In a series of broadcasts, Bill O'Reilly condemned the media "hysteria" over Seymour Hersh's article in the April 17 issue of The New Yorker -- on one show calling it a "phony and political" attempt to "denigrate the Bush administration." But O'Reilly largely ignored a primary reason Hersh's story has received such attention: the disclosure that the administration is considering "the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon" against Iran.
Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "[m]ost Republicans didn't want" the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed by the United States, Mexico, and Canada. In fact, in both the House and the Senate, congressional Republicans voted overwhelmingly in favor of the agreement.
Bill O'Reilly criticized Ohio newspapers' opposition to mandatory sentencing laws for those found guilty of raping a child under 13, stating "the media [in Ohio] looks like they are left-wing loons." In particular, O'Reilly singled out the Cleveland Plain Dealer for its criticism of such laws, saying that while he doesn't understand the opposition by other cities' papers, he does understand the Plain Dealer's opposition: Cleveland's "heavily minority, urban situation."
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Appearing on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham agreed that the founding fathers would have disapproved of -- as host Bill O'Reilly termed it -- the ACLU's opposition to the "Pledge of Allegiance ... God, Christmas icons." Further, Meacham did not dispute O'Reilly's characterization of the ACLU as engaged in a "jihad ... against Judeo-Christian tradition in this country."
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Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that the Senate immigration bill "does not address border security in any meaningful way" because it would "add 2,500 border patrol [agents] a year and that's it." In fact, in addition to doubling the number of border patrol agents over the next five years, the bill would also increase interior enforcement and electronic surveillance and provide for construction of additional barriers and fences along the border.
On Fox News, numerous media figures asserted that Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) decision to resign from Congress will hurt Democrats' ability to campaign against congressional Republicans' record of corruption -- and DeLay's part in it -- during the November 2006 midterm elections. But such predictions overlook the widening ethics scandals involving DeLay and the Republican Party.
O'Reilly Factor guest host and former Rep. John Kasich (R-OH) falsely claimed that 2004 presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA) lost "every place that Bruce [Springsteen] went," referring to the Vote for Change tour and Kerry rally concerts leading up to the election. In fact, Springsteen performed in a total of six states, four of which -- Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin -- Kerry carried in the election, as well as the District of Columbia, where Springsteen also performed.
Substituting for host Bill O'Reilly on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, John Kasich said that Sen. John McCain made a "smart move" by seemingly embracing Rev. Jerry Falwell -- whom McCain had called an "agent of intolerance" six years earlier -- in advance of the 2008 presidential election.
Following recent demonstrations in which protesters marched against proposed legislation that would criminalize undocumented workers, some in the media have criticized the demonstrators for carrying Mexican flags. But these same media figures have not complained about people waving other nations' flags, such as Irish flags at St. Patrick's Day events, Italian flags at Columbus Day events, or Israeli flags at Israel Day events.
On The O'Reilly Factor, Michelle Malkin declared that Latinos protesting the recent House bill aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration believe in "reconquista," or the theory that "the American Southwest belongs to Mexico." Malkin added that "the intellectual underpinnings of reconquista are embraced by the vast majority of mainstream Hispanic politicians."
Bill O'Reilly accused Cardinal Roger Mahony and other opponents of a recently passed House immigration bill of "demagoguing the issue -- not telling the folks the truth." O'Reilly purported to "make [i]t clear to everybody" that the proposed legislation would not affect people like Mahony, but rather "the priests who would establish an underground railroad from Tijuana to L.A." In fact, the House bill specifically threatens up to five years of imprisonment to anyone who "assists, encourages, directs, or induces a person to reside in or remain in the United States."
On the March 29 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams roundly dismissed student protestors in Los Angeles who were among the hundreds of thousands of protesters in cities nationwide demonstrating against legislation set to impose harsher penalties on illegal immigrants. Williams said: "These kids don't know anything."
On his radio program, Bill O'Reilly declared that "the American press" is the "most damaging institution in the country today, because it's so blatantly partisan and dishonest intellectually." Later that day on The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly referred to the media as "the forces of darkness" for "working against Jessica's Law [which would institute harsher penalties for child molesters] for ideological, crazy, nutty, far-left, insane reasons."
While discussing immigration, Bill O'Reilly claimed that Cardinal Roger Mahony opposes a recently passed House immigration bill because he "knows he'll get those people in church when he doesn't have anybody in church anymore." O'Reilly also attacked Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, saying that "the Ted Kennedys of the world" favor immigration "because they know they'll get the lion's share of those votes."
After the contentious exchange between Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas and President Bush during Bush's March 21 press conference, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and several other conservative commentators rushed to attack Thomas. O'Reilly accused her of "hat[ing] Bush and try[ing] to undermine everything he does," and even suggesting that if he were Bush, he "would have laid her out." Several other conservative media figures -- including Jonah Goldberg, Fred Barnes, Glenn Beck, and Tucker Carlson -- have followed suit, sometimes with highly personal attacks.