Two notes on Bill O'Reilly controversies today. First, Brian Maloney at the Radio Equalizer blog reports a forthcoming operatic work on the Andrea Mackris complaint of sexual harassment against O'Reilly, "an oratorio for 31-piece chamber orchestra, 32-voice chorus and three soloists." It debuts in Seattle, where Christmas trees are controversial, but not this?
On Monday's Countdown during the show's regular "Oddball" segment, while reporting on the controversial decision of the Seattle-Tacoma Airport to remove its Christmas trees from public view rather than display a Menorah, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann mocked FNC host Bill O'Reilly by jokingly suggesting that O'Reilly supports a "war against Hanukkah." Olbermann, who since last year has mocked O'Reilly and other FNC hosts, once calling them "fat heads," for their concerns about a "War on Christmas" by secularists, jokingly commented, referring to Bill O'Reilly disparagingly as "Billow": "Generalissimo O'Reilly remains upbeat. Look not on this as a defeat in the war on Christmas. This was a dramatic victory in Billow's new war against Hanukkah." Ironically, less than 20 minutes earlier on The O'Reilly Factor, host O'Reilly had spoken approvingly of displaying a Menorah at the airport as he interviewed the rabbi who had requested it. The FNC host was quite sympathetic to the rabbi's viewpoint as he lambasted the airport's decision not to allow a Menorah display. O'Reilly: "There is no reason not to put up a Menorah in the Sea-Tac Airport because Hanukkah is a celebrated holiday, and, you know, Americans of Jewish faith would like to see it, and it's in context, so put it up." (Transcripts follow)
Outspoken author Mark Steyn was Bill O’Reilly’s guest on Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor” Thursday, and he slammed the Associated Press as being “semi-treasonous,” a “disgraceful organization” that is “colluding with the enemy and demoralizing America on the home front.” After some introductory pleasantries, Steyn let loose (video available here):
I believe that the majority of American newspapers which is full of Associated Press content on the central issue of our time they are either dupes at best or actually semi-treasonous and colluding with the enemy and demoralizing America on the home front, including having agents of the enemy on their payroll. This is a disgraceful organization.
Make yourselves comfortable, for Steyn was just getting warmed up:
You know you're liberal if even a liberal media watchdog group calls you liberal -- that is, unless you're MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. While Olbermann denies displaying a liberal bias on his show, once describing himself politically as "correct" and "neutral," media analyst Paul Waldman of the far left Media Matters for America, a frequent source of material for Olbermann, sees it differently. On Tuesday's Scarborough Country on MSNBC, during a discussion of whether there is a "vast left-wing conspiracy" against Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, Waldman proclaimed that Olbermann's show is the "only liberal show" on cable news. Below is a complete transcript of Waldman's comment from the December 5 Scarborough Country:
On Friday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann attacked FNC's Bill O'Reilly, calling him a "holy you-know-what liar" because O'Reilly recently bragged that he had voiced the need for tough martial law early on to keep order in Iraq. During recent comments on The Radio Factor, O'Reilly misstated the date of his prediction as "the night that Saddam's statue fell" when, in fact, it was a mere two nights later (April 11, 2003, instead of April 9), still in the recent aftermath. Olbermann, likely inspired by an article from one of his regular sources in the form of the far-left Media Matters for America, seized on the date mixup to accuse O'Reilly, whom he referred to gratuitously as "Billow" and "Bill Orally," of being a "liar," and tagged the FNC host "Worst Person in the World." (Transcripts follow)
Thanks to former President Clinton and victories in the recent midterm elections, Democrats are now launching a full out attack on Fox News, the only television news outlet that holds them accountable. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) appeared on Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor to explain his recent attack on Fox News and once again lashed out on Bill O’Reilly when he issued him challenging questions. O’Reilly asked Congressman Frank what his position is on income redistribution.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): "Bill, will you please stop interrupting if you want a serious discussion?"
Bill O’Reilly: "No. I'm not going to interrupt. When you say something dopey, I'm going point it out. What do you think you are, the czar of the interview?"
On Thursday's O'Reilly Factor on FNC, Bill O'Reilly raised, with former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg and Fox Newswatch panelist Jane Hall, “all the softball interviews of Nancy Pelosi” which aired Wednesday night and that a NewsBusters item summarized. O'Reilly cautioned that “I'm not saying you should go after her throat, but surely when you have the person second in line for the presidency and she's the most liberal Speaker of the House in the history of the country, surely you might want to get into a little bit about how she formed her point of view -- or am I crazy?" Goldberg assured O'Reilly, "no, you're not crazy,” and proposed: “Do you think Newt Gingrich would have gotten the same treatment as Nancy Pelosi got? Look, I mean, the bias is never blatant, but they like Nancy Pelosi, they like the fact the Democrats won and she's a woman, the first woman who's going to be Speaker of the House, so they treat her with a certain respect, which they should, that they wouldn't treat a conservative Republican."
Indeed, as the MRC documented back in 1994, the mainstream media greeted Gingrich's victory with hostility. Days before the election, CBS's Eric Engberg treated as newsworthy how the “bombastic and ruthless” Gingrich “was attacked for McCarthyism" and has “a record filled with contradictions: the family values candidate who divorced his ailing first wife, the avowed enemy of dirty politics who bounced 22 checks at the House Bank...” Time magazine snidely declared: "His ideas, which don't often come to grips with the particulars of policymaking, may be less important than his signature mood of righteous belligerence." ABC's Sam Donaldson confronted Gingrich: "A lot of people are afraid of you, they think you're a bomb thrower. Worse, you're an intolerant bigot.”
In an eye-opening exchange on The O'Reilly Factor this evening (Monday, October 30, 2006), liberal Fox News analyst Juan Williams agreed with host Bill O'Reilly that CNN "is in the tank for the Democrats." The topic of the segment was Friday's testy exchange between Lynne Cheney and CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
O'REILLY: ... But the bigger picture is that Lynne Cheney asserts that CNN, in its election coverage, Juan, is in the tank for the Democrats. You buying that?
The national press corps is justifiably looked upon with suspicion by conservatives and in dire need of reform if it wishes to regain their confidence, especially since that's a sound business strategy.
Those are the words of ABC News political director Mark Halperin who on last night's "O'Reilly Factor" provided a resounding endorsement of the idea that the elite American media needs to stop being liberally biased. (Video available in WMV or Real. MP3 audio also available, transcript is after the jump.)
In a followup to an Oct. 19 internet posting in which he sarcastically implied that reporters take their cues from Democrats and liberal activists, Halperin stated that the press should use the 2006 elections as an opportunity to regain the public trust:
"In this country, we've got these old news organizations, the major networks, ABC, where you [O'Reilly] used to work, the New York Times, the Washington Post. These organizations have been around a long time, and for 40 years conservatives have looked with suspicion at them. I think we've got a chance in these last two weeks to prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances, we're going to try to do better, but these organizations still have incredible sway, and conservatives are certain that we're going to be out to get them. We've got to fix that."
I don’t know about you, but I love it when a liberal member of Congress tries to talk tough about terrorism. It’s kind of like watching my 13-year-old daughter try to bully my 18-year-old son. Such was the case on the “O’Reilly Factor” last night when Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) tried to look tough in front of Our Boy Bill – sorry for the “Carousel” pun to those who caught it (hat tip to Hot Air with video link to follow).
The scrum started early when O’Reilly brought up the Military Commissions Act just signed by the President, and the fact that Rangel voted against it. Charlie weakly replied: “Not only is the bill unconstitutional, but it was brought up on the eve of an election to give some type of feeling that Republicans were tough on terrorism.”
Rangel stepped into an uppercut with that offering, and O’Reilly didn’t miss the opportunity:
As reported by NewsBusters last Friday, famed television talk show host Oprah Winfrey recently had the New York Times’ Frank Rich on her program to hawk his new Bush-bashing book. On Monday’s “O’Reilly Factor,” the host and one of his guests, conservative writer and blogger Michelle Malkin, took Oprah to task for the amount of time Rich was given to spew his vitriol, and for the fact that Oprah rarely has conservatives on to push their books (hat tip to Hot Air). O’Reilly began (video link and full transcript to follow):
Her daytime talk program is a launch pad for books, movies, TV shows, and records. Most who appear on Ms. Winfrey's show benefit from the experience greatly. But an analysis of the programs shows that liberal guests far outnumber conservatives and traditionalists in the arena. We can only find four traditional guests in the past four years. Four. President Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson.
On the other side, there are literally dozens of liberal people who have been given a forum on Oprah's program. Just last week, Bush hater Frank Rich was given an hour to pontificate, one hour. I had no idea Mr. Rich was so popular among daytime viewers. Also on Oprah's show, Michael Moore, Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Al Gore, Barbara Streisand, Sean Penn, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Jon Stewart, George Clooney, Jim McGreevey, on and on and on. You got three weeks? I can keep listing them.
O’Reilly continued, and then brought Malkin into the discussion:
On last night's O'Reilly Factor, Bernard Goldberg, former CBS reporter and author of "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News," says the Foley scandal is nothing but an "October surprise." He also says the media ignored a similar story in 1994 about Democratic congressman Mel Reynolds, who "didn't just talk about sex with an underage person, he had sex with a 16-year-old girl."
Giving the opposing viewpoint was Jane Hall, professor of journalism at American University and a dedicated defender of the mainstream media on various Fox News programs.
It’s not often that a conservative has problems with the Washington Times and the New York Times on the same day concerning the same issue. But, there it was on Tuesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, as Ann Coulter took issue with statements made by both publications concerning embattled former Congressman Mark Foley of Florida.
When host Bill O’Reilly asked his guest what she thought of the Washington Times calling for House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s resignation, Coulter wasn’t shy about her disgust (video link and full transcript follow):
Last night Bill O'Reilly had on Democratic activists James Carville and Paul Begala. The two guests engaged in Fox News-bashing for the entire segment. The exchange got testy at one point when O'Reilly said "you're both stupid" for relying on left-wing blogs for conspiracy material.
O'REILLY: With us, two close Clinton confidants, James Carville and Paul Begala, the co-authors of the paperback book right now, "Take it Back: A Battle Plan for the Democratic Party". Look, you have been running around hot-shotting this FOX News and you're empowered or you're thrilled or whatever you are. We're fair to Bill Clinton here. Wallace worked for ABC for 25 years. He didn't turn into a werewolf when he was hired over here. OK? You want to pick on somebody, pick on me or pick on Hannity, but not Chris Wallace, OK? This is ridiculous. There were legitimate questions. Wallace grills Rumsfeld. I grilled Rumsfeld. And come on.
MTV Video Music Awards' return to New York, the other to what turned out to be one of the most thrilling, epic tennis matches in U.S. Open history: Andre Agassi's five-set, four-hour rollercoaster win over 21-year-old Marcos Baghdatis at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, Queens....
It was about as loud and raucous as a tennis stadium crowd gets, but oddly enough, one of the loudest moments of the match wasn't a response to Baghdatis' on-court antics; rather, it was during a changeover, when Fox News' Bill O'Reilly was shown on the jumbotron high above Arthur Ashe Stadium — and was booed by, oh, 23,700 tennis fans.
On Thursday's Countdown, Keith Olbermann reacted to Bill O'Reilly's comments about "vampires" Wednesday night. In case you missed it: When O'Reilly said "we should call these people out," referring to "smear merchants" like Olbermann, Geraldo Rivera said he should call them by name. O'Reilly said no, because "then you give them more publicity."
In his latest Factor Fiction segment, Olbermann retorted: "There have been three million articles about this feud. There was one this morning! How much worse could you make it by using my name, Billo? What are they going to do -- build a statue of me? You're so confident in your success that you have to keep my name and show a secret from your viewers, or all of your viewers will all leave you in one night?"
Appearing on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor Wednesday, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather conceded there's a "problem" with America's media in its treatment of Hezbollah and Israel with "moral equivalence," even including himself as part of the problem. As host Bill O'Reilly brought up the topic, stating his criticism that "Some networks give moral equivalency to Hezbollah in the reporting of this war," Rather voiced agreement and went on to acknowledge the media's reluctance to label Hezbollah as a "terrorist organization." Rather: "It's a problem that those of us in journalism have been reluctant to address -- I do not exclude myself from this criticism -- reluctant to address that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. It's committed to the destruction of Israel. It isn't committed to trying to just gain territory. It's committed to its destruction." (Transcript follows)
After her stunning knockout of Fox News’s resident liberal Juan Williams last Friday night, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham was looking to defend her title this Friday against Medea Benjamin. For those unfamiliar, Benjamin is the co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink who heckled visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mouri al-Maliki during his address to Congress Wednesday (hat tip and videocourtesy of Ms. Underestimated and Expose the Left).
Ingraham (once again guest-hosting the "O'Reilly Factor") was clearly ready for this one, as she stormed into the ring in the first round looking for a quick knockout. Such an opportunity presented itself when Benjamin actually said that the reason she was heckling the Prime Minister was because he refused to meet with her organization while in America. Ingraham pounced with a fury of rights and lefts:
“Are you kidding me?"
“You actually thought you were going to meet with the prime minister of Iraq?”
“Why should he meet with Code Pink?”
That was just the beginning, for when Benjamin jabbed with a statement that “we represent now, the majority voice in the United States,” Ingraham moved in like an angered Max Baer:
For Laura Ingraham fans, it has been quite interesting to see her so much on Fox News lately, and watch the growth of one of America’s leading female conservatives. Conceivably, her recent success and notoriety have lead ABC to create a new television series casting “Ally McBeal” star Calista Flockhart as a conservative radio talk show host (as reported by NewsBuster Matthew Sheffield Tuesday).
With that in mind, Ingraham was on “The O’Reilly Factor” Tuesday, and she and Bill had some fun with this issue (hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left with video to follow). O’Reilly began, “Now, to change direction here, Calista Flockhart is teeing you off.”
Bill O'Reilly's down to his last strike. As noted here, on his radio and TV shows yesterday, Bill propounded the theory that the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in the current Middle East conflict for fear of alienating their liberal Jewish readers. As Bill put it, liberal Jews "are all the papers have left" when it comes to significant market niches.
While Bill singled out the NY Times as the paper most loath to offend its liberal Jewish readers, he also mentioned the Boston Globe by name on his radio show. As discussed here, the NY Times came out this morning guns ablazin', so to speak, for an immediate cease-fire.
Turns out the Boston Globe has done the same thing. Excerpts from its editorial of today, While Lebanon Burns:
Back to the drawing board for Bill O'Reilly. As noted here, on his radio and TV shows yesterday, BOR propounded the theory that the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in the current Middle East conflict for fear of alienating their liberal Jewish readers. As Bill put it, liberal Jews "are all the papers have left" when it comes to significant market niches.
BOR particularly singled out the New York Times as a paper reluctant to take any positions that could be construed as contrary to Israel's interests. As of this morning's NY Times editorial, No More Foot-Dragging, that theory might be 'inoperative.' For the Times, in flat contradiction of Israeli desires, is now calling for an immediate cease-fire:
Bill O'Reilly got his show off to a surprising start this afternoon, with a novel theory as to why the big-city newspapers have tread lightly in criticizing Israel for its role in the current conflict. During his opening monologue O'Reilly theorized that the papers are fearful of turning off liberal Jewish readers.
As per Bill's hypothesis, papers such as the NY and LA Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post have been taking big hits in readership and profitability. With Fox News Channel's ED Hill in the studio, O'Reilly continued: "liberal Jewish readers are all [those newspapers] have left" as a significant market segment. If the papers were to be too critical of Israel, it could alienate their last remaining readership niche.
In our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” segment, an amazing barnburner occurred July 21 that will remind folks of Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd's old "Point/Counterpoint" skit on “Saturday Night Live” with the only thing missing being the famous line “Jane you ignorant slut.”
On the left was Fox News’s Juan Williams. On the right was conservative radio host Laura Ingraham filling in for Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor” (very enthusiastic hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left and Ms. Underestimated with absolutely must-see video to follow!).
From the beginning, this fight perfectly exemplified the divergence in opinion concerning the most recent flare up in the Middle East. Juan enunciated the liberal view that Israel is largely to blame for the rise in hostilities, and that America needs to put pressure on it to force an expedient ceasefire even if it goes counter to Israel’s ongoing security. Here’s a perfect example of Juan’s solution to the current problem:
Heart-rending images of small children being lifted across a fence. Outraged American/Lebanese evacuees alleging indiscriminate Israeli bombing ["they are bombing streets, gas stations, food stores, ranches."] A crying Lebanese man with blood on his shirt after his brother was killed by an Israeli bomb. And the only two reporters on the scene reporting from . . . Beirut. That was the way the 'Today' largely saw fit to cover the Middle East conflict this morning.
While none of the words or images are necessarily inaccurate [and we were treated to one evacuee heartily thanking Pres. Bush], they utterly fail to tell the whole story. Yes, Israel is militarily superior to its immediate neighbors. So it is easy to portray it as the bully in this fight. But let's look at the larger picture - Israel, a small strip of land, with relatively few people or natural resources, surrounded by hundreds of millions of largely Muslim Arabs in more than a dozen states. Have a look at the map. Israel is a barely discernible dot in the Muslim sea. And just as it is geographically dwarfed so too is it overwhelmed when it comes to natural resources - oil
On Tuesday night’s “O’Reilly Factor,” host Bill O’Reilly and guest Laura Ingraham had a marvelous time tearing apart The New York Times (video link to follow). During the discussion, Ingraham pointed out something that many Americans now feel about the Old Grey Lady:
Well, I think that they truly believe that America is the single biggest danger to the modern world.
