Bill O'Reilly baselessly attacked Oregonian columnist Peter Ames Carlin for "vilifying" O'Reilly "by using far-left website propaganda material." Carlin had written a column noting specific examples of O'Reilly's personal attacks, many of which Media Matters had previously documented.
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On the August 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly baselessly attacked Oregonian columnist Peter Ames Carlin for "vilifying" O'Reilly "by using far-left website propaganda material." As Media Matters for America noted, O'Reilly previously branded Carlin a "far-left TV writer" who is "rarely fair" after Carlin wrote a July 26 column describing O'Reilly as "an expert employer of personal attacks." At the time, O'Reilly criticized Carlin for "fail[ing] to provide any examples to back up his attack." On August 1, O'Reilly went after Carlin's July 31 column, in which Carlin responded to O'Reilly's complaint by noting specific examples of O'Reilly's personal attacks, many of which Media Matters had previously documented with transcripts and -- in all but one case -- audio or video of O'Reilly's remarks. Nevertheless, O'Reilly dismissed the instances Carlin cited as "propaganda material" that the "unprofessional" Carlin had obtained from a "far-left website," and advised Carlin to "[d]o your own reporting" because "[t]hat's what your newspaper pays you to do."
Additionally, on the same day's broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, O'Reilly "affectionately" called Carlin an "idiot" and asserted that The Oregonian "just throw[s] anything in there [the paper], they don't back it up, they don't care. It's like search and destroy."
In his July 31 column, Carlin responded to O'Reilly's criticism of his July 26 column, writing that "[l]ast week must have been slow" for O'Reilly "when it comes to maintaining a sense of outrage," because "O'Reilly had to dig down to the bottom of my July 26 column in order to find a reference I'd made to the expert way he uses personal criticism as a way to make his political targets seem even more villainous than they might otherwise be." Carlin noted that O'Reilly "seemed mostly miffed that I had 'failed to provide any examples to back up his attack.'" Carlin asserted that O'Reilly issues personal attacks so frequently that "it hardly seemed worth the ink to get into cases," but then provided a number of examples that Media Matters has previously documented with transcripts and, in all but one case, audio or video:
Which he does so often, in fact, it hardly seemed worth the ink to get into cases. Like the way he called Sen. Hillary Clinton "a left-wing nut," or much-decorated Vietnam veteran Sen. John Kerry "a sissy" or Pulitzer-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof "nuts."
Carlin also asserted that "[t]he last time I ran afoul of O'Reilly he took to the radio to call me 'mentally unbalanced' " and concluded of the examples O'Reilly demanded: "Well, there they are, Bill."
O'Reilly's feud with Carlin appears to have started in August 2003, when Carlin wrote a column noting O'Reilly's false claim that Inside Edition, a TV show for which O'Reilly had served as anchor and correspondent, won a Peabody Award (in fact, Inside Edition won a George Polk Award, not a Peabody Award, and the award-winning segment aired after O'Reilly left the show). In an August 26, 2003, column, Carlin wrote that O'Reilly left a message on Carlin's voice mail demanding that he correct the statement that O'Reilly "repeatedly said" he won a Peabody Award. Carlin wrote: "The TV star didn't leave his number, and the Fox News Channel spokesman he told me to contact not only went immediately off the record but also said the host would not be calling me back. O'Reilly eventually did call my editors to explain his interpretation of the affair." Carlin pointed out that "O'Reilly boasted about the 'Inside Edition' awards on at least three occasions in 1999 and 2000, usually while parrying attacks on his career and the caliber of his work," and wrote that O'Reilly's complaints appeared to be "a noisy diversion designed to distract people" from Al Franken's book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right (Dutton, 2003), which was critical of O'Reilly.
From the August 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: One final note on the print side. A little advice to Oregonian TV writer Peter Ames Carlin: Vilifying me by using far-left website propaganda material, as you continue to do, is unprofessional, sir. Do your own reporting. That's what your newspaper pays you to do. Otherwise, it's ridiculous.
From the August 1 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: The idiot out in The Oregonian -- and I say "idiot" affectionately because I'm sure he knows he is -- Peter Ames Carlin. I mean, this guy -- this is just -- he's like one of a thousand, this guy. You guys listening to me on [Portland, Oregon, radio station] KXL know what I'm talking about. They just throw anything in there, they don't back it up, they don't care. It's like search and destroy -- bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. Is it worth it? Yeah, it's worth it. I wouldn't do it if it wasn't. I chose my profession, I don't have to do this. Well paid for my grief.