O'Reilly again falsely claimed NY Times editorial board "sitting ... out" Israel-Hezbollah conflict to avoid "alienat[ing] their liberal Jewish base"

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly apparently modified his false claim that the New York Times' editorial board is "sitting ... out" the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, stating that the Times was "basically sitting ... out" [emphasis added] the issue. Yet during the same day's edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly repeated his previous claim that the Times was "absolutely sitting it out editorially." In fact, the Times has now published four editorials on the conflict.

Less than one week after falsely claiming that The New York Times' editorial writers are "sitting ... out" the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah because the paper fears alienating its purported liberal Jewish base, Bill O'Reilly appeared to modify his theory during the July 24 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show. As Media Matters for America noted, the Times had already written three editorials on the subject when O'Reilly made his original claim on July 19. On the July 24 Radio Factor, O'Reilly modified his claim, stating that the Times was "basically sitting ... out" [emphasis added] the issue. Apparently to support his claim, O'Reilly read a portion of a July 18 Times editorial, which he deemed "just garbage." Yet during the same day's edition of The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, O'Reilly repeated his false claim from the previous week, again asserting that The New York Times was "absolutely sitting [the conflict] out editorially." In fact, the Times has now published four editorials on the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

While interviewing Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III, O'Reilly stated: "The New York Times is sitting this [conflict] out, absolutely sitting it out editorially. And I believe it's because they don't want to alienate their liberal Jewish base here in New York City. Am I wrong?" In fact, the Times has now run four different editorials on the subject, published on July 13, 15, 18, and 21. In its latest editorial, the Times urged a cease-fire between Lebanon and Israel, a U.N.-backed peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, and the disarming of Hezbollah.

Earlier in the day on the Radio Factor, O'Reilly made a less categorical statement, quoting from portions of a July 18 Times editorial on the subject, and declaring the editorial "garbage":

O'REILLY: New York Times basically sitting it out. They want -- New York Times, let me give you a quote: "Hezbollah should disarm its private militia, stop operating as a state within a state in southern Lebanon." Now, why even write that? Let me, let me read it again. "Hezbollah should disarm its private militia, stop operating as a state within a state in southern Lebanon." Why even bother writing that tripe? Of course they should, you know. All terrorism should stop immediately. Right this minute. Why write it? Why bother? You know, hurting people's eyes with that kind of stuff. It's just garbage. They have nothing.

From the July 24 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, featuring Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III:

O'REILLY: OK. Last question for you. The New York Times is sitting this out, absolutely sitting it out editorially. And I believe it's because they don't want to alienate their liberal Jewish base here in New York City. Am I wrong?

BOZELL: No, well, except I hope they do sit it out, because when they do write things, you tend to smash your head against a wall. Like the piece the other day worrying about the asymmetry, wondering if Israel was being unfair in the war against Lebanon.

O'REILLY: But a lot of people are wondering that, whether they should attack Beirut in civilian style. That's a legitimate question.

BOZELL: When you're in a war, you try to win. You don't try to be fair.

O'REILLY: OK, but. You can't -- there are even rules of engagement in a war.

From the July 24 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: OK. How's the, how's the press covering the start of World War III? Actually, it isn't the start. About a year ago, I said it was World War III, and now it's being picked up by a lot of people. But the press is in an interesting situation, the American press, here. You basically have the liberal newspapers taking it on the chin like crazy. Their circulation is plummeting. All right. In Los Angeles, in Boston, in New York, they're getting hammered. Because people -- although Americans are divided over Iraq and some other things the Bush administration has done, basically 90 percent of Americans, I believe -- maybe 80, maybe 80 percent -- all right, are really frightened about this Islamofascism business. Because they understand that these people are bent on destruction. It's just the same as it was before World War II.

And Americans, you know, we're worried here. And the liberal newspapers, of course, add nothing to their security in the sense that they don't put forth any solutions. All right. I'm gonna read you some of the stuff that's just absolutely incredible.

However, the major newspapers, the major liberal newspapers, The New York Times, the L.A. Times, and The Washington Post, they gotta be really careful here because their base are liberal, Jewish Americans. That's their -- that's all they have left. OK. That's it. I mean, as far as big groups are concerned. Liberal, Jewish Americans, particularly in New York and Los Angeles, are the primary customers of those newspapers. If the newspapers go off the rails and start to say, "Well, Israel is wrong and Israel this, Israel that," they're out of business.

The New York Times, stunningly, basically hasn't put forth anything. They don't say anything.

[...]

However, there are some news organizations that don't wanna be fair. Because all they do is -- you know, look at The Guardian in London. I mean, it's ridiculous. Everything's Israel's fault. Everything. You know, Israel should just stand there and let 13,000 rockets be transported and set up on their border with Lebanon, sure. You know, what country would do that? It's just insane. But The Guardian wants that to happen.

New York Times basically sitting it out. They want -- New York Times, let me give you a quote: "Hezbollah should disarm its private militia, stop operating as a state within a state in southern Lebanon." Now, why even write that? Let me, let me read it again. "Hezbollah should disarm its private militia, stop operating as a state within a state in southern Lebanon." Why even bother writing that tripe? Of course they should, you know. All terrorism should stop immediately. Right this minute. Why write it? Why bother? You know, hurting people's eyes with that kind of stuff. It's just garbage. They have nothing.

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