Continuing his fight against the "war on Christmas," O'Reilly falsely claimed year-old Daily Show clip aired previous night

››› ››› ROB MORLINO

Bill O'Reilly played a year-old clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on his radio and cable shows to demonstrate the assault on Christmas by secular forces. However, he falsely told his radio listeners that the clip aired the day before and left his cable viewers with a similar misleading impression.

On the December 2 broadcasts of his Fox News talk show The O'Reilly Factor and his Westwood One radio show The Radio Factor, Bill O'Reilly played a year-old clip from Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to demonstrate an assault on Christmas by secular forces. However, he told his radio listeners the clip aired the day before and left his cable viewers with a similar misleading impression. O'Reilly's comments during both shows were part of his ongoing coverage of a so-called "war on Christmas."

Noting first on the Radio Factor that a Macy's department store television ad includes the word "Christmas," O'Reilly said, "the secularists, they don't like this at all. 'Secular Central' is Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Here's what happened there last night. Roll it." He then played an audio segment of a Daily Show clip featuring correspondent Samantha Bee:

BEE: But really, let's face it. All other days bow down to the 25th. It's the only religious holiday that's also a federal holiday. That way, Christians can go to their services and everyone else can stay home and reflect on the true meaning of separation of church and state.

Later, on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly showed the Macy's ad during the "Talking Points Memo" segment of the show. He said: "Christmas is here again at Macy's. Predictably, the opponents of public displays of Christmas continue to put forth counter-arguments on 'Secular Central'. I -- I mean, Comedy Central."

He then played the Daily Show clip, this time without Bee's first two sentences. Though he did not repeat the claim that the clip had aired the previous day, by playing the clip immediately after the ad, O'Reilly implied that it had aired concurrently with the Macy's ad.

A Media Matters for America review of Daily Show broadcasts for the week leading up to O'Reilly's December 2 claim shows that the clip was not replayed on the Daily Show during that time. As The Brad Blog weblog noted, the clip appears to be from an episode of the Daily Show that aired during last year's holiday season, not the current one. In the clip, Bee is standing in front of a calendar that clearly shows the month of December 2004.

O'Reilly told his O'Reilly Factor viewers he would remain "vigilant on the subject" until Christmas day.

From the December 2 broadcast of Fox News' The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: Now the secularists, they don't like this at all. "Secular Central" is Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Here's what happened there last night. Roll it.

BEE [audio clip]: But really, let's face it. All other days bow down to the 25th. Christmas: It's the only religious holiday that's also a federal holiday. That way, Christians can go to their services and everyone else can stay home and reflect on the true meaning of separation of church and state.

O'REILLY: [Laughs] There you go. Jon Stewart, "Secular Central." Oh, I'm sorry, Comedy Central -- and I like Stewart, but we know what he's doing over there. And it's not just Stewart. You know, 90 percent of -- quote/unquote -- "entertainers" are secular progressives. [Laughs] OK, we're up for the fight. We're up for it, man.

From the December 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Christmas is here again at Macy's. Predictably, the opponents of public displays of Christmas continue to put forth counter-arguments on 'Secular Central.' I -- I mean, Comedy Central. They said this:

BEE [video clip]: Christmas: It's the only religious holiday that's also a federal holiday. That way, Christians can go to their services and everyone else can stay home and reflect on the true meaning of separation of church and state.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

O'REILLY: And a Merry Christmas to you, Jon Stewart. As I said in my newspaper column this week, three wise men, one showed up to honor the Baby Jesus way back when. And if corporate executives are not wise enough to emulate that, well, those of us who respect Christmas might look elsewhere.

[...]

"Talking Points" is proud to be a part of the pro-Christmas movement. And things are moving our way, but eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. And over the next three weeks, we will be vigilant on this subject. Trust me. And that's the Memo.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.