Hall on O'Reilly's accusation that cable news is ignoring Medal of Honor: "It's not true"

››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

On the October 25 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, in response to the accusation, which host Bill O'Reilly has made repeatedly, that the media are ignoring the Medal of Honor ceremony for Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL killed during a rescue mission in Afghanistan in 2005 and the first service member to receive the honor for the war in Afghanistan, Fox News contributor Jane Hall said, "I've got to tell you, CNN covered this at 7 o'clock. MSNBC covered it live. You all covered it live. CNN covered it multiple times." Hall added, "I don't think it's fair to say what you're trying to say about cable. It's not true," and later stated, "They must have covered it 10 times during the day, Bill." O'Reilly responded, "OK, Jane, you can stop talking now. The segment's over."

On his October 23 and 24 programs, O'Reilly accused the media of ignoring the Murphy story and specifically criticized MSNBC and CNN for not covering it in prime time. In the introduction to his "Weekdays with Bernie and Jane" segment on the October 25 edition of the program, O'Reilly asserted, "In prime-time TV land, only Fox News covered the story on cable." However, while neither MSNBC nor CNN covered the story in prime time, both networks aired numerous reports on the ceremony throughout the day on October 22, the day it was awarded. MSNBC reported on Murphy at least five times -- including broadcasting the award ceremony live -- and CNN covered the Murphy story on at least seven distinct occasions, as Media Matters for America noted.

Later, O'Reilly asserted, "Now, this was brutal, this Lieutenant Michael Murphy thing, Jane. I mean, come on." Hall responded, "I disagree with you." When Hall noted the MSNBC and CNN coverage of the story, O'Reilly asserted, "Not in prime time, where the audience is." Hall responded, "I think -- you're saying they didn't cover it in the slice you defined. They covered it a lot." O'Reilly responded, "We did the right thing. The prime-time cables didn't mention it. Prime time, where the audience is. That's where the eyeballs are, Jane." When Hall protested, "But the newscasts covered it, Bill," O'Reilly repeated, "Sorry, the eyeballs are there."

Also during the segment, Fox News contributor Bernie Golberg asserted, "If anything that's going to make the military look good, or the commander in chief by extension ... they're not going to do it." Similarly, on the October 23 edition of the program, O'Reilly asserted, "The hard truth is that MSNBC and CNN are not going to report stories that reflect well on the American military because those people over there despise the Bush administration and believe anything positive like American heroes in war zones detract from their negative assessment of the administration."

From the October 25 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.

In the "Weekdays with Bernie and Jane" segment tonight, two hot stories. First of all, The New York Times did 63 front-page stories about the Abu Ghraib atrocity but buried coverage of Lieutenant Michael Murphy receiving the Medal of Honor. In prime-time TV land, only Fox News covered the story on cable.

[...]

O'REILLY: Now, this was brutal, this Lieutenant Michael Murphy thing, Jane. I mean, come on. I've got to tell you what --

HALL: I just really --I disagree with you.

O'REILLY: The only Medal of Honor winner in Afghanistan. The only one. The subject of a best-selling book, Lone Survivor. And you don't mention it in prime time? And you bury it in The New York Times?

HALL: Bill, I've got to tell you --

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

HALL: I've got to tell you, you know, I think The New York Times should have put it on the front page. But I've got to tell you, CNN covered this at 7 o'clock. MSNBC covered it live. You all covered it live. CNN covered it multiple times. I mean, there was also the California fires.

O'REILLY: Not in prime time, where the audience is.

HALL: No, wait, wait. Let me finish. Hannity & Colmes and Greta [van Susteren, Fox News host] didn't cover it. I mean, does that prove something? No, I don't think so. I think -- you're saying they didn't cover it in the slice you defined. They covered it a lot.

O'REILLY: Look, I'm not saying -- I'm saying we led with it. We did a responsible coverage with it.

HALL: Right.

O'REILLY: We did the right thing. The prime-time cables didn't mention it. Prime time, where the audience is. That's where the eyeballs are, Jane.

HALL: But the newscasts covered it, Bill.

O'REILLY: Sorry, the eyeballs are there.

HALL: So, are Hannity & Colmes --

O'REILLY: They had three hours. Both networks had three hours, Bernie, and they passed for garbage. They had nothing else.

HALL: But -- so Greta has some sort of left-wing agenda?

O'REILLY: Greta is not a political program. Greta does prime stories and this kinds of stuff.

What do you say, Bernie?

GOLDBERG: Bill, You can always tell what a newspaper thinks is important by what it puts on Page 1 and how many times it puts it there.

As you said, The New York Times put Abu Ghraib on Page 1 over 60 times. And it put it on Page 1 over 30 times in a row. That would make Abu Ghraib just about the most important story of all time.

That's not news coverage; that's -- that's an editorial masquerading as news.

And now -- and now the most important newspaper on the planet relegates the Medal of Honor story to the Metro section? You can tell -- and by the way, and CNN doesn't put it on in prime time or MSNBC.

You can tell what a news organization thinks is important by how it covers a story, and you can tell what it finds trivial and unimportant by what it ignores. And this is a good example.

O'REILLY: All right.

GOLDBERG: But there's one extra, very brief point. If anything that's going to make the military look good, or the commander in chief by extension --

O'REILLY: Right. They're not going to do it.

GOLDBERG: -- is not going to get -- they're not going to do it.

O'REILLY: And that's the bottom line, Jane.

HALL: I agree with you about The New York Times, but I don't think it's fair to say what you're trying to say about cable. It's not true.

O'REILLY: Come on. All right, Jane.

HALL: It's not. I mean, they gave a lot of coverage to it.

O'REILLY: Jane, there's nothing I can do. I can't do anything. I can't.

HALL: I agree with you about The New York Times, Bill, but not this.

O'REILLY: I can't. I've tried. Week after week, Jane, I've tried. But I respect your opinion, Jane.

HALL: I tried. I tried.

O'REILLY: Three hours -- each of them had three hours.

HALL: They did a lot.

O'REILLY: And they couldn't give it 10 seconds in prime time. They had three hours, each of them. Bernie, Jane, everybody. There they are.

HALL: They must have covered it 10 times during the day, Bill.

O'REILLY: OK, Jane, you can stop talking now. The segment's over. We'll see you guys next week.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly
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The O'Reilly Factor
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