Bill O'Reilly mischaracterized a wager he proposed to Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter during Alter's December 21 appearance on O'Reilly's nationally syndicated radio show.
On the January 3 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor, host Bill O'Reilly mischaracterized a wager he proposed to Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter during Alter's December 21 appearance on the show. On the January 3 broadcast of the Factor, O'Reilly claimed that Alter "wouldn't take the bet" that President Bush "has the legal authority" to wiretap U.S. citizens. In fact, on the December 21 broadcast of the show, O'Reilly did not offer to wager whether Bush's domestic wiretap program was legal or illegal, but whether Bush would ultimately be convicted of a crime.
From the December 21 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: You convicted the guy [President Bush] -- you convicted the guy of a crime -- and I wanna go on right now.
ALTER: I didn't convict him of anything.
O'REILLY: I wanna bet you -- I wanna bet you $10,000 to go to Habitat for Humanity -- you think that's a worthy charity, I'm sure, right?
ALTER: I do, yeah.
O'REILLY: I will bet you $10,000 that the president is not convicted of anything, and it doesn't even come to that.
ALTER: Oh, I completely agree with you. I won't take that bet.
From the January 3 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: You know, this eavesdropping NSA [National Security Agency] thing, there are two strong sides to this story. There are two strong sides to the story. It looks to me, examining all arguments, that President Bush had the legal authority to do what he did, and I think that will prevail. I'll make a prediction right now, and I -- I tried to bet Jonathan Alter a couple of weeks ago on this radio program $10,000 it would prevail -- he wouldn't take the bet, although he wrote in Newsweek magazine, "Bush knows he's a lawbreaker," which is a bunch of garbage. It's just not true. So, I put Alter on the spot and said: "I'll bet you ten grand that he has the legal authority to do it." Alter wouldn't take the bet. What does that tell you? And the bet wasn't money for us, it was for charity, OK? What does that tell you?