If you haven't been under a rock the last few weeks, or relying on the mainstream media as your sole source of news, you are likely aware of some of the questionable circumstances surrounding the organization Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
A pair of intrepid investigative reporters, James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, with the help of Andrew Breitbart, made it possible for the public to be aware of these practices by ACORN. However, the embattled organization, in a retaliatory maneuver, has filed a suit against O'Keefe, Giles and Breitbart. Breitbart appeared on Fox News Channel's Sept. 24 "The O'Reilly Factor" and responded to the suit.
"So, all I can see is that this lawsuit is an attempt to stifle free speech and the First Amendment and an attempt to make sure that the American people don't see the rest of the tapes and there are more tapes," Breitbart said.
On Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Mara Schiavocampo filed a report based on her interview with video producer James O’Keefe, famous for his recently released video clips which exposed the willingness by a significant number of ACORN employees to give advice on breaking the law to O’Keefe, who posed as a pimp, and his friend Hannah Giles, who posed as an underage prostitute. But Schiavocampo also mentioned some of O’Keefe’s past work, including audio clips of Planned Parenthood employees reacting with indifference to the expression of racist views as O’Keefe posed as a potential donor to the abortion provider who requested that his donation go toward eliminating the birth of black children.
After relating that O'Keefe had gone from producing videos as pranks to targeting Planned Parenthood in what Schiavocampo referred to as "more outrageous political fare – like calling Planned Parenthood to see if they would accept donations to abort black babies," a clip of one such phone call was played:
AUDIO CLIP OF O’KEEFE SPEAKING TO A PLANNED PARENTHOOD EMPLOYEE BY PHONE: There's too many black people in Ohio, so I’m just trying to do my part.
In light of the revelation that ABC News anchor Charles Gibson had not even heard of the recently revealed evidence of corruption by ACORN, comedian and FNC contributor Dennis Miller zinged Gibson as he alluded to the fact that the ABC anchor had famously quizzed Sarah Palin on her knowledge of the Bush doctrine during the 2008 campaign, but himself is now failing the test of keeping abreast of newsworthy current events.
During his regular "Miller Time" appearance on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor on Tuesday, when host O'Reilly brought up the tapes showing ACORN employees giving advice on how to break the law to those they believed to be a pimp and underage prostitute, Miller brought up Gibson's embarrassing lack of knowledge of the scandal. Miller: "Before I go on, did you hear Charlie Gibson today? He had not heard of this at all." After he and O'Reilly both praised Gibson as a good man, Miller continued: "He's got to wake up, though. He's got to pay attention to the story and not put it off on the cables. If he paid attention to this like he accuses Palin of paying attention to the Bush doctrine, he would have known about it."
Referring to ACORN, he later added: "These people have to be brought down. I think these two kids deserve Pulitzers, quite frankly."
Former Clinton operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Thursday’s O’Reilly Factor and received a declaration from Bill O'Reilly that, while obvious, probably wasn’t very welcome: "...You're a Democrat. I'm an Independent." This assertion resulted in no audible or visual protestations from Stephanopoulos.
And although the comment is demonstrably true, one might think that a supposedly independent, neutral journalist would fight back or claim to have put such partisan beliefs aside when he became a journalist. Stephanopoulos didn’t. The This Week host was appearing to discuss Barack Obama’s speech to Congress about health care and how the President has handled the issue.
On Tuesday, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann said Fox News is "serving propaganda to tin foil hatters, conspiracy theorists, paranoids and racists."
On Wednesday, Fox's Bill O'Reilly struck back.
Speaking during his "Pinheads & Patriots" segment during Wednesday's "O'Reilly Factor," the leading voice on cable news once again went after NBC (video and partial transcript embedded below the fold, h/t TVNewser):
On Tuesday, FNC's The O'Reilly Factor hosted FNC analyst Bernard Goldberg as the former CBS News correspondent highlighted a story recently posted on his Web site, BernardGoldberg.com, in which he complains of how little mainstream media attention was given to the fact that former President George W. Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam as part of his service in the Texas Air National Guard, but that he was turned down because other pilots were more experienced, and that CBS News producer Mary Mapes, even though she knew this part of the story before the report aired, did not include this important angle in the infamous piece by Dan Rather that used forged documents to paint Bush as trying to avoid Vietnam War service.
On his Web site, BernardGoldberg.com, Goldberg chastizes Mapes:
Is there a new cable battle brewing between Fox News's Bill O'Reilly and Comedy Central's Jon Stewart?
Such appeared to be the case last week when Stewart on Wednesday's "Daily Show" harshly criticized O'Reilly and FNC for suddenly coming out in support of protesters, and O'Reilly struck back on Thursday's "Factor."
We report, you decide (videos embedded below the fold, Stewart first followed by O'Reilly with a full transcript):
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:
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann disputed a claim by a New York Times article that there exists a truce between FNC and MSNBC as he accused the Times’s Brian Stelter of ignoring Olbermann’s denial that such a truce existed, and contended that the story was a "misinterpretation" of the Countdown host’s own pledge from June 1 to discontinue Bill O’Reilly’s inclusion in the show’s regular "Worst Person in the World" segment because Olbermann blamed O’Reilly for abortion Doctor George Tiller’s assassination.
During Monday’s "Worst Person" segment, Olbermann awarded the third place dishonor to Stelter: "Mr. Stelter asked me at least twice last week if there was such a deal, and I told him on and off the record there was not, and I told him I rather obviously would have to be a party to such a deal, and I told him that not only wasn't I, but I had not even been asked to be by my bosses. And he printed it anyway, and I had even written to him that this was merely a misinterpretation of an announcement I made here on June 1 that because Bill O'Reilly of Fox News had abetted the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, he'd become too serious to joke about..."
Although the ongoing feud between Fox News's Bill O'Reilly and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was apparently good for ratings -- likely more for the latter than the former, of course -- the heads of the parent companies of both networks stepped in recently to end the on-air squabble.
Not only that, but News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch and General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt were apparently coaxed into doing so by PBS's Charlie Rose.
The inside scoop was reported Saturday by the New York Times's Brian Stelter (h/t Bruce Bartlett):
On Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, host Bill O'Reilly cited the Business and Media Institute's recent study finding that broadcast network evening and morning news shows have slanted their coverage of President Obama's health care proposals heavily in the Democratic President's favor, as O'Reilly introduced a segment with FNC analyst and former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg. O'Reilly:
Tonight, we have a number of topics for Mr. Goldberg, beginning with a new study by the Media Research Center, a conservative group out of Virginia. They analyzed more than 200 health care stories on the big three network morning and evening news programs. The Center found 70 percent of the soundbites used in those stories favored President Obama's health care vision – 70 percent.
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly asserted that former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite "had no use for" his successor, and was "bitter about being replaced by [Dan] Rather." Citing an interview from a few years after Rather raplaced Cronkite on the Evening News, O’Reilly recounted that Cronkite expressed his view that Rather "shouldn’t succeed." O’Reilly: "He didn't say it on the record. He said it after the interview was over. He said to me, quote, in Boston, ‘You are really on to something. Dan is not going to succeed – and shouldn't.’"
O’Reilly made his assertion both during the show’s "Talking Points Memo," and again during a discussion with FNC analyst Bernie Goldberg as the two argued that the CBS Evening News and other media took a sharp turn to the left when Dan Rather took over the CBS Evening News – which coincided with Ronald Reagan becoming President and giving liberals the experience of being out of power.
During the show’s "Talking Points Memo," the FNC host recounted:
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor, FNC’s Bill O’Reilly gave attention to the recent dustup between Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and National Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Harry Alford, as O’Reilly hosted Alford to discuss Boxer’s recent attempt to use other black organizations to discredit Alford’s opposition to Cap and Trade during a Senate hearing. While Boxer declined to appear on the show, O’Reilly defended her in his discussion with Alford, arguing that her attacks on black political figures like Justice Clarence Thomas are rooted more in her opposition to their conservative views than by race, while Alford renewed his criticisms of Boxer. Alford:
It was pure race. It was like down there in Mississippi back in the bad old days when one black preacher would rise up against the big boss. He'd go find another black preacher to fight against that black preacher. You know, it was ugly. And she jumped, she opened up a mud pit that I wasn't going to jump into.
While network news anchors such as CBS's Harry Smith are still gooey in love with President Obama, the White House correspondents for the networks are a little tougher on the chief executive, MRC's Tim Graham told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly on his June 23 program. [audio available here]
TIM GRAHAM: I think there's always been a difference between the guys in the White House press room who are trying to nail down the inconsistencies in what Obama is saying, trying to nail down his campaign promises, and the Harry Smiths and the Brian Williamses and the Diane Saywers.
There's really a disconnect, really, between the White House reporters who, for the most part are a little tougher on a daily basis and then the anchors who have been just yeah, beyond the, just [having] that dreamy look.
BILL O'REILLY: I agree with that. The anchors are obviously pro-Obama almost across the board.
As Media Research Center VP for Research and Publications Brent Baker reported two days ago, the roundtable for ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday took up the media’s favoritism toward President Obama. Host George Stephanopoulos marveled at “how obsessed the President and the White House are with Fox News,” prompting columnist George Will to observe that’s because “it’s the discordant note in an otherwise harmonious chorus.”