I don't think, Bill, that they believe that they have a dog in this terrorism fight. I think they think it's a fight between two groups of fundamentalist, the fundamentalists who are the Islamists. They don't much care for them.
But then the fundamentalists in the Bush administration, who have this messianic view of the world that they can make the world in their own image. And I think they're more petrified of the Bush fundamentalism, as they refer to it, than they are the Islamists.
Yikes. That about says it. O’Reilly then asked a pivotal question:
In the past two years, as oil and gasoline prices have moved to record highs threatening to strangle the American economy, the media have blamed it all on the current Administration in the White House. Or on Hurricane Katrina. Or Iraq. Or Iran. Or a strike in Nigeria. However, on Thursday, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly got Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) to admit that the nation’s energy problems are caused by government’s inaction for decades, and that both parties are to blame (extremely grateful hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left with a video link to follow).
Certainly, this was an inconvenient truth for a former presidential candidate who blamed all the world’s problems on President Bush during the 2004 campaign to admit on national television. But, he didn’t give this up easily. In fact, at first, he did blame it on guess who. Fortunately, O'Reilly didn't let him get away with it:
“You and Al Gore, big environmental guys. And I'm a big environmental guy. OK? So I'm seeing Gore and Kerry. Here they are, decades in the Senate, and I'm seeing Brazil have ethanol for all its automobiles starting next year. And I'm seeing the United States not even close to having ethanol for automobiles. I'm going, ‘How come Gore and Kerry didn't get us ethanol?’ How come?”
After Kerry stated that he voted for ethanol whenever it came up in the Senate, O’Reilly asked, “Why didn’t it happen?” Kerry said, “Because the president’s energy policy…” O’Reilly asked, “Is this President Clinton?” Kerry said, “This is President Bush.” That’s when it got really interesting:
Bill O’Reilly interviewed the outspoken Geraldo Rivera on “The O’Reilly Factor” Thursday evening concerning the current goings on in Iraq, and how the media are covering it. During their discussion, Geraldo stated his surprising support for President Bush, while offering a rather strong critique of Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) as well as for all those who want to establish a time certain for American troop withdrawal (video link to follow):
“The only way we can find an honorable exit from Iraq is to do what the commander in chief is now suggesting and what good people like Hillary Clinton are also suggesting is to stay the course. We have to stay the course.”
He continued on this train of thought later in the interview:
“But I'm telling the American people right now that Bush is right. The commander in chief is right. Woe on to us if we think that we can forget about what's happened. That, I think, is lamentable.”
Geraldo also lashed out at the junior senator from Massachusetts:
Has Katie Couric's departure had a salubrious effect on Matt Lauer? Freed his inner moderate? The jury's still out. And to be sure, in his interview of Bill O'Reilly this morning Lauer managed to take shots at Ann Coulter and the Iraq security situation. Still, when an MSM host suggests that releasing prisoners from Guantanamo could result, of all things, in an 'international Willie Horton,' it does make you sit up and take notice.
Meanwhile, BOR himself, fresh from his visit to Guantanamo, energetically made the case for the current system of detaining enemy combatants.
Lauer did start things out with a quick jab at the state of security, or lack thereof, in Iraq:
There are surely Bill O'Reilly experts out there who have carefully charted the history of his pronouncements on the Iraq war. But as a casual observer, it seemed to me that in this evening's Talking Points, O'Reilly struck an altogether more negative tone on Iraq, with implications for future US foreign policy.
Here's what he had to say: "The chaos in Afghanistan and Iraq will never end, because there will always be people who hate Americans. And we are an occupying force in those countries. The very important question is how do we as citizens process what's going on in those theaters of war? In Afghanistan, the Taliban are just waiting until we leave and will always be waiting. Whether the Karzai government will ever be strong enough to defeat them is an open question.
"Here's the big difference between us (the Democrats) and the right-wing bill that passed the House with the President's support: This is a President who can't find a six-foot-four Saudi terrorist. How's he gonna find 12 million undocumented people and send them all back across the border? That's what he wants to do."
The truth, as Bill pointed out in his "Ridiculous Item of the Day" tonight (Tue. May 16, 2006), is that President Bush has never advocated finding and "sending back" illegal immigrants by the millions. The President made this perfectly clear in his address last night: