Secular City? O'Reilly falsely claimed "people from India own Circuit City"

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Purporting to explain why Circuit City, in his words, refuses "to acknowledge Christmas," Bill O'Reilly said, "I think people from India own" the electronics store retailer. In fact, none of the major stockholders of Circuit City Stores, Inc. -- a publicly traded company -- is Indian.

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Purporting to explain why consumer electronics retailer Circuit City, in his words, refuses "to acknowledge Christmas," Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said, "I think people from India own" the store. Speaking on the December 13 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, O'Reilly told a caller who complained about what he suggested was the store's refusal to promote the words 'Merry Christmas,' "that's the problem there" -- meaning the nationality of the retailer's owners. In fact, none of the major stockholders of Circuit City Stores Inc. -- a publicly traded company -- is Indian.

The caller said it was "fantastic" that, in O'Reilly's words, "[discount retailer] Target's changed its policy" on using the greeting "Merry Christmas." He then continued by asking O'Reilly to "do something about Circuit City." After proposing the Indian ownership theory, O'Reilly suggested, "if you find it [the policy] offensive ... You vote with your wallet":

O'REILLY: Yeah, look, you know -- but again, if you go into any retail store and you're buying a Christmas present and they refuse to acknowledge Christmas, you know what I'm going to do. You know what E.D.'s [Fox News co-host E.D. Hill] going to do. ... And I'm not telling you to do that, but if you find it offensive, you know, you got a wallet. You vote with your wallet.

Contrary to O'Reilly's ownership theory, none of the major, direct, institutional, or mutual fund holders of the publicly traded company is Indian. The same appears to be true of the company's senior management and its board of directors. In addition, the retailer limits its business to the United States and Canada.

From the December 13 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, which also featured co-host E.D. Hill:

CALLER: And, I am seeing signs around that say Christmas but the reason I'm here is, last night, for the first time, I saw -- I saw a commercial for Target, and at the end, a big "Merry Christmas" came up on the screen.

O'REILLY: Yeah, Target's changed its policy. And we appreciate that.

CALLER: That's fantastic. So, I hope now you can do something about Circuit City. I was in there last week --

O'REILLY: [Laughing] Circuit City --

CALLER: -- and --

O'REILLY: I think people from India own Circuit City. I think that's the problem there.

CALLER: Maybe so, but --

O'REILLY: I can't -- I can't do -- I can't do everybody. I'm trying to do the big ones that are all over the place. Yeah, look, you know -- but again if you go into any retail store and you're buying a Christmas present and they refuse to acknowledge Christmas, you know what I'm going to do. You know what E.D.'s going to do --

HILL: Uhm-hmm.

O'REILLY: Okay. And I'm not telling you to do that, but if you find it offensive, you know, you got a wallet. You vote with your wallet.

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