At the top of Thursday's O'Reilly Factor on FNC, host Bill O'Reilly cited a NewsBusters video montage of various media figures touting President Obama's "brilliant" handling of the General McChrystal controversy: "[Obama] has a very powerful ally, the American media. After the President fired General McChrystal yesterday, NewsBusters.org put together this montage of press reaction." [Audio available here]
O'Reilly played the video as part of his Talking Points Memo opening the show. After it finished, he joked: "So I guess the firing of McChrystal was a brilliant move." He then noted how "...we could have played that montage with another 30 seconds with different reporters echoing the same theme."
Minutes later, O'Reilly asked radio host Laura Ingraham about the media all singing from the same hymnal: "When you hear the mainstream media, brilliant, it was brilliant, it was brilliant, it was brilliant." Ingraham interjected: "It was hilarious." O'Reilly replied: "Isn't it? I mean, how far down in the tank does the American people – the American media have to go, before the people just say enough." Ingraham concluded: "Well, it shows you Bill, how totally out of touch all these media figures – and that montage, I was screaming in the studio here, it was so funny to hear – but it's so out of touch with the way regular people think."
Ingraham continued: "Most people are saying, okay, what they're doing on the economy isn't working. What they're doing in Afghanistan, we're losing confidence. We love our troops, we want them to win. But we're not getting why this is working. And they're losing confidence across the board in the way this administration is operating. And meanwhile, putting in Petraeus, who obviously is a hero, is 'Oh, well, that's brilliant. That's decisive.'
Later, O'Reilly spoke with liberal Columbia University Professor Marc Lamont Hill about the same topic and declared: "He [Obama] had to do it. But it wasn't brilliant. It was like he had to do it. And these clowns are going 'it was a brilliant move.' What do you think?" Even Hill admitted: "Brilliant was pushing it." O'Reilly grilled Hill on the left-wing media slant: "...you watch these guys in the mainstream media supposed, you know, objective reporters. You know it's a farce." Hill again admitted: "I'll agree the response last night was clearly a left-leaning analysis." O'Reilly later observed: "But traditionally, the media in this country are cynical and they're distrustful of people in power, and they're looking to get you, and then you go on and 'he so brilliant.'"
On Wednesday night, radio host Mark Levin also cited the NewsBusters item on his show and similarly mocked the media reaction.
Here is a full transcript of O'Reilly's June 24 Talking Points Memo:
BILL O'REILLY: The O'Reilly Factor is on. Tonight:
CHIP REID: It sounds like a pretty brilliant decision.
WOLF BLITZER: A very brilliant move.
CHUCK TODD: It's going to be seen as a brilliant choice by the President.
O'REILLY: The mainstream media senses President Obama may be going down so they are propping him up. We will have opinions on that from Laura Ingraham and Marc Lamont Hill.
O'REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight. President Obama on the descent. That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.
As we reported last night, this week is the low point for the Obama administration. And today, a new Wall Street Journal poll confirms what we said yesterday. For the first time in that poll, more Americans think President Obama is doing a bad job than a good job. 48% Disprove, 45% say he's doing okay. But the really bad news for the President is that 62% of Americans now feel the country's heading in the wrong direction. That is the highest number since before the presidential election of 2008.
Talking Points believes it is the chaos factor that is damaging the Obama administration, once again. The economy, shaky. The oil spill, chaos. The Afghan war, not going well. And the border situation is so bad the state of Arizona is now defying the federal government. Add it all up and you are in the chaos zone. No president can survive there. Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon were all done in by the perception they could not control the country. That is where the President is right now. But he has a very powerful ally, the American media. After the President fired General McChrystal yesterday, NewsBusters.org put together this montage of press reaction:
CHIP REID: Sounds like a pretty brilliant decision, really.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: This is nothing less than a stunning development, Brian. And quite frankly, at a quick glance, almost brilliant.
CHUCK TODD: Politically, in this town, it's going to be seen as a brilliant choice by the President.
WOLF BLITZER: A very brilliant move to tap General Petraeus.
DAVID GREGORY: I think he took swift and decisive action. I think that's how it's going to be read.
O'REILLY: So I guess the firing of McChrystal was a brilliant move. By the way, we could have played that montage with another 30 seconds with different reporters echoing the same theme.
Like life, politics is not fair. President Obama didn't cause the oil spill, he did not encourage General McChrystal to make indiscreet comments, he inherited a very bad economy, but has not been able to turn it around. For a guy like the President, who is ultra confident, this must be a frustrating time. His policies simply aren't working. And if the war in Afghanistan and the economy get any worse, he will go the way of Jimmy Carter. Fair-minded Americans bear no malice towards Mr. Obama. Just as President Bush was treated unfairly at times, so has the President been. But the truth is, America is now in the chaos zone. And November is coming up fast. And that's the memo.