Bill O'Reilly used both his radio and TV programs to attack former Vice President Al Gore for delivering a July 19 speech at the Netroots Nation conference, calling Gore an "evil enabler" and repeatedly comparing the event to gatherings by the Ku Klux Klan, Nazi Party, and David Duke. O'Reilly made his attacks on Gore and the Netroots conference after asserting that the blog Daily Kos posted "hateful e-mails" about Tony Snow. But while O'Reilly repeatedly linked Netroots Nation to Daily Kos, Daily Kos was not an official organizer or sponsor of the Netroots convention.
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After asserting that the blog Daily Kos posted "hateful e-mails" about the late former White House press secretary and host of Fox News Sunday Tony Snow, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly called former Vice President Al Gore an "evil enabler" for delivering a July 19 speech at the Netroots Nation convention and repeatedly compared the event to gatherings by the Ku Klux Klan, Nazi Party, and David Duke. According to the group's website, Netroots Nation "amplifies progressive voices by providing an online and in-person campus for exchanging ideas and learning how to be more effective in using technology to influence the public debate. Within that campus, we strengthen community, inspire action and serve as an incubator for progressive ideas that challenge the status quo and ultimately affect change in the public sphere." O'Reilly did not explain why alleged comments by readers of Daily Kos -- a website that is not officially associated with the convention -- justified his attacks on the Netroots convention, or on Gore for addressing it.
Further, while Netroots Nation is the successor to the YearlyKos convention, named for original sponsor Daily Kos, Netroots Nation is operated by Bloggerpower.org and the Netroots Arts and Education Initiative, not Daily Kos. (Convention marketing director Mary Rickles wrote in a letter posted to the blog of Chicago Sun-Times Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet: "The YearlyKos Convention is actually organized by a group of volunteers unaffiliated with Markos Moulitsas and Daily Kos. ... Kos Media LLC simply lent bloggerpower permission to use the Kos name in the title of the convention in its early years.") Further, though O'Reilly claimed that Netroots Nation is "sponsored by a website that displayed brutal attacks on Tony Snow" -- an apparent reference to Daily Kos -- neither Daily Kos nor Kos Media LLC is listed among the sponsors for Netroots Nation.
Moreover, O'Reilly did not mention during either his July 21 radio or television broadcasts -- during which he made his comments about Gore's appearance at the convention -- that Gore delivered a speech at Constitution Hall on July 17 -- just days before appearing at the Netroots Nation convention -- Gore said of Snow's passing:
One of my objectives in approaching this climate crisis is to try to lift this as much as possible out of the partisan framework that sometimes is a serious impediment to solving serious problems in our country. Incidentally, I did also want to make special mention of the fact that some of our mutual friends are in mourning today, and I want to extend my best wishes to the family of Tony Snow, whose memorial service just ended a short time ago. And we are keeping his family in our thoughts and prayers.
On the July 21 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor, as noted by the blog Think Progress, O'Reilly said of Gore's appearance at the Netroots conference: "Now he shows up on Saturday at the most hateful -- there is not -- and I'm including the Nazis and the Klan in here -- there is not a more hateful group in the country than these Daily Kos people. Now, will they come to your house and hurt you? I don't know. Probably not. But do they wanna hurt you? Do they say terrible things about Tony Snow when he dies? All day long. Hateful, hateful, hateful. The rhetoric they use and the rhetoric that the Klan and the Nazis use are the same rhetoric. It's hate. Everyone knows that." He added, "Now, why would you go to a convention sponsored by these people when you know that currently on the Kos is stuff about Tony Snow, it's good that he's dead, he's in hell, all of that. But Gore did. Gore went there." Moments later, O'Reilly said, "Al Gore now is done. He's done. Okay? He's not a man of respect. He doesn't have any judgment. The fact that he went to this thing is the same as if he stepped into the Klan gathering. It's the same; there's no difference. None. He loses all credibility with me. All credibility."
Also on his radio show, while talking to Newsday columnist Ellis Henican, O'Reilly again cited Gore's appearance at the Netroots convention and Henican stated: "Well, listen, first of all, I'm way more interested in his message than his audience. OK?" Moments later, O'Reilly compared Gore's appearance at the Netroots conference to an appearance at a "David Duke rally" and asked Henican, "If Al Gore walked into a David Duke rally with his message of global warming, are you going to say the same thing that you just said about the Kos situation?" O'Reilly later asked, "What's the difference?" Henican responded, "Well, there's a major difference. First of all, this group, although there are some elements of it that you can find on somebody's chat room somewhere, some reprehensible thing. But there were, as I understand it, about 2,000 bloggers at this event. ... but they truly, they're a huge ring. Some of them are terrific. Some of them are really smart. Some of them are dopes. Like any group of 2,000 bloggers, right wing or left wing."
Later, while talking with a listener who had called into the show, O'Reilly asked: "If somebody went into a racist concern and gave a speech -- some public servant, somebody who held high office, you'd be the first one -- and rightly so -- to say what the hell is that guy doing at the Klan meeting or at the Duke convention or with the Nazi gathering, wouldn't you?" During a discussion with another another caller, O'Reilly asserted, "And look, the argument in his speech is because Al Gore shows up to the Nazis or to the Klan, he gets killed, all right? They murder him. And he'd never do it. But he shows up to the far-left haters and it's OK. It isn't OK."
That night, on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly devoted the "Unresolved Problem" segment of his show to "giving evil credibility" and after asserting that Daily Kos posted "hateful e-mails about Tony Snow," O'Reilly stated: "The Kos is an evil enterprise. There is no question about it. Guess who showed up at a convention for those haters. Hey, there, Al Gore."
O'Reilly later said: "I have lost respect for the former vice president, who lends his name to the haters." O'Reilly went on to assert: "Now, I don't know whether you saw the postings on the Kos about Tony. I'm not going to read them to the audience, but I will say that they were as hateful as any Nazi thing I've ever seen, any Klan thing I've ever seen. And to have Al Gore show up at their gathering and legitimize it made me sick to my stomach, and I have no respect, nor will I ever have for Al Gore." Continuing to discuss Gore's appearance at the convention, O'Reilly called Gore "an evil enabler" and later said: "These are haters, and Al Gore ought to be ashamed of himself."
On July 23, after O'Reilly said "the fact that Al Gore showed up at a hate convention last weekend sponsored by a website that displayed brutal attacks on Tony Snow soon after he died brought disgrace to the former vice president," he further noted: "I will say the Gore people called us today and said that the former vice president was very concerned, didn't know about the attacks. And we take him at his word." O'Reilly did not, however, retract his comments or apologize for calling Gore an "evil enabler" for appearing at the Netroots convention.
From the July 21 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: Now, I got his book, his movie, all of that. I looked at them. I -- but I never got emotionally involved with Al Gore. Number one, because he never gets into an interview situation where you can ask him any questions; he always goes to people who kiss his butt. And number two, ahhh, you know, he could be a phony. He could be a phony. And I'm not going to get involved with anybody with that potential because it's ridiculous for me to do so. However, I didn't hammer the man and I said that him bringing attention to a cleaner planet was a good thing. Everybody knows that. That's on the record.
OK. Now he shows up on Saturday at the most hateful -- there is not -- and I'm including the Nazis and the Klan in here -- there is not a more hateful group in the country than these Daily Kos people. Now, will they come to your house and hurt you? I don't know. Probably not. But do they wanna hurt you? Do they say terrible things about Tony Snow when he dies? All day long, OK? Hateful, hateful, hateful.
The rhetoric that they use and the rhetoric that the Klan and the Nazis use are the same rhetoric. It's hate. Everyone knows that. Now, why would you go to a convention sponsored by these people when you know that currently on the Kos is stuff about Tony Snow, it's good that he's dead, he's in hell, all of that. But Gore did. Gore went there. So did [Speaker of the House] Nancy Pelosi [D-CA]. That disqualifies Gore from any serious consideration by me in the future. Al Gore now is done. He's done. OK? He -- he's not a man of respect. He doesn't have any judgment. The fact that he went to this thing is the same as if he stepped into the Klan gathering. It's the same No difference. None. OK. He loses all credibility with me. All credibility.
O'REILLY: OK, we're talking about Al Gore, who's lost all credibility by showing up at this hate fest over the weekend. Let's bring in our pal. I was just going to say Al -- Ellis Henican -- I oughta call you Al.
HENICAN: You know --
O'REILLY: Al Ellis Henican.
HENICAN: I can do a lot of things. I can't be Al Gore.
O'REILLY: All right. You're lucky for it. Columnist for Newsday and Fox News analyst. Let's start at the beginning here. When you go -- and I'm sure you do this too because you're a professional, at least most of the time -- when you're invited to speak somewhere, you vet the venue, you have to go -- know who you're going to speak to.
O'REILLY: Every -- every professional does it because you can't get trapped into going into a place that has, you know, criminal ties or ties to groups that are, you know, unsavory. So you vet it. So then we have to assume that Gore knew exactly where he was going. Exactly. I mean -- you know -- exactly what these -- now, did he know how vile it is? Probably not, but that's no excuse. He's going into the most extreme elements -- most hateful elements of this country right now. And then he's spitting out this stupid stuff about, you know, selling oil to China and all this other stuff. So, I mean, you gonna defend this?
HENICAN: Well, listen, first of all, I'm way more interested in his message than his audience. OK?
HENICAN: And I'm going -- I'm going to appeal to your better nature on this thing because you actually do have some history of being pretty good on environmental stuff, and I am frankly concerned listening to you for the past few minutes that you may be walking away from that, you may be --
O'REILLY: No, I'm not walking away from the cleaner planet thing. But you're from Louisiana.
HENICAN: You may be -- Good. I am. We have oil there too.
O'REILLY: And -- and -- and so is David Duke. And if --
HENICAN: Wait, wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait. What are you -- what are you -- what are you suggesting?
O'REILLY: Well, let me get out my question. So is David Duke --
HENICAN: And so are a lot of good people too.
O'REILLY: So if Al Gore walked into a David Duke rally --
O'REILLY: -- with his message of global warming, are you going to say the same thing that you just said about the Kos situation?
HENICAN: Listen, first -- first of all --
O'REILLY: Are you gonna say the same thing?
HENICAN: I'm gonna -- I'm gonna tell you. First of all, I like talking to people that I disagree with. In fact, you may notice from time to time I visit with you. It is interesting -- way more interesting to talk to people that you do have disagreements with. But as to the message that Gore made there --
O'REILLY: What about David Duke? I thought you were gonna answer that question.
HENICAN: Well, I'll talk to Duke. Bring him on. Get him on the horn right now.
O'REILLY: All right.
HENICAN: I'll debate him.
O'REILLY: So if you saw Al Gore go into David Duke's organization --
HENICAN: Oh, goodness.
O'REILLY: -- with a message of global warming, that would not concern you.
HENICAN: He -- listen, I would be happy right now to have a debate with David Duke. I have no trouble with that. He doesn't scare me.
O'REILLY: There's a difference between debate and lending credibility --
HENICAN: Right. Right. Absolutely.
O'REILLY: -- lending credibility --
HENICAN: I would -- right.
O'REILLY: -- to the organization.
HENICAN: I would not endorse David Duke. I wouldn't say that his views are my views. Because I think they're pretty reprehensible.
O'REILLY: Do you think that Al Gore would go into a David Duke rally?
HENICAN: Probably he wouldn't be invited. It's hard to imagine --
O'REILLY: Well, if he was invited. I think I could get Duke to invite him.
