Fox's O'Reilly And Goldberg Can't Keep Their "Liberal Media" Stories Straight

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Appearing on The O'Reilly Factor last week, Fox News media analyst Bernie Goldberg and host Bill O'Reilly aired another Ground Hog Day-like discussion about supposed liberal media bias and how some journalists are "actively working to see that Barack Obama is re-elected," as O'Reilly put it.

These segments appear with mind-numbing regularity on Fox, as hosts dutifully, and incessantly, carry the four-decade-old torch for liberal media bias.

Nonetheless, O'Reilly's convinced his harping is having a lasting impression. On Friday, he boasted Mitt Romney's campaign had picked up on his "reporting" and would soon be taking the media to task for being so unfair towards the Republican campaign. (If "reporting" consists of whining, then yes, O'Reilly has been "reporting" the story quite diligently.)

Last week with Goldberg on, O'Reilly even suggested the liberal media problem could cost Romney the election. Specifically, O'Reilly suggested the allegedly biased coverage could affect five percent of all ballots cast, or millions of votes in November.

Oh brother. Please note three glaring holes in this shallow line of press-bashing, and how lazy partisan like O'Reilly and Goldberg don't even bother to address the issues at hand:

-The fantastic claim that the liberal media could cost Romney the election directly contradicts the conversation O'Reilly and Goldberg had in April on The Factor when they agreed the problem of media bias was not a major political concern.

-O'Reilly and Goldberg steadfastly refused to acknowledge the ongoing Pew Research analysis of campaign coverage. The findings indicate that not only has Romney enjoyed better press attention then Obama in recent months, but the president, as Media Matters first noted, hasn't had one week of net positive news coverage in nearly a year. On Fox, that Pew study has been flushed down the memory hole. It does not exist.

-And yes, O'Reilly and Goldberg lamented how press outlets are unfairly committed to electing Obama just one day after Fox News aired a four-minute campaign attack ad that argued Obama's presidency has been a disaster. Neither men mentioned Fox's own glaring example of media electioneering while condemning the "liberal media" for picking sides in the November race.

Isn't it obvious neither man is even slightly serious in addressing the topic of media fairness, or has the slightest idea of what he's talking about? They can't even keep their stories straight.

This was O'Reilly hosting Goldberg in April [emphasis added]:

O'REILLY: Figuratively not literally. All right. The larger point is the folks get it. The folks know that the media is dishonest. The media now is not in the business to report the news anymore. All the news fit to print my you know what. OK? They're not there anymore. They're there to advance the ideological agenda.

So if the folks know it. All the polls say they know it. That means that the press is not going to have any real influence on the presidential election this time around.

So in mid-April, O'Reilly and Goldberg agreed media bias wasn't a problem because the press exerted no "real influence." But by late May, O'Reilly and Goldberg agreed media bias was so powerful it could swing the presidential election in Obama's favor.

Goldberg conceded his flip-flop on O'Reilly's show and said it was based on the fact the Washington Post published a story about how Romney had once bullied a high school classmate, and the New York Times ran a piece about Ann Romney's expensive horse riding hobby. Tellingly, Goldberg never suggested either article was inaccurate in any way. But because they were published, Goldberg became convinced media bias represents a grave menace for Republicans this election cycle.

And then there's the pressing Pew problem:

One man running for president has suffered the most unrelentingly negative treatment of all: Barack Obama. Though covered largely as president rather than a candidate, negative assessments of Obama have outweighed positive by a ratio of almost 4-to-1.

Last fall, just nine percent of the president's news coverage was deemed positive by Pew. (Nine percent!) Since then, Obama's positive coverage has never exceeded 25 percent in Pew's findings. No wonder O'Reilly and Goldberg didn't have the nerve to acknowledge findings that obliterate their endless "liberal media" chatter about the press trying to re-elect the Democrat.

And it's not like Fox hosts aren't familiar with Pew's studies. Just last week, O'Reilly himself cited Pew findings from the 2008 campaign, which indicted Obama received more positive coverage than John McCain during the election homestretch. (Fact: Candidates who win electoral landslides usually earn better press than their opponent.)

But O'Reilly on the same night concede that Pew has determined that Obama, since being sworn into office, has at times been on the receiving end of "unrelentingly negative" coverage? No way. O'Reilly and Goldberg won't hear of it. They prefer not to reference the widely-read study that cuts the legs out from their hollow claim.

The same goes for Fox's shockingly partisan and biased attempt to influence the election last week with the roll-out of its withering anti-Obama attack ad. As O'Reilly and Goldberg complained about the press picking sides in the election, they remained mum about Fox openly taken sides.

Let's be honest, and Politico please take note, the wheels are completely falling off the right-wing's beloved "liberal media" hobby horse.

Bill O'Reilly, Bernard Goldberg
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