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."
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 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 Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly stated that Warren Buffett "was not being truthful" when he said that, in Kirsten Powers' words, "he doesn't think his secretary should be paying a higher tax rate than he is." O'Reilly asserted, "His secretary isn't paying a higher tax. ... Mr. Buffett gets no salary. He gets return on his interest. And he gets capital gains tax at 15 percent. That's what it's taxed as," adding that Buffett was "being deceptive because he doesn't make a salary." But Buffett has acknowledged that most of his income is not salary, saying, "Most of my income is taxed at 15 percent, and doesn't pay a payroll. Mainly it's dividends and capital gains."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly stated, "Fox News turns down blatantly anti-American ads. We just turned one down recently." Fox News recently refused to air an advertisement produced by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) that claims the Bush administration is "destroying the Constitution" through its use of renditions, torture, and other tactics. However, in an email provided to Media Matters by CCR, a Fox News account executive told CCR that Fox would not run the ad "with it being [narrator] Danny Glover's opinion that the Bush Administration is destroying the Constitution. If you have documentation that it is indeed being destroyed, we can look at that."