'National Review's' Byron York Responds to CNN's Misquote

As NewsBusters reported, CNN, in a recent interview with Sarah Palin, misquoted "The National Review’s" Byron York.  In response, York appeared on the October 22 edition of "The O’Reilly Factor." Host Bill O’Reilly began the interview in charging CNN told him (or his staff) that they will not issue a correction to their misleading question. In addressing Governor Palin's question over which "National Review" correspondent wrote such a scathing attack on her, Mr. York replied "the answer is nobody wrote that."

"The National Review" correspondent also added that "perhaps this CNN thing was a mistake, but it fits in a much larger pattern of that behavior," alluding to the media’s overwhelmingly pro-Obama bias. York exemplified such a corrupt pattern in quoting "The New York Times" editor Bill Keller claiming he puts the most anti-McCain article on the front page whenever the senator complains about bias. Bill O’Reilly concluded the segment opining "I think ideology has now over ridden any kind of journalistic ethics at all."

The transcript follows.

BILL O’REILLY: I said after the first- the third debate that I felt like I was in The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling was standing in the corner. And now CNN, you know, they’ve been okay, NBC News ridiculous. I saw that and then we said to CNN "look, you know, maybe that guy maybe made a mistake, whatever. What are you going to do?" And they basically said "we’re not going to do anything." What do you think?

BYRON YORK: Well, you know, I was pretty surprised about it. I’d heard about it and my first thought was "who at ‘National Review’ wrote something like that?" And the editor said "I think he was talking about you." But, listen, I don’t think that there’s any apology due to me or anything, but it was, as you said, it was Governor Palin who was sandbagged by this whole thing. And when she said, you know, "who wrote that?" Well the answer is nobody wrote that. So I think that it probably would be a good idea for CNN to make some sort of a retraction or correction as far as the question to Governor Palin.

O’REILLY: But here’s the danger. Here’s the danger Byron and you know this as well as anybody. Most of the people watching that interview, and it goes all over the world, they didn’t read your article. They don’t know what you said. And then the guy frames it with "look, conservatives think you’re a moron too Governor. It’s not just we liberals. It’s conservatives think you’re morons too." Not only is that a lie, what he said, but then it puts her in an untenable position. What can she do? She doesn’t know what was said, doesn’t know what you wrote, doesn’t know anything about it. So it, it- you know, with two weeks to go before a presidential election, you have this kind of- I don’t know what to call it- from CNN going out to millions of people. And you’re saying to yourself "there’s something seriously wrong in the United States of America."

YORK: No she had to be, she had to be very very surprised about it. And this is part of a bigger issue. You know, there was a story, a study that came out today by the Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism that said that as far as Barack Obama is concerned, positive stories have outnumbered negative stories, not a huge surprise there. As far as John McCain is concerned, negative stories have outnumbered positive stories three to one. This has been a pretty, pretty amazing season for press coverage. And, you know, perhaps this CNN thing was a mistake, but it fits in a much larger pattern of that behavior.

O’REILLY: It could have been that this reporter just didn’t read the article properly or he was briefed improperly. We’re not going to say that this guy, Griffin, is an evil guy or whatever. But CNN owes it to its audience and owes it to Governor Palin to correct the record. And we gave them all day to do so. And they won’t. That is the crux of the matter that you have now NBC, CNN, "New York Times," and on and on and on. They basically don’t care Byron, fairness, gone, accuracy, gone, honesty, gone. So now what people have to think about is what kind of a democracy, what kind of a republic is this country going to be with a corrupt press? We know Wall Street is corrupt. We know that Congress can’t regulate Wall Street and look where that’s gotten us, okay, into economic chaos. Now we know that beyond a reasonable doubt the American press is corrupt. I’m- I fear for the country Byron. I really do. We were set up to watch the powerful and now nobody’s watching us. There are no restraints on the press and we’re corrupt. We are absolutely corrupt.

YORK: Let me give you an example of one sort of attitude here. You know, over the weekend, "The New York Times" published on the front page, a story about Cindy McCain that was really kind of mean spirited not very newsworthy.

O’REILLY: Nasty.

YORK: Just didn’t have much to it. Go back to early October. Bill Keller, the executive editor of "The New York Times" was in a panel discussion in New York and he was asked what his reaction was when the McCain campaign complained about coverage in "The New York Times." And this is what he said. He said "my first tendency when they do that is to find the toughest McCain story we’ve got and put it on the front page just to show them that they can’t get away with it."It’s- there’s certainly an adversarial relationship here that probably doesn’t help the coverage any.

O’REILLY: Well, I think ideology has now over ridden any kind of journalistic ethics at all. And I think that’s the bottom line here.