FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly blasted The New York Times, claiming that the newspaper attempted to weaken President George W. Bush's reelection effort by "reporting a rumor" that Vice President Dick Cheney may be replaced with a new vice presidential nominee for the upcoming election. But one day earlier, O'Reilly and his guest, FOX News political analyst and radio host Tony Snow, gleefully reported two unflattering and lightly sourced rumors about the upcoming Democratic convention: that Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was "miffed" about publicity surrounding her role and that former Vermont Governor Howard Dean strong-armed a reluctant Democratic party into letting him speak.
Here's O'Reilly on the July 15 edition of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Today The New York Times proves once again that it uses its news pages to promote its editorial point of view.
The Times reported a rumor on page one. Of course that rumor is harmful to the Bush campaign. So that's why the paper ran a story about Dick Cheney possibly dropping off the ticket. "Talking Points [Memo," a segment on O'Reilly's show] can tell you that there's absolutely no evidence that will happen, but perhaps The New York Times is smarter than "Points."
While the New York Times article failed to name any sources, it did attribute the "newest theory" about Cheney's prospects for remaining on the Bush-Cheney '04 ticket to unnamed "prominent Democrats, including members of Congress." On the July 14 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly and Snow reported rumors unflattering for Democrats about Clinton and Dean, citing only "secret sources":
O'REILLY: In the "Washington Insider" segment tonight, we have secret sources everywhere. ... And we are told that Senator Clinton is a little miffed that there's so much publicity surrounding her exclusion from the podium at the Democratic convention. ... Our source is a very, very good source.
O'REILLY: Dean, we -- our secret source says, I love the secret source, by the way -- heavily campaigned. He was left off the initial roster. And then he said, hey, you know, if you -- you know, "I want to be on this. You better get me in there." ... And the Kerry people said OK, they'll get him in somewhere.
SNOW: Well, that was part of the deal. But again, when Howard Dean stepped down, part of the deal was you've got to give me a slot.
SNOW: I'm going to share with you my list of contributors and so on.