Ingraham "surprised" at "personal attack" by NBC president over her "hotel balcony" claim

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On Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham continued her criticism of the media's coverage of the Iraq war, claiming that the "dinosaur" and "unsympathetic" media "today has pretty much concluded that this is a loser. The Iraq thing is a loser." Ingraham also said that she was "surprised" that in the wake of a car bomb explosion that killed two CBS News crew members and severely wounded correspondent Kimberly Dozier, NBC president Steve Capus would criticize her for saying that reporters in Iraq should report from the field instead of "reporting from hotel balconies." Ingraham then downplayed her original comments from March 21, claiming she said that reporting from Iraq should be about "talking to the troops" when in fact, in her original comments, Ingraham said that reporters should "go out with the Iraqi military."

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On the June 6 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham continued her recent pattern of criticism of the media's coverage of the Iraq war, claiming that the "dinosaur" and "unsympathetic" media "today has pretty much concluded that this is a loser. The Iraq thing is a loser." She added that "if more of the troops' stories were told," then news out of Iraq would not be "so depressing." Ingraham also said that she was "surprised" that in the wake of a car bomb explosion that killed two CBS News crew members -- cameraman Paul Douglas and freelance soundman James Brolan -- and severely wounded correspondent Kimberly Dozier, NBC president Steve Capus would criticize her for saying that reporters in Iraq should offer coverage from the field instead of "reporting from hotel balconies." Adding that Capus took "a personal tragedy ... and turn[ed] it into a personal attack," Ingraham then downplayed her original comments from March 21, claiming she said that reporting from Iraq should be about "talking to the troops" when in fact, in her original comments, Ingraham said that reporters should "go out with the Iraqi military."

During the segment, host Bill O'Reilly asserted that "Americans have tuned out the Iraq war ... because its too depressing." Ingraham replied: "But why do you think it's always so depressing? Do you think if more of the troops' stories were told ... that more Americans would believe that, actually, what's happening there is good, really is fighting evil?"

Later in the segment, when O'Reilly asked Ingraham to respond to Capus's criticism, in which he said upon learning of the CBS News casualties in Iraq: "One thing I don't want to hear anymore is people like Laura Ingraham spewing about us not leaving our balconies in the Green Zone to cover what's really happening in Iraq." Ingraham responded: "I know the NBC folks. I know Capus. I used to work with him at MSNBC. I like him. And what surprised me is that taking a personal tragedy, of here we have this brave reporter, two camera people killed. She's struggling. And you turn it into a personal attack, I don't get that." Ingraham claimed that in her original comments that Capus criticized she advised NBC to "[g]o to a military base. And you don't have -- you don't have to put yourself necessarily in danger to just talk to the troops. And so what [NBC] said was, 'Look, we have a bureau there. Matt Lauer has been there.'And I said, 'Well, yes, but doing a show from Iraq is more than reporting from a hotel balcony about IEDs. It's talking to the troops.' And that's what I think is missing in this war, Bill, is just speaking to the troops."

In fact, on the March 21 edition of NBC's Today, Ingraham said not that NBC reporters should be "speaking to the troops," but that they should "go out with the Iraqi military":

INGRAHAM: The Today show spends all this money to send people to the Olympics, which is great, it was great programming. All this money for "Where in the World Is Matt Lauer?" Bring the Today show to Iraq. Bring the Today show to Tal Afar. Do the show from the 4th ID at Camp Victory.

And then, when you talk to those soldiers on the ground, when you go out with the Iraqi military, when you talk to the villagers, when you see the children, then I want NBC to report on only the IEDs, only the killings, only the reprisals.

[...]

To do a show from Iraq means to talk to the Iraqi military, to go out with the Iraqi military, to actually have a conversation with the people, instead of reporting from hotel balconies about the latest IEDs going off.

Concluding the segment, Ingraham asserted that the mainstream media -- or as she called it, "the dinosaur media," in which she included "the old networks," CNN, and the "so-called mainstream newspapers" -- "has pretty much concluded that this is a loser. The Iraq thing is a loser." Asked by O'Reilly if the media are "consciously skewing their reporting to make it look bad," Ingraham responded: "Well, when our military was cleared over the weekend of wrongdoing in another Iraqi town ... it was in the middle of the A section of The Washington Post and The New York Times. In the middle," a situation she contrasted with coverage of the alleged massacre at Haditha, which she claimed is "being treated as the be-all and end-all, again, by an unsympathetic media."

From the June 6 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, one of the most ardent supporters of the Iraq war has been radio talk show host Laura Ingraham. Recently, the president of NBC News criticized her after a CBS News crew was brutalized. And with us now is Laura Ingraham. You know, I agree with you on a lot of stuff about Iraq. You went over there. You spent some time. I do believe that the reportage about the war is politically driven, that there's not a real effort to be fair and balanced about what actually is happening within the country. That being said, I think it's a very troubling situation, particularly with the Shia-Sunni civil war that we really can't control. Have you changed your opinion on Iraq at all?

