FOX's O'Reilly fabricated evidence of success of purported boycott

››› ››› GABE WILDAU

Host Bill O'Reilly threatened Canada with a boycott like the one he advocated against France, then cited a phony statistic about the success of the French boycott. The threat came during O'Reilly's April 27 debate with Toronto Globe and Mail columnist Heather Mallick about Canada's harboring of two deserters from the U.S. military who have fled to Canada. From FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Now if the [Canadian] government -- if your government harbors these two deserter [sic], doesn't send them back ... there will be a boycott of your country which will hurt your country enormously. France is now feeling that sting.

MALLICK: I don't think for a moment such a boycott would take place because we are your biggest trading partners.

O'REILLY: No, it will take place, madam. In France ...

MALLICK: I don't think that your French boycott has done too well ...

O'REILLY: ...they've lost billions of dollars in France according to "The Paris Business Review."

MALLICK: I think that's nonsense.

Media Matters for America found no evidence of a publication named "The Paris Business Review." A Google.com search revealed no mentions of "Paris Business Review," "Revue des Affaires de Paris," or any similar French name. A LexisNexis search for "Paris," "France," or "French" within five words of "business review" produced no relevant results. There is a journal called "European Business Review," which is published in England; however, over the past two years, "European Business Review" has not mentioned an American boycott of France.

Furthermore, contrary to O'Reilly's claim that France has lost "billions of dollars" due to an American boycott, American imports from France have actually increased since international tensions with France began in the months prior to the start of the war in Iraq in March 2003. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in February 2004, the United States imported $2.26 billion in French goods and services, up from $2.18 billion in February 2002.

Two days later, on the April 29 episode of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly plugged a poll on his personal website, BillOReilly.com: "A new BillOReilly.com poll asks you the question will you boycott Canadian goods and services if that country does not return two American deserters who are being glorified by some of the Canadian media?'"

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
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