O'Reilly doctored quotation to suggest Soros wished his own father dead

››› ››› GABE WILDAU

On his June 1 radio and TV programs, host Bill O'Reilly continued his smear campaign against progressive financier, philanthropist, and political activist George Soros, doctoring a 1995 quotation by Soros to make it seem as if Soros wished his own father dead. During his nationally syndicated radio program, The Radio Factor, O'Reilly also said that Senator John Kerry's acceptance of presidential campaign support from Soros "would be like having some militia group funding the Bush campaign." On FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly was joined by former Republican Speaker of the House (and FOX News contributor) Newt Gingrich; both denounced Soros and suggested that Kerry's presidential candidacy was tainted because groups supporting Kerry and the Democratic Party have accepted donations from Soros.

On the June 1 editions of both The Radio Factor and The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly distorted a quotation from a 1995 profile of Soros in The New Yorker.

From the June 1 broadcast of The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: Listen to this -- what he said about his own father. This is George Soros about his own father. In a 1995 interview with The New Yorker magazine, Soros said he was disappointed that his terminally ill father wouldn't die quickly enough. "Unfortunately, my father wanted to live," Soros said. "I was kind of disappointed in him. I wrote him off."

And from the June 1 edition of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: In an article in 1995, Soros' father was dying. And Soros wanted him to kill himself with the help of a doctor. And Soros' father would not kill himself. Here's what Soros said quote to "The New Yorker." "I was kind of disappointed in him. I wrote him off." His own dying father. This is what kind of guy this is.

But the full passage from The New Yorker article (not available online) reveals that O'Reilly distorted Soros's account of his father's death and doctored the direct quotation from Soros. Soros's father told his son that "he didn't want to live" after a scheduled operation if his "personal integrity was invaded." Though Soros's father later changed his mind, Soros never said the following words, as O'Reilly claimed: "Unfortunately, my father wanted to live." Rather, what Soros described as "unfortunate" was the effect of the operation on his father's "personal integrity." From the January 23, 1995, issue of The New Yorker:

[W]hile Soros' philanthropy has led some people to view him as an altruist or a Robin Hood (characterizations that he says are off the mark), he seems to feel that his father was more the genuine article: someone who was truly nonmaterialistic, charging those who could pay for his services -- he was a lawyer -- and working free for those who could not; who was outgoing and focussed [sic] on others; who derived his greatest pleasure from helping people directly (and, in fact, saved many lives during the Nazi occupation).

Now, however, Soros told his audience [during a speech at Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons in late November 1994] that his father, terminally ill, had agreed to an operation, "but he didn't want to live after the operation if his personal integrity was invaded. And, unfortunately, that's what happened. But then he wanted to live."

Speaking haltingly, Soros said, "I was kind of disappointed in him. I wrote him off." A few weeks later, he added, his father died, "I was there when he died, yet I let him die alone. I saw him, but didn't touch him. The next day, I went to the office, but I didn't tell people he had died. I was, in a way, denying his dying."

During the June 1 broadcast of The Radio Factor, O'Reilly also suggested that Kerry's presidential candidacy was tainted by Soros:

O'REILLY: So, look. This Soros guy -- he's a big problem for Kerry, as I said a couple of weeks ago.

[...]

[I]f I were Bush, I'd make campaign ads all day long -- guess who's -- guess who's pumping money into Kerry's campaign?

[...]

In a political ad, you can say whatever you want and I'd definitely do that. I'd maybe draw a little map. I'd maybe, like, here -- here's how it comes down. But, you know, Kerry's got -- what do you -- what do you do when your big money man is this radical? You know, that would be like having some militia group funding the Bush campaign.

Gingrich also attempted to discredit Kerry by denouncing Soros:

GINGRICH: [H]e [Soros] defines, I think, the kind of judges, the kind of very left-wing attitudes, the kind of regulators that inevitably a Kerry administration would have dominating it.

And I think it's very important to notice that in the end, Kerry is quite happy to have millions and millions of dollars spent by MoveOn.org. You don't see Kerry saying oh, please don't spend the money. And I just think that that helps define the Democratic Party.

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Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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