Bill O'Reilly called NBC "the most anti-Bush network" -- even more so, he said, than "ABC, CNN, and CBS." Yet, despite characterizing NBC as "the most anti-Bush network" in television, O'Reilly himself has appeared on NBC's Today show at least eight times since November 2001.
On both his nationally syndicated radio show and his cable television program, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly called NBC "the most anti-Bush network" -- even more so, he said, than "ABC, CNN, and CBS." Yet, despite that characterization, O'Reilly himself has appeared on NBC's Today show at least eight times* since November 2001.
During the March 20 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, The Radio Factor, O'Reilly responded to a caller's criticism of an apparent "random" street poll Today conducted to gauge public opinion of the Iraq war by stating: "[L]ook ... NBC News is an anti-Bush outfit. I think that's accurate. ... [O]f all of the three networks, they're the most anti-Bush, I think." O'Reilly continued, saying that "from what I've seen ... I think that's a fair statement to make."
On the next day's broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, during a discussion with syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham regarding the media's coverage of the Iraq war, O'Reilly expanded on his characterization of NBC as "anti-Bush" by saying: "I don't pretend to know what they do over there, but ... I think NBC is the most anti-Bush network right now, more than ABC, CNN, and CBS."
Despite this claim that NBC "is the most anti-Bush network," which "seem[s] invested" in hating Bush, O'Reilly has had no problem appearing frequently on the network's morning talk show, where, as Media Matters for America has previously noted (here and here), the hosts have allowed O'Reilly to launch unchallenged personal attacks on those with whom he disagrees. For instance, on the November 30, 2005, edition of Today, O'Reilly derided as "pinheads" those who have called for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq and compared them to Nazi appeasers. Instead of challenging O'Reilly's comparison of those who favor Iraq withdrawal to Hitler appeasers, or asking O'Reilly to respond to arguments in favor of withdrawal, co-host Katie Couric appeared to accept O'Reilly's premise that it was too soon to withdraw, asking, "What is your biggest fear about a premature withdrawal?" Despite this and other attacks, O'Reilly was invited to appear again on Today on January 24.
From the March 21 broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Is it your opinion that NBC News spins the war in Iraq negative?
INGRAHAM: Well, it's not between me and NBC, Bill. You know, I --
O'REILLY: No, no, but that -- look, you're an analyst. You watch these people. Is it your opinion that NBC News spins the war negative?
INGRAHAM: I think that the coverage of the war by NBC that I've really focused on, especially since I was in Iraq last month, to me it seems bizarrely focused only on the IEDs [improvised explosive devices], only on the latest reprisal killings that are taking place.
When the -- when stories that are so fascinating and interesting and broader, and human interest stuff The Today Show and NBC likes to do, those stories are out there for anyone to get. So, I -- I -- I don't get it.
O'REILLY: Is NBC -- OK. Well, I don't -- I don't pretend to know what they do over there, but I have said, on the record, that I think NBC is the most anti-Bush network right now, more than ABC, CNN, and CBS.
INGRAHAM: Well, they seem invested right now. I mean, if I was --
O'REILLY: I don't know if that's true. It just seems to me that way.
From the March 20 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor:
CALLER: Hey, Bill. Former Levittowner. I'm 58 years old, and I'm -- on the news this morning, I'm watching Katie Couric. She's got three politicians on there that she's interviewing, and she's talking about how dramatically the American public is shifting against the war.
CALLER: She then tells these guys, "Now, we went out on the street and did a random poll," and three different times, she called it a random poll.
CALLER: The first guy she interviews is a guy off the street, and he's talking pro. The second person they interview, obviously anti -- she -- they're interviewing somebody at an anti-Bush, anti-war rally. I looked at that, and I thought, are you kidding me? They're -- they're calling this a random poll? They then go to a third person -- again, someone off the street. I think they might have been pro. Could you believe they went back a second time to that anti-Bush rally --
O'REILLY: But I don't know why they're bothering at all. I mean, it's clear from the scientific polls, Dan, that only 40 percent of Americans believe Iraq is going to turn out well. So, that's all you need. You don't need to go out and talk to people on the street. What's the point? Why waste your time? At this point in history, 40 percent of Americans think it's going to turn out well. And the rest either don't believe that, or don't know.
So, there's your stat. Bush's approval ratings are in the 30s, mid-30s, and it's all Iraq-war-generated, because the economy's pretty good. So, that's where we are. But look, I mean, NBC News is an anti-Bush outfit. I think that's accurate, because I -- of all of the three networks, they're the most anti-Bush, I think, from what I've seen, and I've seen a lot. I think that's a fair statement to make.
From the June 10, 2004, broadcast of NBC's Today:
COURIC: And very quickly, Bill, how do you see the president's [Ronald Reagan] passing having an impact on the next few months as we lead up to this election?
O'REILLY: Well, it has a positive influence on President Bush, that's for sure, because Bush and Reagan are ideological soulmates. And the Republicans will use this to try to position Bush as a -- acolyte of President Reagan. That will infuriate the left, which is really, really vehemently opposed to anything President Bush does. So, you will have -- unfortunately, Katie, this time next week they'll be back slugging it out, and President Reagan will be, I think, evoked by the Republicans throughout the campaign.
*A Lexis transcript search using search terms "SHOW (Today) and allcaps: (Bill O'Reilly)" yielded these results.