On Monday's The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly asked FNC senior political analyst Brit Hume if "Obama is handling the dissent that he finds at Fox any differently than other presidents handle dissent?" Hume responded by acknowledging that:
On Wednesday night’s O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly circled around the David Letterman teen-got-knocked-up crack against the Palins, noticing that the Women’s Media Center, founded by uber-feminists Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda, harangued O’Reilly for mocking Helen Thomas for having a voice like the “Wicked Witch of the East,” but made no protest on Palin’s behalf to the Letterman show:
BILL O’REILLY: Now, women's groups. As you know, Sarah Palin and David Letterman. Not one woman's group -- no, NOW said something. I'm sorry. The National Organization for Women said, "Dave." OK. But no protests, no anything like that. But remember when I made fun of Helen Thomas, what happened? Roll the tape.
HELEN THOMAS, JOURNALIST: Do you think that Pakistan and -- are maintaining the safe havens in Afghanistan for these so-called terrorists?
“A new study by the Media Research Center – a conservative group, but an accurate group – indicates that pornographic content is available to kids on YouTube pretty much all the time,” host Bill O’Reilly said.
Amanda Carpenter of the Washington Times, “The Factor’s” regular Internet correspondent, explained some of the study findings. “If you put in a search term like ‘porn,’ into the YouTube site,” she said, “you’ll come up with 330,000 different hits. And, while the Web site says it warns … it bans, excuse me … explicit pornography, there are tons of things out there that resemble, you know, soft-core type of porn, girls stripping, allusions to lesbianism, fetishes. And they say its porn – they advertise it as porn. Other pornographers put links to their own real sites that are pornographic.”
O’Reilly asked about the lack of safeguards that the CMI study uncovered. “So say a 12-year-old wants to see this stuff,” he said. “All they have to do is lie about their age, right?”
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O'Reilly gave attention to threatening tactics from some on the far left, as he focused on the case of a Bishop from the D.C. area who became a target after speaking out against same-sex marriage. O'Reilly began the interview:
For example, if you oppose gay marriage, some far-left people will try to hurt you, as Bishop Harry Jackson is finding out, and the Bishop joins us now from Washington, D.C. Now, since you made the gay marriage issue a centerpiece of your commentary, because you are a traditional guy and you believe in traditional man-woman marriage, what's happened to you?
Actor Jon Voight, who recently spoke critically of President Obama at a Republican fundraiser, appeared on Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor to reiterate his problems with Obama. After recounting that America was "warned" by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during the Democratic primary season that Obama "had no experience" and was a "novice," the conservative actor reminded FNC viewers of the unheeded warnings about Obama's connections to questionable figures like Bill Ayers and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright:
Look, he was a fellow who was associated with all the wrong people. The signs were up. His associations with Bill Ayers, Alinsky, with ACORN, with Pfleger, with Wright. But no one seemed to take the warnings. And his inexperience was quite evident.
As both Noel Sheppard and I reported recently, General Electric boss Jeffrey Immelt faced a tough crowd at GE's annual stockholder's meeting in April.
First, Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli asked if media reports that Immelt had tried to silence anti-Obama reporting on GE-owned networks are true. During her dialogue with Immelt, her microphone was cut off (it was restored after she continued talking anyway).
On Friday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, host Bill O’Reilly interviewed liberal civil rights attorney Bartle Bull about the Justice Department’s recent decision to drop charges against Black Panther members who engaged in voter intimidation in Philadelphia polling place last November. Bull – who worked for both Robert F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter – was an eyewitness to some of the intimidation, and charged that Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision not to pursue the case was "100 percent politically motivated."
Below is a complete transcript of the interview from the Friday, May 29, The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:
Although not at all surprising, the far-left in America are pointing fingers at Fox News personalities – in particular, Bill O’Reilly – for the murder of abortion Dr. George Tiller.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Monday night’s “Countdown” even went so far as to place the blame squarely on FNC’s shoulders stating, “Fox News Channel will never restrain itself from incitement to murder and terrorism…the goal here is to get this blindly irresponsible man [O’Reilly] and his ilk off the air.”
The seemingly untenable position being espoused is since O’Reilly and other FNCers spoke critically of Tiller’s abortionist practices, they were complicit in encouraging alleged assailant Scott Roeder to perform this heinous act.
This raises an important question: as Olbermann and his ilk on MSNBC and throughout the liberal blogosphere routinely referred to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as murderers, would they have been responsible if someone had assassinated either of these former White House members?
The New York Times has so far been relatively sedate in its coverage of the murder of George Tiller, who performed partial birth abortions in his Wichita, Kan., clinic, mostly sticking to facts and pointing out that pro-life activist group Operation Rescue has condemned the killing.
That's a nice bit of weasel-wording in the headline, using "Some Say" instead of the more accurate "Leftist Bloggers Say." The text box read: "The critics of an abortion provider are being criticized themselves." (That's putting it mildly.)
