O'Reilly's memory lapse: claimed he has "never said liberal America wants the USA to lose in Iraq"

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed he has "never said liberal America wants the USA to lose in Iraq." Media Matters for America has found numerous examples in which he has asserted that very thing.

On the July 18 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly claimed that he has "never said liberal America wants the USA to lose in Iraq." But, in fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, O'Reilly frequently accuses members of the "far left," media outlets, and even Democratic politicians, such as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), whom he accused on the May 8 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, of wanting "us to lose in Iraq." O'Reilly added: "Pelosi and her acolytes ... want there to be chaos in Afghanistan. They want this. They're rooting against their own country."

O'Reilly's declaration came in response to a viewer, who, in an email, asserted that O'Reilly "continue[s] to say that liberal America wishes to see America lose the war in Iraq." O'Reilly retorted that he has "never" made such an accusation. He advised the viewer to "lay off the Kool-Aid" and "stay off the dishonest websites."

Media Matters has compiled the following list, documenting just some of the many times O'Reilly has asserted that liberals or the left want the United States "to lose in Iraq" in addition to the Pelosi example cited above:

  • O'Reilly has asserted that syndicated columnist Helen Thomas, and "a segment of the media" are "trying to undermine the policy in Iraq for their own ideological purposes." O'Reilly continued: "It's no longer dissent. It's no longer skepticism. It's, 'We want to undermine it.' " [The O'Reilly Factor, 3/21/06]
  • O'Reilly has accused The New York Times, which he claims is liberal, of "hat[ing] Bush so much" that the paper "wants the USA to lose the conflict in Iraq." [The O'Reilly Factor, 10/17/05]
  • While praising Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) for not being "a cut-and-run guy," O'Reilly accused "[t]he loony left" of not "car[ing] about the country," "want[ing] the country damaged," "rooting for the enemy," and "want[ing] the Bush administration to lose" in Iraq. [The O'Reilly Factor, 8/10/2005]
  • O'Reilly has declared: "I've been telling you for more than a year now that some on the far left want the USA to lose the war in Iraq and not do very well in the war on terror." During the same broadcast, O'Reilly also said that "Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, The New York Times, the L.A. Times, Stuart Smalley [comedian Al Franken], the Air America crew all want President Bush" to lose "the war in Iraq." [The O'Reilly Factor, 3/16/2005]
  • O'Reilly has insisted that "there are some Americans who actually want the USA to lose in Iraq, primarily so that President Bush will look bad. Few will admit that, but it does exist, primarily on the far left." [The O'Reilly Factor, 12/17/04]
  • O'Reilly has also contrasted numerous "media and politicians" -- including the Public Broadcasting Service, former MSNBC host Phil Donahue, the Los Angeles Times, and Newsday -- who want the United States "[t]o lose in Iraq" with Fox News, which "want[s] the USA to win." [The O'Reilly Factor, 7/26/2004]

From the July 18 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: John Schneider, Cedar Rapids, Iowa: "Bill, you continue to say that liberal America wishes to see America lose the war in Iraq."

I know it's hot in Iowa, sir, but you need to lay off the Kool-Aid and stay off the dishonest websites. I've never said liberal America wants the USA to lose in Iraq. Never.

From the October 17, 2005, edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: In the "Impact" segment tonight, estimates are more than 60 percent of voters in Iraq turned out Saturday, that's better than our presidential election. Also the White House is reintroducing Harriet Miers. And gas prices continue to cripple the president's popularity. Joining us now from Washington: Fox News analyst Newt Gingrich.

All right. Let's knock them down. Not a lot of coverage of the Iraq constitutional election. The New York Times -- a little bit, but not a lot. And I think it's because there is a minority, it's a minority, but a powerful one that wants the USA to lose the conflict in Iraq. They hate Bush so much that they put that hatred above the good of the country. Do you believe that?

From the August 10, 2005, edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Well, I can tell you about Lieberman and if Brooks won't, I will. Lieberman supported the Iraq War and still supports it in the sense that he's not a cut and run guy. He understands that would hurt the country, which most political scientists do. The loony left doesn't care about the country, they want the country damaged. They're rooting for the enemy. We all know that. We've proven that over and over and over.

They want the United States to be humiliated, they want the Bush administration to lose, they want to elect Howard Dean president or whoever's going to do their far left bidding. And they're, that's what they are. Now they have a deep, deep in road into the Democratic Party with Dean being the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

From the July 26, 2005, edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: One major casualty in the war on terror is the liberal press in the USA. Don't believe the right-wing ideologues when they tell you the left still controls the media agenda. It does not any longer. It's a fact.

As we predicted, Michael Kinsley has been removed as editorial director of the L.A. Times just days after the editor of that paper stepped down. As you may know, the circulation of the very liberal Times is falling fast.

The liberal stronghold PBS has been shaken up big time. Bill Moyers is gone. And the new management is Republican. Many on the left are crazed over that.

