Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham baselessly attacked the The New York Times for publishing a photo of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's vacation home. In fact, Rumsfeld's public affairs director confirmed that he granted the Times permission to run the photo, the Secret Service confirmed that the photo "is not a threat" to Rumsfeld's security, and numerous media -- including Fox News -- had previously reported the location of Rumsfeld's residence. Further, a nearly identical photo ran in The Washington Post six months earlier.
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On the July 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly and conservative radio host Laura Ingraham baselessly attacked the The New York Times for publishing a photo of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's vacation home. In fact, as American Prospect's Greg Sargent noted on July 3, Rumsfeld's public affairs director confirmed that he granted the Times permission to run the photo, the Secret Service confirmed that the photo "is not a threat" to Rumsfeld's security, and numerous media -- including Fox News -- had previously reported the location of Rumsfeld's residence. Further, a January 2 Washington Post article -- headlined "Right on the Water, The Only Retreat for Cheney and Rumsfeld: St. Michaels" -- published a nearly identical photograph of Rumsfeld's vacation home on the front page of the paper's Style section.
Continuing to assert that the Times is damaging national security, O'Reilly and Ingraham pointed to an "awful" Times profile of Vice President Dick Cheney's and Rumsfeld's summer homes, in which the Times "publishe[d] a photo of the secretary of defense's vacation home." The two were presumably referring to a June 30 profile of St. Michaels, Maryland, where both Rumsfeld and Cheney own second homes. The article featured a picture of the wooded driveway of Rumsfeld's home. O'Reilly and Ingraham expressed outrage that the Times would publish such a photo; O'Reilly declared the story to be "awful," while Ingraham called it "just bizarre," and questioned how the Times "believes that it truly is being patriotic" by publishing such a photograph.
However, the duo's condemnation appears baseless; the Times was apparently granted permission to take and publish the photograph of Rumsfeld's house. As American Prospect's Greg Sargent noted on July 3, Rumsfeld's public affairs director Hollen Wheeler confirmed "that the photographer, Linda Spillers, had been granted permission to photograph Rumsfeld's house by Rumsfeld himself." Sargent continued:
"She got approval to take a picture," Wheeler told me [Sargent]. "She called, we said fine, go take the picture. And that's it."
Wheeler also added of the picture: "It's already out in the public domain. I'm a little confused about why this has caused such an uproar." Wheeler declined to directly discuss the question of his security, saying that it was something they don't discuss as a rule.
Sargent also apparently received confirmation from a Secret Service spokesman that the photo's publication "is not a threat" to Rumsfeld's security.
Moreover, media outlets have previously reported that Rumsfeld and Cheney have homes in St. Michaels. First noted by blogger Glenn Greenwald, "news outlets such as NewsMax and Fox and others had previously disclosed this same information months earlier," and "this information is commonly reported about government leaders in both parties." As noted above, The Washington Post previously published a photograph of the exterior of Rumsfeld's house for a January 2 article similarly noting that both Cheney and Rumsfeld have homes in St. Michaels. The Post's photograph of Rumsfeld's residence appears nearly identical to the photograph published by the Times:
O'Reilly also bashed the Times earlier in the program, asserting that the Times has "definitely undermined" Americans' "security" and has "no question" made "life much easier for the terrorists." O'Reilly even imagined a Bush-hating conspiracy lead by the paper's publisher, Arthur Ochs "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr., declaring that Sulzberger "believes the Bush administration is a danger to the world," so he has "put together a staff of true believers like himself, and they are bent on undermining the Bush administration." Continuing, O'Reilly ominously repeated: "Not watching it, undermining it." O'Reilly concluded that "[t]here is a far-left press jihad going on in this country," and asked: "Has critical mass been reached?"
From the July 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Also, the mutilated bodies of two American soldiers have now been posted on a terrorist website for all the world to see. Despite atrocity after atrocity, many people still don't understand the nature of the terrorist enemy. These killers have no humanity at all. They're Nazis. People who believe their brand of Islam requires them to murder infidels, babies, women -- it doesn't matter. Just as many did not understand the Third Reich in 1936, seventy years later, much of the world doesn't understand Islamic fascism.
Part of the problem is how the press portrays the war on terror. Again, it's important to understand the mindset that exists at The New York Times and other far-left media outlets. The publisher of the Times, Arthur Sulzberger, believes the Bush administration is a danger to the world. He's convinced the president is using the war on terror to turn America into a totalitarian state bent on enriching the powerful and violating the rights of everyday people.
Sulzberger's put together a staff of true believers like himself, and they are bent on undermining the Bush administration. Not watching it, undermining it. Three political columnists for the Times, Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert, and Frank Rich, wrote a total of 156 columns on the Bush administration in the past 18 months. Every one, all 156 were negative.
Some Americans have picked up on that blatant unfairness and are demonstrating against the newspaper. This demonstration happened today. These protesters are angry that every mistake made by Americans on the Iraq battlefield winds up on Page 1 at The New York Times.
Every anti-terror program is suspect. And national security secrets are printed in the paper.
Now, the role of the press in the America is that of a watchdog. Certainly the Bush American has made mistakes. It didn't understand the enemy in Iraq, for example, and we're now mired in a vicious campaign. Honest reporting on all important subjects is vital to the nation. But the press is not supposed to undermine policy. By printing national secrets for no clear purpose, The New York Times and others have definitely undermined your security.
By opposing Gitmo, rendition, coerced interrogations, and the like, the far left is making life much easier for the terrorists. There's no question.
They, of course, don't see it that way. The far-left media simply says it is exposing an incompetent president. But the truth is far more insidious. There is a far-left press jihad going on in this country. That's the truth. Their ideology presents them -- prevents them from understanding true evil. Their theoretical outlook would make it impossible to win on the battlefield.
We're all living in a dangerous world, ladies and gentlemen. And when the American press undermines rather than questions, that danger becomes much more intense. And that's the "Memo. "
Now for the top story tonight. Has critical mass been reached? Will most Americans now turn against the far-left press?
INGRAHAM: But look, he believes that The New York Times is an absolute national treasure. And The New York Times believes that it truly is being patriotic when it publishes the banking records, you know, story, when it publishes a photo of the secretary of defense's vacation home, as it did last week.
O'REILLY: Yeah, I know. That was awful.
INGRAHAM: That was just bizarre.
O'REILLY: It was awful.
INGRAHAM: I mean, and they show the security camera in the photo. They think they're being patriotic when, every day, page after page after page is devoted to what's wrong with America and what America is doing wrong. That's their vision of being patriotic. You know, we have -- I have a different vision of what being patriotic is.