O'Reilly claimed without evidence that "anti-Bush crowd" rooting against Iraqi democracy
Research ››› ››› GABE WILDAU
On the January 24 edition of FOX News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly alluded to "elements" in the United States who "would rather have chaos in Iraq than a victory for the president." In an apparent attempt to castigate "the American left" without the burden of offering specific evidence for the charge that left-leaning Americans are pleased with the near-daily deaths of civilians, Iraqi security forces, and coalition soldiers at the hands of insurgents, O'Reilly repeatedly referred to unnamed members of "the anti-Bush crowd." When he finally named a specific figure who he claimed falls in that category -- Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) -- he provided no evidence to support the charge.
From O'Reilly's January 24 "Talking Points Memo":
O'REILLY: Now, you would think everyone in the world who values freedom would be rooting for the Iraqis to have them, but they are not. Here in the USA, some of the anti-Bush crowd would rather have chaos in Iraq than a victory for the president.
Moments later, O'Reilly slid seamlessly into an indictment of well-known Democrats and foreign leaders for allegedly "refus[ing] to take a proactive stance against Islamic fascism." Though he did not directly connect those he named with his earlier charge, the association with what came before was clear:
O'REILLY: "Talking Points" believes that the goal in Iraq is noble, to have a Muslim country embrace liberty. While that goal is obviously difficult, we are not the bad guys in Iraq. We're trying to do something good and fight terrorism at the same time.
The interesting thing about Senators [Edward] Kennedy, [John] Kerry, Boxer, [French President] Jacques Chirac, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, and all the rest who refuse to take a proactive stance against Islamic fascism is that they have no solutions to bin Laden and Zarqawi.
Later in the show, in an interview with Samir Shakir Sumaidaie, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, O'Reilly asked why the U.N. wasn't providing more assistance in Iraq. But when Sumaidaie didn't give the answer he wanted, O'Reilly cut in with his own hypothesis:
O'REILLY: Isn't it -- isn't it, "Let's -- we don't like Bush" and "Let's punish Bush"? Isn't that what this is all about? "We don't want Bush to succeed in Iraq because we didn't like what he did there in the first place"? That's what I -- I think this is personal.
In a subsequent interview on the program with former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, O'Reilly referred to "elements within the United States that despise President Bush so much, they want the Iraq democracy plan to fail." When Gingrich suggested author and filmmaker Michael Moore as an example of such a person, O'Reilly fired back, "How about Barbara Boxer?" But O'Reilly provided no evidence for this charge. As Media Matters for America documented, O'Reilly has repeatedly lied about Boxer in previous shows.