Reilly an apology and a correction.

-- Dave Pierre is the author of the book, Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church. Dave is also the creator of TheMediaReport.com and is a contributing writer to NewsBusters.org.