Bill O'Reilly Hammers Howard Kurtz for Being Too Soft on Benghazi Bias: 'I'm Surprised at You!'

On Wednesday night’s O’Reilly Factor, Howard Kurtz conceded the media are kind of allergic to covering Benghazi. But he would not agree that this “allergy” is about protecting Barack Obama. O’Reilly ticked off the media avoidance: no Benghazi e-mails coverage in the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal. “The Washington Post ran the story on page 17. Only USA Today was honest and responsible, putting the Benghazi email story on the front page.”

He added: “The network news last night didn't cover the Benghazi story. MSNBC, didn't cover it. Nor did CNN in primetime. And this morning, only the CBS Morning News [sic] mentioned the Benghazi story. That's a scandal. A scandal. That is proof the American press is dishonest. Period.” He couldn’t believe Kurtz didn’t find it political: 

HOWARD KURTZ: Most of the media, Bill, are suffering from Benghazi allergy syndrome. There's a knee-jerk reaction that this story is old, it's complicated, it's settled, the country has moved on. And there's one more thing, and you got some of this backlash when you interviewed the President about this, the sense that "Oh, it's a Fox News story, therefore it must be hyped."

O'REILLY: But now we know it isn't. Now we know that the White House mislead on purpose for political reasons in a presidential campaign. So, all of that baloney goes to the wayside and now they have to, if they're honest, saying, "Yeah, this is a big story." It's a big story.

KURTZ: Well, it's a significant story. In some ways it's an incremental advance on what we already knew. That the White House was spinning in an election year to try to minimize the fallout from the Benghazi attacks and leading to the misleading Susan Rice talking points on those Sunday morning shows. But even if you think it's not that big a deal, then cover it, analyze it, put it in context. Don't black it out.

O'REILLY: Alright. So I'm right what I'm saying, the reason they're blacking it out is to protect President Obama?

KURTZ: No, I don't agree with that part.

O'REILLY: Why not?

KURTZ: I think the press is bored by the story, is more interested in Donald Sterling, is more interested in Clive Bundy, and feels like this is an old story.

O'REILLY: A17 – A17 in the Washington Post? You used to work there.

KURTZ: Better than nothing at all in the New York Times, I'll tell you that.

O'REILLY: It's embarrassing.

O'Reilly got really animated about how CNN is ignoring it:

O'REILLY: I'm surprised at you. You worked for the Washington Post. You worked for CNN. You know how much air time all of CNN has, okay. You know how much air time they have in the morning, two hour blocks. They did not run this story because it reflects poorly on Barack Obama. That's the fact. You should know it and you should say it.

KURTZ: Listen, you understand, first of all, that the press doesn't always cover the most important stories.

O'REILLY: No, I don't understand that.

KURTZ: I am not defending that.

O'REILLY: I've been doing this 37 years, alright? They cover, most of them, the stories that are big. This is big.

KURTZ: This is big. CNN did have a debate on it on the morning show, but not enough. And here's my point.

O'REILLY: They didn't cover it last night. They didn't cover it last night. Not one second in four hours of primetime did they devote to it.

KURTZ: I am not going to defend that, I can't understand it, but President Obama has been getting lots of a lousy press from the mainstream media about foreign policy...

O'REILLY: It's incremental, little, it's not this.

KURTZ: ...Maureen Dowd slammed him today, David Brooks questioned his manhood.

O'REILLY: This is a scandal.

KURTZ: It's a scandal.

O'REILLY: Alright, this isn't incompetent policy.

KURTZ: But it's a scandal that has been going on for more than a year and a half-

O'REILLY: Yeah, and they did no – do anything about – did you hear Sharyl Attkisson on this program?

KURTZ: Yes, I talked to her as well.

O'REILLY: When she tried to investigate it, what happened to her?

KURTZ: Well, CBS didn't run the story and she quit.

O'REILLY: Yeah, they spiked it. And she quit. They spiked it. And you're telling me that they're not protecting Barack Obama? Are you telling me that?

KURTZ: What I'm telling you is the press is falling down on the job in this case because it is a story that has been kicking around for a long time and this did not crack it open. You think it's-

O'REILLY: Oh, it cracked it open. You got a guy like Ben Rhodes writing a memo like that and then you have Obama sitting with me when he could have said, "You know what? We handled that wrong."

KURTZ: The one thing we agree on, Bill, is that this is news and should have gotten more coverage.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis