Fox News' Bill O'Reilly baselessly suggested that a homeless encampment under an overpass in New Orleans that former Sen. John Edwards mentioned in a speech did not exist, saying, "[W]e called the Edwards campaign and asked where exactly is that bridge so we could help those people. Apparently, they don't know or they wouldn't tell us. The Edwards campaign can't pinpoint the bridge." Numerous media outlets have reported recently on a large encampment of homeless people under an overpass in downtown New Orleans.
Referring to Eric Boehlert's recent Media Matters column, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "the smear factory has put out an article that says Fox News will have a rough year in 2008. Well, if the January ratings are any indication, Media Matters is once again lying its 'you know what' off." But Boehlert did not address Fox News' overall ratings; he compared Fox News' and CNN's ratings during major campaign events in January to support his argument that Fox News will have a "tough year." And O'Reilly did not address any of Boehlert's specific assertions about Fox News.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly suggested that Sen. Barack Obama may be "hurt" by the news that a publication founded by Obama's church "gave an award" to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who, O'Reilly said, is "anti-Semitic in his rhetoric and sometimes anti-white or whatever." But O'Reilly did not note that Obama issued a statement "condemn[ing]" Farrakhan's "anti-Semitic statements" and saying of the award: "[I]t is not a decision with which I agree."
Bill O'Reilly took inconsistent positions during the January 17 edition of The O'Reilly Factor on the role of the government in addressing the problem of homelessness among veterans, highlighted by John Edwards. O'Reilly said, "Certainly there are homeless veterans, but it's not because of the economy. It's mostly because of addiction and mental illness, something politicians can do little about." But when National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse president Joseph Califano later told O'Reilly that "the real tragedy here is most of those veterans have had combat experience that are suffering from drug and alcohol problems and mental health problems. And we are not taking care of them," O'Reilly replied: "And that is something that should be addressed."
The AP reported on the public dispute between John Edwards and Bill O'Reilly over the statistic Edwards has cited for the number of homeless military veterans. But the AP did not note that the statistic is supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann criticized Fox News' Bill O'Reilly for ridiculing Sen. John Edwards' assertion that "200,000 men and women who wore uniforms and served this country patriotically as veterans will go to sleep under bridges and on grates." Referring to O'Reilly's pledge to radio host Ed Schultz that "if you know where there's a veteran sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it, is not there" after Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America executive director Paul Rieckhoff noted it would cost $15,000 to keep a homeless veteran off the streets for a year, Olbermann said: "OK, Billy, put your money where your mouth is. House every homeless vet tonight, just tonight. That'll be about $6,435,000."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Kirsten Powers called Chris Matthews' comment that "the reason [Hillary Clinton is] a U.S. senator ... is her husband messed around" was "totally inappropriate," adding that she has "been appalled at the way [Matthews] treats Hillary Clinton." Responding to O'Reilly's claim that he was "shocked and appalled" that the "big propaganda machine" Media Matters is "ripping up the far-left people at MSNBC," Powers also said that "what [Media Matters is] doing is going after Chris Matthews for attacking Hillary, and I think it's a very fair criticism."
Discussing recent comments by Chris Matthews about Sen. Hillary Clinton, Fox News contributor Jane Hall referred to what Matthews said about "how she got elected not on her own merits, but because of his [Bill Clinton] fooling around, as he put it. ... He said she wanted to bury his [Sen. Barack Obama] campaign and what would she do with the body? That she wanted to strangle Obama in the crib." Hall concluded: "[E]very woman I know saw the media coverage declaring her dead and said, 'You know, I've been through that. I've experienced that kind of sexism.' "
Bill O'Reilly stated that "some NBC commentators continue to slam Senator Clinton" and aired a video clip of MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews' comment about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: "[T]he reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around." O'Reilly called Matthews' comment "rough" and said: "We don't do that here. We would never say that Senator Clinton got her job because her husband messed around. I mean, that is -- that is a personal attack. And it is questionable whether a network should allow that or not."
On Countdown, Keith Olbermann named Bill O'Reilly the "winner" of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for saying that John Edwards "has no clue" regarding Edwards' statement that "tonight, 200,000 men and women who wore our uniform proudly and served this country courageously as veterans will go to sleep under bridges and on grates."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly stated: "As for John Edwards, good grief, this guy has no clue." He then aired a clip of Edwards saying: "And tonight, 200,000 men and women who wore our uniform proudly and served this country courageously as veterans will go to sleep under bridges and on grates. We're better than this." O'Reilly commented: "The only thing sleeping under a bridge is that guy's brain. Ten million illegal alien workers are sending billions of dollars back home, and Edwards is running around saying nobody has any money. Hard to believe." While it is unclear what O'Reilly found "hard to believe," Edwards' claim about the number of homeless veterans is supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly was challenged by one of the "kids" who reportedly sent him mail "over the holiday," who asked him: "[I]n the first sentence of Chapter Three [in Kids Are Americans Too] you say the Constitution guarantees 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' Isn't that from the Declaration of Independence?" While O'Reilly praised the writer for asking an "excellent question," he did not acknowledge the false suggestion in his book that the phrase appears in the Constitution.
Bill O'Reilly responded to viewer complaints about his calling Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas a "pinhead," by saying: "This woman is a pinhead. She's been a pinhead for decades. She will always be a pinhead. And I'm calling it the way it is." O'Reilly went on to assert: "She is consistently anti-American in her point of view." Fox News anchor Laurie Dhue then responded: "And she certainly has been in the last several years," adding: "Increasingly so."
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On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly took a call from a listener who said, "It sounds like [Oprah Winfrey is] voting for [Sen. Barack Obama] because he's black." O'Reilly responded: "I don't think your assessment is wrong." In a recent speech, after naming several specific actions Obama has taken, Winfrey said: "We need a president with clarity and conviction, who knows how to consult his own conscience and proceed with moral authority. We need Barack Obama."