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During the "Talking Points Memo" segment of the November 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly renewed his attack on the city of San Francisco, polling viewers on whether the city's "anti-military stance" warrants a travel boycott. He also threatened "far-left smear websites" and "Internet guttersnipes" with further exposure and retaliation. Earlier in the day, on his nationally syndicated radio show, O'Reilly said his new offensive was for the benefit of his affiliated radio stations and "our sponsorship."
Last week, O'Reilly commented on an initiative passed by San Francisco voters that discouraged military recruitment in the city's schools. From the November 8 broadcast of Fox News' The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead."
And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.
Media Matters first reported O'Reilly's remark on this website, providing both a written transcript and an audio clip from The Radio Factor. The remarks made news here, here, and here.
A resolution is currently pending with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors urging Fox News to fire O'Reilly over the remarks. Supervisor Chris Daly, who introduced the resolution, has also called on Westwood One, which distributes The Radio Factor, to fire O'Reilly.
Commenting on the controversy on November 11, O'Reilly at first defended the remark: "What I said isn't controversial. What I said needed to be said." But during his November 14 TV show, O'Reilly backpedaled, claiming the remark was merely a "satirical riff." Viewers were unable to assess O'Reilly's new characterization, because, in presenting the subject, he omitted the part of his remarks that had sparked the controversy in the first place.
On his November 15 radio show, O'Reilly claimed that the controversy over the remarks was "good"; that the "smear sites" are "now on the defensive"; and that "I wanted to show our affiliated stations, all 400 of them, I wanted to show our sponsorship, all the people who buy time on The Radio Factor, I want to show everybody exactly where this was coming from, who these people are on the far-left smear sites."
O'Reilly then attacked the unnamed "far-left smear sites" that had reported his remarks, saying, "And they are anti-American people. They hate this country. They do."
On his November 15 TV show, O'Reilly turned his ire on "sympathizers in the mainstream media, who then publish the Internet defamation often without hearing the original remarks, which are at issue." Although Media Matters has documented its O'Reilly research with both written transcripts and audio and video clips, O'Reilly said: "Remember, there's a huge difference between a written transcript and actually hearing what was said."
Claiming on his radio show that "most people don't go to these sites. They don't read this crap," O'Reilly continued: "And you need to know they're out there because what they do is they have minions in the elite media that they feed stuff to and the minions run with it. And here's what I'm going to do, ladies and gentlemen, every minion that does that, every one is going to be exposed on The Radio Factor, the television Factor, and on our website, BillOReilly.com. Every one who carries their water. I'm going to put their face up there, their name up there and tell you exactly what they're doing. So you know who in your town who's doing it. Enough's enough."
From the November 15 broadcast of Fox News' The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: All right, lots going on here. Want to bring you up to date on the San Francisco controversy. The tide has turned, and I knew it would. I mean, most Americans are appalled by the anti-military stance of that city. And now the smear websites have been exposed, the foolish position on the part of the mayor, Gavin Newsom, and a few bomb-throwing council members have been exposed and all of that.
And it's good. It's good, because, look, we have to be honest in this country. And San Francisco is undermining the military. There's no question the people who voted for that proposition to ban military recruiting in the schools in the city are undermining the military. The military has nothing to do with Iraq. We're going to talk about Iraq in a moment, by the way.
But the military -- that's a political decision. Military just goes where they're ordered to go. And they're doing a outstanding job. And the men and women in our military fighting the war on terror all over the world deserve our respect. Not that -- not what they gave in San Francisco. That is just disrespectful.
Anyway, 80 percent of Americans know that. And the smear sites who kind of tried to use this issue to drive it are now on the defensive. And you know who they are, you know who they are. And only Kool-Aid zombies are going to get involved with them anyway. And it was good. I mean, I wanted to show our affiliated stations, all 400 of them, I wanted to show our sponsorship, all the people who buy time on The Radio Factor, I want to show everybody exactly where this was coming from, who these people are on the far-left smear sites.
And they are anti-American people. They hate this country. They do. And if you read their garbage day in and day out, we're the bad guys. We're always wrong. Blame America first. That's who these people are on the far left on the Internet. And they are well funded by George Soros and Peter Lewis, the radical billionaires. They're as dishonest as they come. And you need to know about them. Even --
Because most people don't go to these sites. They don't read this crap. And you need to know they're out there, because what they do is they have minions in the elite media that they feed stuff to, and the minions run with it. And here's what I'm going to do, ladies and gentlemen, every minion that does that, every one is going to be exposed on The Radio Factor, the television Factor, and on our website, BillOReilly.com. Every one who carries their water, I'm going to put their face up there, their name up there, and tell you exactly what they're doing. So you know in your town who's doing it. Enough's enough.
From the November 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
There is anger building against the city of San Francisco's anti-military vote last week. Even if you believe the Iraq war was a mistake, fair people must admire the sacrifice of our military people and their families. And it is a big sacrifice. And to disrespect them on any level is way over the line.
By a 60-40 vote, San Franciscans told the rest of America, "We don't want military recruiters in our schools." OK, fine. Let's hear what the rest of the country wants to say about that. A brand new BillOReilly.com poll question asks, "Should Americans who disagree with San Francisco's anti-military stance avoid traveling to that city? Yes or no?" Poll voting on BillOReilly.com is free. And we would like to hear from you.
Now "Talking Points" is actually pleased about the San Francisco controversy, because this whole deal needs to be out in the open. The far-left smear websites, which support the anti-military movement, have developed an effective way to punish people with whom they disagree. And here's how it works: The smear sites print analysis that distort someone's position on an issue by taking it out of context, reporting humor as being serious, or flat-out lying about tone and substance. Then the smear sites urge their readers to email threatening words to sponsors or demand a firing, whatever. The Internet guttersnipes also contact sympathizers in the mainstream media, who then publish the Internet defamation, often without hearing the original remarks which are at issue. Remember, there's a huge difference between a written transcript and actually hearing what was said.
In the past, the smear sites have been somewhat successful using these dishonest tactics, but now the game's up. Anyone, anyone who carries water for these far-left sites will be exposed on this broadcast. Your right to know. The Internet -- the intent, I should say, of the smear sites is to intimidate free speech. This is not what America is supposed to be about. So the smear sites must be exposed. They have hurt the country dramatically.
So there you have it. Our left-wing San Francisco guest last night would not agree we're fighting a war on terror. And he's entitled to his opinion, but we are entitled to believe the opposite and to fight against dishonest ideologues. And I believe we're winning that fight.