The Air America radio network continues to fail with catastrophic ratings here in New York City, perhaps the most liberal market in the country. The circulations of long time liberal newspapers like The Boston Globe and Newsday are falling. And there is not one successful standalone liberal commentator on cable television, not one. Phil Donahue was fired for low ratings at MSNBC, but was actually much more successful than what they put in his place.

Meantime, the Fox News Channel continues to prosper. The Factor has been the top-rated cable news program for 195 weeks straight.

[...]

O'REILLY: Media and politicians who continue to run down the USA for ideological reasons will continue to be punished in the marketplace. "Talking Points" applauds dissent, but it must be done for the good of the country, not to disparage it.

Finally, anyone who watches the Factor knows we scrutinize all sides. We have heavily criticized the Bush administration for its weak border policies and its terrible energy strategy. "Talking Points" will also hold Mr. Bush accountable for Iraq. He got us into that conflict. Now, he must do everything he can to win it. To lose in Iraq is simply unacceptable and would put all of us in even more danger.

But we want the USA to win. And that separates us from some far left elements. We believe the USA remains a noble country, fighting a very vicious enemy. We've made our stand on that belief. And the results speak for themselves. And that's the Memo.

From the March 16, 2005, edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: In the "Personal Story" Segment tonight: I've been telling you for more than a year now that some on the far left want the USA to lose the war in Iraq and not do very well in the war on terror. Now that's just my opinion. I could be wrong, as always. But listen to this exchange between [Comedy Central host] Jon Stewart and Democrat Nancy Soderberg, who has worked as a high-ranking foreign policy official in the Clinton administration.

[begin video clip]

SODERBERG: As a Democrat, you don't want anything nice to happen to the Republicans, and you don't want them to have progress, but, as an American, you hope good things would happen.

I think the way to look at it is they can't take credit for every good thing that happens, but they need to be able to manage it. I think that there is also going on in the Middle East peace process -- they may well have a chance to do a historic deal with the Palestinians and Israelis.

These guys could really pull of a whole --

STEWART: This could be unbelievable.

[crosstalk]

SODERBERG: -- here which -- it may well work. I think that --

STEWART: Oh, my God. These guys -- you know --

SODERBERG: -- it's scary for Democrats.

[begin video clip]

O'REILLY: All right. Scary for Democrats.

Joining us now from Washington is Nancy Soderberg, the author of the book The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might.

You know, I like Stewart. I think Stewart's an honest guy. He's a liberal guy, a Democrat, and he got the message right away and not -- you're not the only guest that he's also said this to, that the Bush administration may win big in the Middle East and in the war on terror. If so, it makes it very difficult for Democrats to get elected in 2008.

Now, because of that reality, don't you feel that some Democrats are rooting for the Bush administration to lose in Iraq and, indeed, even in the war on terror?

[...]

O'REILLY: All right. Let -- let me stop you there. So you think Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, The New York Times, the L.A. Times, Stuart Smalley [Air America Radio host Al Franken], the Air America crew all want President Bush to succeed in Iraq in the war on terror? Really?

SODERBERG: I do. I do, and that's -- you know, and the reason is it's good for them, it's good for America. We don't want to have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars and lose more lives in Iraq.

O'REILLY: Then why don't they ever say that, Ms. Soderberg?

SODERBERG: Well, I think --

O'REILLY: If that were true, why have the --

SODERBERG: -- they're -- I think they're concerned --

O'REILLY: They have never --

SODERBERG: No, no, no. They're concerned about the -- they're concerned about how the war was handled, how it's done. They want America to get it right, not wrong. They feel Bush has gotten it wrong in the last four years. That's a lot of what the book is about.

What -- it's also Democrats have a successful second -- if Bush has a successful second term, Democrats can get back to the facts in 2008. They were never able to get to the facts in 2008 because the Bush campaign ran a campaign of scaring the American public into thinking Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11 when he did not, that they were going to be attacked again if they elected John Kerry.

So it will be good for Democrats if he can get back to the facts and have a campaign on the merits.

O'REILLY: All right, but I want to get back to your -- I'm -- you know, this is the second time I've been stunned. The first time was we had a debate earlier in the program where a University of Virginia professor told us that The New York Times isn't a left-wing newspaper, and, I mean, we're sitting here going --

I guess it's a matter of definition, but I am amazed that you're sitting there telling me that you believe that all of the people I cited want the United States to win the war in Iraq. See, I don't believe that for one second.

From the December 17, 2004, edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Now, no clear-thinking American could ever want any fellow citizen to be hurt the way these people have been hurt. And therein lies the paradox. Millions of Americans are against the war in Iraq, but that dissent must be respected.

Also, there are some Americans who actually want the USA to lose in Iraq, primarily so that President Bush will look bad. Few will admit that, but it does exist, primarily on the far left.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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