HENICAN: I -- He probably wouldn't, that's right.
O'REILLY: OK, he would not. So what's the difference?
HENICAN: Well, there's a major difference. First of all, this group, although there are some elements of it that you can find on somebody's chat room somewhere --
O'REILLY: No, no. This was front and center.
HENICAN: -- some reprehensible thing. But there were, as I understand it, about 2,000 bloggers at this event --
HENICAN: Well, I mean, you know, but they truly, they're a huge ring. Some of them are terrific. Some of them are really smart. Some of them are dopes. Like any group of 2,000 bloggers, right wing or left wing.
O'REILLY: But did you see what they said about Tony Snow last week?
HENICAN: You know, I saw quotes from like the -- like the chat room, or the back --
O'REILLY: No, no, no -- this is front and center.
HENICAN: -- the people weighing in --
O'REILLY: No, no, no. This is front and center on their website. This is what they do.
HENICAN: I will -- I will concede to you that no doubt among those 2,000 bloggers, there were some who've written on their blogs things that you and I would find reprehensible.
O'REILLY: No but look, look. The Huffington --
HENICAN: I'm sure that's true.
O'REILLY: No, no, you're rationalizing. The Huffington Post stopped it all.
O'REILLY: They wouldn't post any of that hate stuff against Tony.
HENICAN: OK, sure.
O'REILLY: All right? The Kos reveled in it.
O'REILLY: So you're telling me that a former vice president of the United States should have leant his credibility to that organization.
HENICAN: I do not believe that I need, nor does Al Gore, nor you -- need to take responsibility for every single thing that every single member --
HENICAN: -- because you can't. You cannot possibly --
O'REILLY: You know. I think you're --
HENICAN: -- be responsible for it all.
O'REILLY: -- defined by the person --
O'REILLY: -- people you hang around with.
HENICAN: No. Not when you're in the rhetoric business.
HENICAN: You do your best to out-argue them, to out-debate them --
O'REILLY: All right.
HENICAN: -- and to convince people that you're right and they're wrong.
CALLER: Well, my point about Gore is I just think that you're a little bit unfair in this -- in this same context because this is your friend. I mean, if it were --
O'REILLY: No, it's not that. If it were anybody else who died -- and the vile stuff posted -- when Dick Cheney had a heart attack, and I don't have any use for the vice president, everyone knows that, I said the same thing. You don't revel in other people's pain and destruction. And look, Bill, if -- are you an African American?
O'REILLY: OK. If somebody went into a racist concern and gave a speech -- some public servant, somebody who held high office, you'd be the first one -- and rightly so -- to say what the hell is that guy doing at the Klan meeting or at the Duke convention or with the Nazi gathering, wouldn't you?
CALLER: Yes and no. And let me explain.
O'REILLY: All right. Well, give me the no. Give me the no. Why wouldn't you -- why wouldn't you condemn that?
CALLER: OK. I have often said I would love to go speak to go and speak to David Duke because --
O'REILLY: But that's a personal thing. That's what Ellis said. And -- and I think you guys are both right to do that. I mean, I had Duke on my program and I laid him out. There's nothing wrong with that. But to lend that -- look, Gore didn't go into this Kos convention to confront them. He went in to pander to them. Don't you see that?
CALLER: See but I also think that you're unfair in terms of what is posted on -- on the webs. And I know your whole campaign against it.
O'REILLY: Well, if I'm so unfair, then why did the Huffington Post do a 180? Why did they do everything I told them to do when it came to Tony Snow? Because they knew I was right. They knew that allowing people to vent hate -- and I mean real, rank, vile hate -- hate is hate, Bill, whether it's directed toward African-Americans or Tony Snow. Hate is hate. There's no difference, OK?
