O'Reilly accused the "heavily liberal" media of "looking to undermine" the Bush Administration "for their own ideological purposes"

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

Bill O'Reilly repeatedly accused the "heavily liberal" media of "looking to undermine" the Bush administration "for their own ideological purposes." O'Reilly also declared that "with the rise of the internet" the "far left now dominates the liberal agenda. ... To these Kool-Aid drinkers, no personal attack is out of bounds, no distortion too dishonest to use. They're all about the end justifying the means."

During the March 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly repeatedly accused the "heavily liberal" media of "looking to undermine" the Bush Administration "for their own ideological purposes." O'Reilly claimed that "[t]hey're not reporters anymore. They're not analysts anymore. They're looking to undermine the president because they think he's a dummy." O'Reilly also declared that "with the rise of the internet," the "far left now dominates the liberal agenda. ...To these Kool-Aid drinkers, no personal attack is out of bounds, no distortion too dishonest to use. They're all about the end justifying the means."

The March 22 broadcast of ABC's Good Morning America featured a portion of O'Reilly's March 21 comments in a segment that asked: "Does Media Focus on Bad News?" ABC News White House correspondent Jessica Yellin noted that "blaming the media ... for Americans' doubts about the war" is "[p]art of the administration's new PR offensive on Iraq." Highlighting March 21 remarks by O'Reilly and conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, who had been a guest on that day's edition of the Factor, Yellin reported that "now, some of the president's supporters are blaming the messenger, too," for the public's negative opinion of the Iraq war. Yellin aired a clip from the Factor showing Ingraham stating that "if people saw a broader picture" of the war effort, it "would affect public opinion more" positively. Yellin then featured comments by O'Reilly, who, in her words, "took it one step further;" by declaring, "I believe that there is a segment of the media trying to undermine the policy in Iraq for their own ideological purposes."

After making that statement during the March 21 Factor segment, O'Reilly proclaimed: "It's no longer dissent. It's no longer skepticism. It's, 'We want to undermine it,' and that disturbs me." Ingraham agreed, stating: "I see that pretty much every day. ... [T]here is a group of people who are invested in America's defeat." Ingraham then asked O'Reilly, "How have we gotten to this point in this country?" O'Reilly answered: "Because of hatred, ideological hatred got us to that point."

From the March 21 broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, which also featured former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), a Fox News analyst:

O'REILLY: Well, at this point in his administration, the president would be wise to do more of that, to directly confront critics he believes are full of hot air. The president can't become obsessed with that kind of thing as [former President] Richard Nixon did, but he can show the public that he feels these people are flat-out wrong. There's no question the media in America is heavily liberal. Every study shows that. And with the rise of the internet, the far left now dominates the liberal agenda, the far left. To these Kool-Aid drinkers, no personal attack is out of bounds, no distortion too dishonest to use. They're all about the end justifying the means -- "Destroy your political enemy if you can."

"Talking Points" believes Americans find that behavior disgusting. And even those who are disenchanted with President Bush want him to answer his critics in an authoritative way. He did that today, and I thought it worked. That's a memo.

Now for the top story tonight, a look at today's press conference, joining us from Washington, Fox News analyst, Newt Gingrich.

You know, this [Hearst Newspapers syndicated columnist] Helen Thomas has been out of bounds for a long time. And I was happy that -- to see him [President Bush] make it a little bit personal. I think he should have done it a long time ago.

[...]

O'REILLY: So, people get angry at [NBC News chief White House correspondent] David Gregory, and we're going to see him a little bit later on with Laura Ingraham, and [ABC News national correspondent] Sam Donaldson, and [former CBS Evening News anchor] Dan Rather, and people like this, who are very aggressive in their questioning. But I say that's fine. You got to be aggressive, you got to be respectful, but now, we're in a situation in America where I believe -- and you -- tell me what you think, because I'm very interested to hear it -- that a good part of the American media wants to undermine the Bush administration. They're not reporters anymore. They're not analysts anymore. They're looking to undermine the president because they think he's a dummy, or they don't like him for whatever reason. Am I wrong?

GINGRICH: No, I think -- I think it's clear that there is a -- first of all, as you pointed out earlier, that the overwhelming majority of reporters voted for [Sen.] John Kerry [D-MA] [in 2004 presidential election], voted for [former Vice President] Al Gore [in 2000 presidential election], voted for [former Sen.] George McGovern [D-SD] for that matter way back, years ago [in 1972 presidential election]. So, the underlying bias of the elite media is somewhere in the 85- or 90-percent range. I think people generally accept that. I do think that sometimes the press starts to run in a pack, and I think the current model is: "Bush is down, let's go kick Bush," you know, "What's wrong with Bush?"

[...]

INGRAHAM: Well, I'll tell you what you'll get from the Iraqi general. You'll get someone who's committed, who's standing up in armored -- in vehicles that are not up-armored.

You'll get someone who's actually grateful to the American public and will implore the American public for more patience, more time, and to please stay with us. We are doing the hard work.

The American people, I don't blame them, really, for being as dispirited as they are, given what we see day in and day out. And the Bush administration has made its share of mistakes. We all know that. Those are very clear now.

But if people saw a broader picture of the stores that are opening in the North, the fact that these military men are signing up in such numbers that they can't even be processed, don't you think that would affect public opinion more than, you know, some of these other things?

O'REILLY: I would hope it would, but I think it's an American-centric story, Laura. I think that people respond to the violence they see vis-à-vis how many Americans are getting hurt and killed. And I think that's natural.

INGRAHAM: And, and -- right.

O'REILLY: But here's my problem. And this is a serious problem. We saw it at the top of the show with what's-her-name who was bantering with Bush -- the older woman.

INGRAHAM: Helen Thomas.

O'REILLY: Helen Thomas. I believe that there is a segment of the media trying to undermine the policy in Iraq for their own ideological purposes. It's no longer dissent. It's no longer skepticism. It's, "We want to undermine it," and that disturbs me. Do you see that?

INGRAHAM: I see that pretty much every day, that there is a group of people who are invested in America's defeat, in a -- in one of the most important conflicts in our nation's history. And being invested in defeat as an American -- I don't care if you're a reporter, a commentator, or a businessperson. How have we gotten to this point in this country regardless of what people think of Bush?

O'REILLY: Because of hatred, ideological hatred got us to that point.

INGRAHAM: Yeah, but regardless of --

O'REILLY: Last question. Last question: Is NBC in that category? Do you think NBC News is actively trying to undermine the war in Iraq?

INGRAHAM: You know, I'm going to keep watching it. You know, I know there are brave people -- [late NBC News correspondent] David Bloom was over there covering the war when he died, practically.

O'REILLY: So, you don't know whether they are or not?

INGRAHAM: I don't know. I think the media obviously has an element underneath it that really despises Bush, and it's blinding them.

O'REILLY: All right. I think you're absolutely right on that. I think there is an element in the media that has gone way beyond dissent and into actually undermining American policy in the "war on terror," and it's frightening.

From the March 22 broadcast of ABC's Good Morning America:

YELLIN: Part of the administration's new PR offensive on Iraq seems to be blaming the media, at least in part, for Americans' doubts about the war. In his press conference yesterday, the president challenged the -- challenged the media for, what he considers, selective reporting about the war, and he took on one reporter in particular who has been consistently opposed to U.S. presence in Iraq.

[...]

YELLIN: It's not the first time the White House has gone after the media when the chips were down. During the Dubai Ports controversy and the Katrina crisis, the White House repeatedly claimed the media was getting the story wrong. And on Iraq, now, some of the president's supporters are blaming the messenger, too.

[video clip]

INGRAHAM: If people saw a broader picture of the stores that are opening in the North, the fact that these military men are signing up in such numbers that they can't even be processed, don't you think that would affect public opinion more than, you know, some of these other things?

O'REILLY: I would hope it would, but --

[end video clip]

YELLIN: Bill O'Reilly took it one step further.

O'REILLY [clip]: I believe that there is a segment of the media trying to undermine the policy in Iraq for their own ideological purposes.

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