On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "most experts believe the insurgents have been badly hurt" in Iraq. O'Reilly offered no support for his claim. Indeed, a May 31 article in The Washington Post reported "evidence of a new intensity in the violence in Iraq and underlining the security problems facing the country's 10-day-old government," and the Brookings Institution released a study showing that there were 55 "multiple-fatality bombings" in May 2006, the highest total of any month during the war. Various news reports also describe a recent increase in violence in Iraq.
On Fox News' The Lineup, Bill O'Reilly said that his 2003 interview of Jeremy Glick -- whose father was killed during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center -- was the interview he "got most offended by." O'Reilly said the interview was "just revolting," and made him "so angry and appalled" that, "[i]f I could have whacked him, I would have."
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Various conservative media figures have attacked Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) for his recent appearances on ABC's Good Morning America and This Week, in which Murtha addressed the alleged murder of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines at the Iraqi town of Haditha. Fox News hosts Bill O'Reilly and Neil Cavuto, among others, accused Murtha of "bomb-throwing" and "bashing" the military. In fact, Murtha, who had been briefed on the matter, limited his criticisms to those allegedly involved in the incident and the reported cover-up.
Bill O'Reilly touted an unscientific Internet poll to claim that "the majority of the students on the University of Oregon campus agree with" O'Reilly's opinion that university president Dave Frohnmayer should be fired over his reaction to a student-run newspaper's publication of controversial cartoon images of Jesus. But the poll O'Reilly touted as a "miracle" is actually an unscientific poll on the website of the university's campus newspaper, the Oregon Daily Emerald. The poll clearly notes: "This Daily Emerald poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole."
Keith Olbermann named Fox News host Bill O'Reilly the winner of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" award for O'Reilly's false claim that "no far-right person in this country" is "going to get on the cover of Time magazine." As Media Matters for America noted, Time has featured a number of right-wing pundits including Ann Coulter, whom O'Reilly explicitly compared to Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines: "[I]f you were going to make an example of somebody who takes rhetoric to the extreme, Ann Coulter would be probably your best right-wing shot."
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On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly suggested that "farm workers" in Yakima, Washington, "throw tomatoes" at Mexican President Vicente Fox for being "an incompetent person."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly again claimed that "the media" -- including Time magazine and CNN's Larry King Live -- "ignore" right-wing media figures, and "so do I, unless they do something that affects you [the viewer]." In fact, these media outlets, as well as O'Reilly's show, have all featured right-wing pundits on numerous occasions, and O'Reilly himself has appeared several times on mainstream media programs such as NBC's Today.
Bill O'Reilly has baselessly claimed that the University of Oregon has allowed its students to "attack Christianity," because a student-run newspaper recently published controversial cartoon images of Jesus but "wouldn't allow this if it was an attack on a minority group." In fact, the student paper -- The Insurgent -- is not the official University of Oregon student paper, and, according to the university's president, the school has no editorial control over what it publishes. Moreover, in publishing the Jesus cartoons, The Insurgent was apparently responding to a rival paper's decision to publish controversial cartoons of the Islamic prophet Mohammed, which have sparked Muslim outrage and rioting in Europe, a fact that O'Reilly repeatedly ignored in his coverage of the issue.
Bill O'Reilly asserted that "[m]any Americans ages 18 to 24 have no idea what's going on," stating that they "get their news from [Comedy Central host] Jon Stewart and their point of view from bomb-throwing entertainers." In fact, studies have shown that viewers of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart are consistently better informed about current events than consumers of other media, and Daily Show viewers are significantly better educated than viewers of The O'Reilly Factor. Further, consumers of Fox News in general have been found to be significantly more misinformed about current events than consumers of other mainstream media.
On The Radio Factor, Bill O'Reilly said that "no far right person in this country" is "going to get on the cover of Time." O'Reilly made his comment in response to Time's May 29 edition, which featured the country music trio The Dixie Chicks on its cover -- a band O'Reilly described as "far left." In fact, the very person O'Reilly identified as Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines' right-wing counterpart -- Ann Coulter -- graced the cover of Time's April 25, 2005, edition.
Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that President Bush "is against" a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and misleadingly stated that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "came out against" such an amendment. In fact, Bush called for a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004, and White House press secretary Tony Snow reaffirmed that Bush "supports" a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage at a recent press gaggle. Furthermore, McCain recently suggested on Fox News Sunday that if the federal courts strike down the right of individual states to define marriage, he may support a federal constitutional amendment.
Keith Olbermann named Bill O'Reilly the winner of his daily "Worst Person in the World" award for warning Mexico's foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, "If the Mexican government files one lawsuit in the U.S.A., one, pertaining to the National Guard, I will call for a total boycott of Mexican goods and no travel to your country." O'Reilly also suggested that Derbez "give the French ambassador a call" so he could "fill" Derbez "in" on the effects of an O'Reilly-sponsored boycott.
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Bill O'Reilly claimed that "two dishonest far-left websites, Media Matters [for America] and Think Progress," are reasons "to stay away from far-left fanatics." As evidence, O'Reilly cited a column by National Public Radio (NPR) ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, in which Dvorkin responded to a Media Matters item documenting NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson's apparent assertion that Democrats received money from Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. O'Reilly summarized that "[t]he ombudsman has now learned firsthand just how vicious the far-left blogs are," and concluded that "[a]ll decent Americans should reject these haters."
Bill O'Reilly used his interview with Donald Rumsfeld to attack David Letterman, asking Rumsfeld, "Why does a guy like David Letterman think this whole Iraq thing is some kind of corrupt, ridiculous adventure?" and "[H]ave you ever analyzed why he thinks that way?" O'Reilly appeared on CBS' Late Show in January to discuss the so-called "war on Christmas," among other topics, and was told by Letterman: "I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap."
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A Media Matters study of guests on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor shows that Republican and conservative guests have dominated The O'Reilly Factor during the first four months of 2006.