In a July 20 entry to his Politico.com blog, Politico senior political writer Ben Smith linked to a statement in which Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) urged her presidential campaign supporters to petition Fox News host Bill O'Reilly to "stop smearing grassroots progressives" in light of his recent persistent comparisons of the blog Daily Kos to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. Smith added: "Hillary seems to be breaching what had been an unspoken non-aggression (or, rather, less-aggression) pact between the Clintons and O'Reilly employer (and Glover Park Group client) News Corp." In fact, Media Matters for America has documented many recent examples of News Corp. media outlets and their employees -- including the New York Post and Weekly Standard -- and Fox News personalities, including O'Reilly, making false, misleading, or outrageous claims about Hillary Clinton.
For example, on the Fox News program Hannity's America, host Sean Hannity has broadcast an ongoing series titled "The Clinton Chapters" that often contains misinformation about Clinton. During one recent segment, Hannity asserted that "Whitewater and the death of Vince Foster" are "chapters remaining open" for Clinton. Foster served as deputy White House counsel early in the Clinton administration, and his death has been conclusively determined to be a suicide. Moreover, after extensive investigations, three different Republican independent counsels determined there was insufficient evidence to bring any charges against the Clintons in the Whitewater matter. On the July 19 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Hannity promised to discuss "the strange and unanswered questions involving the death of Vince Foster" on the July 22 edition of Hannity's America.
Media Matters for America challenged a previous claim by Smith in an April 10 Politico article that Fox News' coverage of Hillary Clinton "has been largely respectful." In that article, Smith claimed that the Clintons and News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch "have emerged as allies at times in recent years," citing Murdoch's September 2005 appearance at former President Bill Clinton's Clinton Global Initiative conference and the former president "even employing Murdoch's daughter-in-law at his foundation":
Bill Clinton and News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch have emerged as allies at times in recent years, with Murdoch appearing at Clinton's annual New York conference, and Clinton even employing Murdoch's daughter-in-law at his foundation.
Fox's coverage of the Clintons, too, while rarely warm, has been largely respectful, and appears to have retreated from the stridently anti-Clinton line of the 1990s. Last year, Murdoch's New York Post even endorsed Hillary Clinton for reelection to the Senate. In 2005, Bill Clinton recorded a message of praise for Ailes for a gala at which the former Republican political operative was honored.
O'Reilly's comments about Hillary Clinton include:
- On January 30, O'Reilly claimed that Clinton "just look[ed] like a zombie" during part of President Bush's January 2007 State of the Union address.
- On the August 21, 2006, broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, O'Reilly would not accept the results of a Time magazine poll that found that 53 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Clinton because, O'Reilly claimed, the poll is "not scientific, in my opinion." O'Reilly did not explain his reasons for doubting the scientific merit of the Time survey, which was conducted by polling firm Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas Inc. (SRBI) from a random sample of adults nationwide.
- O'Reilly claimed on April 3, 2006, that if Clinton were to become president, "the first thing [Osama] bin Laden and his killers are gonna do is say, 'Oh yeah, this is good,' " because they would consider Clinton "weak" enough that they could "test her."
- On March 23, 2006, O'Reilly said that Clinton supports "things most Christians do not."
- In May 2006, O'Reilly even admitted that "maybe" he has "been a little unfair to Mrs. Clinton."
Among other Fox News personalities and News Corp. outlets:
- On the July 1 edition of Hannity's America, Hannity misrepresented quotes from Clinton to claim she has "socialist views and intentions," and on the June 17 edition of the show, he cropped a quote from Clinton to accuse her of "hypocrisy" on Iraq.
- On the March 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Hannity falsely claimed Clinton called herself the "JFK of 2008," and baselessly asserted that Clinton's presidential campaign was behind the posting on YouTube of a 1989 video of Rudy Giuliani expressing support for Medicaid-funded abortions.
- On the March 6 edition of Fox News Live, host E.D. Hill said of Clinton's "Southern drawl": "[I]f she was attending, say, a GLAAD convention, would she speak with a lisp?"
- On the February 21 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron assigned racially charged comments to the "Clinton campaign."
- On the February 17 edition of Fox News' Journal Editorial Report, members of the Wall Street Journal editorial page staff selectively quoted Clinton to claim she is "disingenuous" and "supported the [Iraq] war" in 2004.
- During a discussion on the June 14 edition MSNBC's Tucker, Weekly Standard senior editor Andrew Ferguson said of Clinton and liberal Protestants, "[T]hey believe in everything but God."
- A May 17 New York Post editorial accused Clinton and other Democratic candidates for president of "not support[ing] the troops" in their support for Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-WI) proposal to discontinue the use of funds after March 31, 2008, for "the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces."
- In an April 27 New York Post column on the previous day's Democratic presidential debate, Republican strategist Rich Galen falsely suggested that, in contrast with Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), Sens. Clinton and Barack Obama (D-IL) did not mention using military force when asked "how [each would] change the U.S. military stance overseas" in the event of an Al Qaeda attack in the United States.
From Smith's July 20 post to his Politico.com blog:
In going after Bill O'Reilly with increasing vigor, Hillary seems to be breaching what had been an unspoken non-aggression (or, rather, less-aggression) pact between the Clintons and O'Reilly employer (and Glover Park Group client) News Corp.