Fox News host Bill O'Reilly appeared on the November 30 broadcast of NBC's Today -- his second appearance on the program in roughly a month -- deriding as "pinheads" those who have called for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq and comparing them to Nazi appeasers. While O'Reilly was slandering millions of Americans, Today obligingly included an on-screen graphic reading "No Spin Zone" -- the self-aggrandizing nickname O'Reilly has given to his Fox News program, The O'Reilly Factor. Rather than challenging O'Reilly's comparison of those who favor withdrawal from Iraq -- such as Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA), a decorated Vietnam veteran and former Marine -- to Hitler appeasers, or asking O'Reilly to respond to arguments in favor of withdrawal, Today host Katie Couric lobbed O'Reilly a softball, asking "What is your biggest fear about a premature withdrawal?"
O'REILLY: These pinheads running around going, "Get out of Iraq now," don't know what they're talking about. These are the same people before Hitler invaded in World War II that were saying, "Ah, he's not such a bad guy." They don't get it.
COURIC: What is your biggest fear about a premature withdrawal of troops from Iraq?
The recent debate over whether to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq intensified after Murtha on November 17 called for an immediate redeployment of "U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces."
Couric later asked O'Reilly a leading question -- whether a recent letter from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to constituents about Iraq indicates that Clinton is "paving the way for 2008, in other words, appealing to her core Democratic constituency." O'Reilly again fell back on insults and sneers in response, saying, "I don't want to hear from Hillary Clinton; I don't want to read her dopey letter." Again, Couric simply moved on -- this time to one of O'Reilly's obsessions: the public acknowledgement of the Christmas holiday, a theme O'Reilly has addressed numerous times on recent editions of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor and The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly (see here, here, here, here, and here). Couric smiled and laughed while O'Reilly ranted about the alleged war on Christmas; meanwhile, the on-screen graphic read "No Spin Zone -- What's Wrong with the Word 'Christmas'?" Couric again declined to challenge O'Reilly or ask him a tough question; instead, laughing and smiling, she asked: "Bill O'Reilly, how many espressos did you have this morning? Are you always like this this early?"
In fact, O'Reilly is "like this" regardless of the time of day -- raising some questions: Why does Today keep granting him a forum to throw his tantrums? Why does Couric oblige him with softball questions?
From the November 30 broadcast of NBC's Today:
COURIC: Obviously, this is a very important speech for President Bush, and it seems as if the White House is really trying to hone in on its message and trying to communicate better what the strategy is for this war. What do you think people need to hear from this speech at the Naval Academy?
O'REILLY: See, I am even not going to listen to the speech. You know, maybe that shocks everybody, but I don't really care what he says because it doesn't mean anything. Here's what it comes down to: Basic training for a U.S. soldier is six weeks -- six weeks, and then there's usually a little specialized training after that, and they're in Iraq or Afghanistan. How many years have we been training these Iraqis? How many years? Gomer Pyle would have gotten this. OK?
COURIC: What do you think has taken so long?
O'REILLY: I have no idea. That's what I want to know. I don't want to know he needs another $4 billion to train these people. I want to know why they're not trained already. We've been training them for almost three years.
See, these are the kinds of things that Americans have to hone in on. Not the rhetoric that's written by 15 guys in a room, saying they're going to win the war. I want them to win the war. It's a disaster for the country if we don't do well in Iraq. It's a disaster for the world if we don't do well. These pinheads running around going, "Get out of Iraq now," don't know what they're talking about. These are the same people before Hitler invaded in World War II that were saying, "Ah, he's not such a bad guy." They don't get it.