Dr. George R. Tiller had many critics, but arguablythe one with the highest profile was Bill O'Reilly, the Fox News Channel host. Mr. O'Reilly, a vocal opponent of abortion, often called him "Tiller the baby killer" for performing late-term abortions and said repeatedly that he had "blood on his hands."
Michael Calderone over at Politico has the scoop on CNN's fall from grace these days with cable news viewers. Reporting that "since Obama took office, CNN's prime-time audience had dropped sharply," Calderone gives us the grim details of CNN's struggle to keep it's audience.
The upshot of the story seems to be that CNN is being out liberaled by MSNBC. The hard-left programing of MSNBC seems to be drawing viewers away from CNN with CNN finding itself lately in the unfamiliar role of being considered the "centrist" network. This only shows how far left MSNBC truly is.
CNN is also alarmed that its top anchors, Anderson Cooper and Campbell Brown, are floundering in the ratings.
Are the Fox News Channel and MSNBC bad for America?
Such was implied on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday when host Howard Kurtz invited the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik, "USA Today Live's" Lauren Ashburn, and the BBC's Matt Frei on his program to discuss the "increasingly partisan nature of cable news."
By the end of the conversation, Ashburn said "[T]he bottom line is this is not good for society," and Zurawik agreed: "That's absolutely right...The effect on society and on this democracy of this angry, polarizing, bitter kind of putdown conversation is dangerous."
Not surprisingly, Kurtz and his guests didn't include CNN amongst the partisans, with the host making sure to regularly inform his audience that "CNN, by and large, tries to play things down the middle, with liberal and conservative guests taking each other on."
Despite the obvious bashing of competitors while falsely holding his employer up as the model of impartial journalism on cable, the discussion was actually quite interesting (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section begins at 11:44 with commentary to follow):
Appearing on FNC’s O’Reilly Factor Monday, Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham was asked by host Bill O’Reilly: "What, you're a not a left-wing magazine?" Meacham denied any liberal agenda in the magazine: "No, I don't -- We're not a partisan magazine. We're just not." A skeptical O’Reilly replied: "Come on." Meacham defended his assertion: "We're not. We try to be provocative. We try to break news. We try to contribute to the conversation. You can decide whether we do or not."
O’Reilly asked Meacham about the magazine’s liberal leanings after the Newsweek editor argued in favor of investigations of Bush officials over interrogation tactics. O’Reilly also asked for Meacham’s opinion on a recent political cartoon in the New York Times that criticized those interrogation tactics by depicting the Statue of Liberty brandishing a whip, but Meacham refused to comment: "I'm not going to comment on somebody else's editorial decision." In frustration, O’Reilly replied: "You're an American. Forget you're editor of Newsweek, you're an American. You see this thing, what do you think? You think this is fair?"
O’Reilly went on to reference new photos of prisoner abuse about to be released: "Yeah, do you think this is fair? Do you think that's good for the country? Are you looking forward to putting those pictures coming out next week in Newsweek magazine, of abusing the prisoners, you looking forward to doing that?" He later added: "...you won't comment on that -- on that Statue of Liberty with a whip? Come on, you're an American, too. You know, I'm fighting the battle here alone. It's me and the Wall Street Journal, and couple of other guys on Fox, against a juggernaut of media apathy that you're a part of at Newsweek magazine, with all due respect."
As readers here know from Noel Sheppard's report last night, at yesterday's annual GE shareholder meeting, CEO Jeffrey Immelt was challenged on the subject of media bias at GE-owned NBC, CNBC and MSNBC.
The story is far from over.
I encourage those interested in it to watch the O'Reilly Factor tonight for additional in-depth reporting, including the airing at least part of an audio recording of the Q&A session inside the stockholders' meeting made by Tom Borelli and shared with Fox News. (As of this writing, Fox has also made a tiny portion of the tape, the part featuring Fox reporter Jesse Watters asking about about Keith Olbermann's handling of the recent infamous Janeane Garofalo interview, and the shareholders booing when GE cut off Jesse Watters' mike, available on its website now here, and it has been linked to by Drudge.)
Some groups on the left may have it out for anti-tax tea party movement, but according to one of the movement's biggest proponents - it is because they don't understand it from a hierarchical perspective.
Although there are reports that ACORN, The Huffington Post and the Daily Kos wanting to infiltrate the rallies, or crying foul for other reason - Beck, who appeared on Fox News Channel's April 9 "Your World with Neil Cavuto," explained that the left has difficulty understanding it's not a top-down movement, but a bottom-up one.
"It is a fundamental misunderstanding of the left," Beck said. "They don't get it. They think that these tax rallies - because they are so into their ‘.org's and their ACORN movements, where you have to have these coordinators. These are regular people and they are regular people that were hacked off at George W. Bush. They were angry at the spending of the Republicans."