During the July 21 edition of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly modified a lie he had told twice before about the dropout rate for black high school students. O'Reilly's modification came nearly two weeks after Media Matters for America documented the second instance of his misinformation.
On June 3 and on July 7, O'Reilly incorrectly claimed that the dropout rate for black students ages 16 to 24 had increased under the Clinton administration, when in fact the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported (pdf) in 2003 that this dropout rate actually declined during the Clinton presidency. But in a July 21 O'Reilly Factor discussion with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, O'Reilly informed Brown, "I looked at the black high school dropout rates in '92 when Clinton took office, and then in 2000 when he left. ... It's pretty much the same. Didn't improve in eight years."
- "Well, I look at eight years ... of Clinton-Gore and I see a worse black student dropout rate in 2000 than in '92." [The O'Reilly Factor, June 3]
- "Clinton didn't help blacks. He didn't help them. The black high school dropout rate in 2000 was higher than it was in 1992. All right?" [The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, July 7]
- "See, look, I looked at the black high school dropout rates in '92 when Clinton took office, and then in 2000 when he left. That's eight years of -- and African-Americans loved Bill Clinton. It's pretty much the same. Didn't improve in eight years." [The O'Reilly Factor, July 21]
As MMFA previously noted, NCES's 2003 annual report on education, "The Condition of Education 2003," (pdf) shows that the dropout rate for black students was 13.7 percent in 1992 and 13.1 percent in 2000.