And I told Ariana Huffington, listen, lady, if you continue to traffic in this, I'm going to continue to expose you. Now Ariana Huffington, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt, sat down -- she's not a stupid woman -- and said, "You know, O'Reilly's right. I'll never admit it. But I'm going to change my tact on the Huffington Post," and they did. They did. But not the other ones. They were worse. Hate is hate. And you don't -- if you justify hate in one area, you can't condemn it in any area. And Gore went in there to the most vile hateful website in the country and pandered to them. Period.
CALLER: But I feel like Al Gore is coming from a totally different angle.
O'REILLY: He may be.
CALLER: He's not in the business of trying to decide who's right and who's wrong.
O'REILLY: But then he should be in that business.
CALLER: The thing is --
O'REILLY: Then he's making a terrible mistake. Because as a former vice president, where he shows up matters. He's abdicating his responsibility by lending credibility to a hate group. And, look, the argument is specious because Al Gore shows up to the Nazis or to the Klan, he gets killed, all right? They murder him. And he'd never do it. But he shows up to the far-left haters and it's OK. It isn't OK. We'll be back.
From the July 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us, I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, giving evil credibility. As we mentioned the Huffington Post did not run hateful e-mails about Tony Snow, but the Daily Kos did, allowing bloggers to revel in the man's death and insult his family in a very trying time. The Kos is an evil enterprise. There is no question about it. And guess who showed up at a convention for those haters. Hey, there, Al Gore. He brought this message.
GORE [video clip]: Proposing to -- to get a slight increase in oil drilling for fuel to be sold to China 10 to 15 years from now as a solution to our rising gasoline prices makes about as much sense as responding to an attack from Afghanistan by invading some other country that had absolutely nothing to do with attacking us.
O'REILLY: Now, I've stuck up for Gore in the past, saying that, whether you agree with him or not, his warming crusade brings attention to pollution, which is a good thing. But now I have lost respect for the former vice president, who lent his name to the haters.
Joining us now from Washington, Fox News analyst Mary Katharine Ham and Juan Williams, whom I sat next to at Tony Snow's funeral last Thursday.
Now, I don't know whether you saw the postings on the Kos about Tony. I'm not going to read them to the audience, but I will say that they were as hateful as any Nazi thing I've ever seen, any Klan thing I've ever seen. And to have Al Gore show up at their gathering and legitimize it made me sick to my stomach, and I have no respect, nor will I ever have for Al Gore. What say you?
HAM: Well, I mean, I -- I think it --
O'REILLY: No. I'm going to Juan. I'm going to Juan here.
WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I just -- I don't see why he did it. But on the other hand, I understand the politics of it that they are the base for the Democratic Party, and they drive a lot of the opinion. But I've got to say what they did with regard to Tony, I mean, you know -- you can imagine how I feel. I -- Tony was my friend. So I just don't understand it. And I don't understand why people don't raise their voice when they see something objectionable, they see something hateful. And Al Gore has the standing to say to them that's wrong. He didn't take that opportunity. If he had gone there and spoken to the issue, that would be one thing. He went there like nothing was going on.
O'REILLY: He's a coward. He's a coward, Juan. Look, I'm going to try to be diplomatic here. Gore is a coward. He never goes into forums where he's challenged, ever. He -- if you were to say to Al Gore, Mary Katharine, do you know what the Kos put on about Tony Snow, he would say, "No, I do not," and he would be telling the truth. He doesn't read that crap. He doesn't go in there.
HAM: But --
O'REILLY: -- But the fact is that he doesn't care.
O'REILLY: And all he wants to do is pound home his propaganda in front of audiences that lap it up.
HAM: Right. Yeah. He likes -- he likes to visit The New York Times, the U.N., and Netroots Nation is basically what he does. But this is not just a problem with Tony Snow, as you know. Every time someone gets sick who happens to be right of center or dies who happens to be right of center, they're all over this on -- on the left blogs. And he Huffington Post has gotten a little bit better of it, partly because you keep mentioning it. The Daily Kos has not. And people don't speak out about these things. Democrats behind the scenes get frustrated that these are the people who make up their base, and that this is a political --
O'REILLY: I don't believe that --
HAML -- machine they have to deal with.
