During the July 19 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly responded to a viewer e-mail questioning the legitimacy of President George W. Bush's election in 2000 by falsely insisting, "Bush would have won [in Florida] no matter what." In fact, the post-election study of various recount scenarios revealed several plausible situations in which then-Vice President Al Gore would have won Florida.
From the July 19 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Jorge Cuevas, Fort Lauderdale, Florida [reading email]: "Mr. O'Reilly, you keep saying that people are disrespectful towards the president. This current, non-elected president has done nothing to earn respect." At least four organizations analyzed the Florida vote in 2000, Mr. Cuevas, and all concluded Bush would have won no matter what. Wise up, sir. Fanatical rantings will not help your life. I'm just looking out for you.
In fact, as Media Matters for America noted on June 23 and June 30, the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center (NORC) studied Florida's disputed ballots and concluded that Gore emerged the winner in at least four recount scenarios. The NORC study was sponsored by news organizations including The Associated Press, The New York Times, and CNN, as well as The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post Co., and Tribune Publishing (which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel). According to a November 12, 2001, Washington Post article on the NORC's findings, "[I]f Gore had found a way to trigger a statewide recount of all disputed ballots, or if the courts had required it, the result likely would have been different. An examination of uncounted ballots throughout Florida found enough where voter intent was clear to give Gore the narrowest of margins."