INGRAHAM: Well, I think that when we see the national tennis team of Iraq, two players and the coach, killed because they were wearing shorts, almost no reporting on that. This happened about a week and a half ago.

O'REILLY: Right.

INGRAHAM: When you see people being pulled off buses, Shia separated from Sunni, Sunnis killing all the Shia. Then the Sunnis can go. That stuff is really troubling, but it also defines what we're up against in Iraq. When we see what's happening in Toronto now, with that investigation. The Georgia connection. Still, what's happening in Indonesia. What we're seeing in Somalia. I think it clarifies, frankly, that we're up against a global Islamist jihad that is committed and is going to do everything they can, use every means at their disposal to influence America, America's choices before ultimately they come after us again. And I think it clarifies it.

O'REILLY: OK. But there's a couple of problems with waging a war on terror like this. Sometimes the battlefield isn't the right battlefield. And in Iraq, that may turn out to be the case. That no matter how effective we are and how noble we are, because I do think that we are noble there, we might not be able to control this situation.

INGRAHAM: When is the right time?

O'REILLY: Well, it's not a matter of time, it's a matter of place.

INGRAHAM: What's the right place today?

O'REILLY: It depends. It's a place where you can win. War is a performance business. And here's what troubles me, and I'm sure you know this: Most of the Americans have tuned out the Iraq war.

INGRAHAM: Why do you think they have?

O'REILLY: They don't want to hear that because its too depressing.

INGRAHAM: But why do you think it's always so depressing? Do you think if more of the troops' stories were told --

O'REILLY: I don't think so.

INGRAHAM: -- that more Americans would believe that, actually, what's happening there is good, really is fighting evil? I actually think they would, Bill.

[...]

O'REILLY: All right. Now, NBC. The guy, Capus, emotional. Obviously Kimberly hurt, two dead at CBS, and he goes after you. Now, I was surprised. I didn't think it was necessary to do that. How did you react?

INGRAHAM: Well, you know, I know -- I know the NBC folks. I know Capus. I used to work with him at MSNBC. I like him. And what surprised me is that taking a personal tragedy, of here we have this brave reporter, two camera people killed. She's struggling. And you turn it into a personal attack. I don't get that. And what Steve knows is that when I was on the Today show, I was essentially challenging the Today show to take some of their resources they spent on the Olympics or "Where in the World is Matt Lauer" and take a show to a military base in Iraq.

O'REILLY: Yeah. You wanted them to cover the story differently.

INGRAHAM: Go to a military base. And you don't have -- you don't have to put yourself necessarily in danger to just talk to the troops. And so what they said was, "Look, we have a bureau there. Matt Lauer has been there." And I said, "Well, yeah, but doing a show from Iraq is more than reporting from a hotel balcony about IEDs. It's talking to the troops." And that's what I think is missing in this war, Bill, is just speaking to the troops --their gripes, and there are a lot of gripes, their point of view, what they think about the coverage. They're there doing the tough job.

O'REILLY: Absolutely a fair analysis, I think. Do you believe NBC News is anti-war, anti-Iraq war?

INGRAHAM: I think there's not really any doubt at this point that the media today has pretty much concluded that this is a loser. The Iraq thing is a loser.

O'REILLY: What do you mean by the media? I mean, Fox News is still there on coverage.

INGRAHAM: The mainstream -- yeah, the dinosaur media. I call it the dinosaur media. Fox is not part of that. The dinosaurs, the old networks.

O'REILLY: The three networks? CNN?

INGRAHAM: Yes, CNN probably and the mainstream, so-called mainstream newspapers. I think they think Bush has really screwed this whole thing up. The war on terror has become ineffective.

O'REILLY: Do you think they're consciously skewing their reporting to make it look bad?

INGRAHAM: Well, when our military was cleared over the weekend of wrongdoing in another Iraqi town --

O'REILLY: The BBC report.

INGRAHAM: -- it was in the middle of the A section of The Washington Post and The New York Times. In the middle.

O'REILLY: Right. Where is it --

INGRAHAM: I was looking through the paper over the weekend. Where the heck's this story? And then meanwhile, front page, Haditha, Haditha, Haditha, and then, you know, some other, you know, allegation of wrongdoing.

O'REILLY: Last question: Is Haditha going to be the final nail in the Iraq campaign?

INGRAHAM: It's certainly not going to help. And I don't think we need to -- we know that the facts look bad so far, what they are. You can't extrapolate from that to say the whole mission is bad.

O'REILLY: No, you can't.

INGRAHAM: Any more so than when a cop beats up someone in New York, you could say, "We're going to pull all the cops off the streets in New York, and we've got to change our whole way of doing things in New York." I don't think that's right.

O'REILLY: But it's just another -- just another depressing thing in a long line of depressing things.

INGRAHAM: It is. But it's being treated as the be-all and end-all, again, by an unsympathetic media. And I think that makes it more difficult.

O'REILLY: All right. Laura Ingraham, as always, we appreciate you coming in.

INGRAHAM: Thanks, Bill.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
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