O'REILLY: I -- I don't think they make up the
HAM: More reasonable --
O'REILLY: -- base of the Democratic Party. I think they're the extreme wing that's capable of raising money and bringing --
O'REILLY: -- a lot of havoc into somebody's life.
HAM: But it's a machine -- it's a machine they have to deal with, and they're frustrated with that to an extent. But if Obama hadn't been overseas this week, he would have been wrestling with whether he was gonna go --
O'REILLY: He couldn't have gone.
HAM: -- placate them for having moving --
O'REILLY: If -- if --
O'REILLY: Barack Obama
HAM: I think -- I think --
O'REILLY: -- legitimizes that group --
HAM: It's actually convenient he left right before it happened.
O'REILLY: I don't think -- if he -- I know he spoke last year and Hillary Clinton and all the Democratic did. But now it's so bad. It's -- they're so bad that anybody going in there now is going to be branded forever. Am I -- am I wrong here to do this, Juan? I mean, I'm making a judgment that's irrevocable to me. Gore could come in here and explain himself, and I would listen. But as I -- as I said, I stuck up with this guy on the warming thing. I don't agree with everything he says. But I think thought it, you know, it's worthy that were -- that we're talking about it. But now --
WILLIAMS: Oh, sure --
O'REILLY: -- to me --
WILLIAMS: I -- I agree with you.
O'REILLY: -- to me --
WILLIAMS: I think that he --
O'REILLY: To me he's an evil enabler.
WILLIAMS: Well, that's the question. I mean, you said earlier, Bill. You said, you know, he probably could say that he hasn't read all this stuff. He doesn't go there and look at this trash. But the fact is that it's become well-publicized and well-known. That it's the extremist and it's beyond extremist. It's not just --
O'REILLY: No. It's way beyond extremist.
WILLIAMS: It's not just extremist in terms of a political spectrum.
WILLIAMS: It's hateful. It's hateful stuff.
O'REILLY: There's no --
WILLIAMS: Call it what it is.
O'REILLY: Right. There's no doubt.
WILLIAMS: And -- and in the days -- if you said -- you know, if you go back and you look at this historically, you'd say this is what drives people to extreme behavior that, you know, leads to demonizing the "other" in -- in a society --
O'REILLY: And worse.
WILLIAMS: -- and leads to horrible outcomes.
O'REILLY: And worse. And violence.
O'REILLY: Mary Katharine, I'll give you the last word.
HAM: Well just -- I just --
O'REILLY: Am I being too tough on Gore?
HAM: No -- I don't think you're being too tough on Gore. I don't think you're being too tough on them, because this movement is going to burn itself out acting like this. Because there are decent people who have decent -- I don't agree with their ideas at all, but they have -- they just want to go about the political process. And if they don't speak out about this nasty stuff, they're going to burn their entire movement out. And that's just the way that's going to go.
O'REILLY: Well, I don't know with that. Newsweek magazine hired this guy who runs it to actually work for them, so --
HAM: Yes, but if they want to pull the center to -- if they want to pull the country to the left, these are not the people that the country wants to be moving towards.
O'REILLY: They won't. These are haters.
WILLIAMS: Yeah they lose -- they lose credibility.
O'REILLY: Here's -- these are haters, and that -- and Al Gore ought to be ashamed of himself.
From the July 23 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the "Miller Time" segment tonight, as we told you earlier this week, the fact that Al Gore showed up at a hate convention last weekend sponsored by a website that displayed brutal attacks on Tony Snow soon after he died brought disgrace to the former vice president.
Dennis Miller has been watching Mr. Gore for years and joins us now from Los Angeles. I will say the Gore people called us today, said that the former vice president was very concerned, didn't know about the attacks. And we take him at his word. We've asked him to finally come on the program. We want to talk about a lot of things. We don't expect that to happen.