Bill O'Reilly claimed that "two dishonest far-left websites, Media Matters [for America] and Think Progress," are reasons "to stay away from far-left fanatics." As evidence, O'Reilly cited a column by National Public Radio (NPR) ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, in which Dvorkin responded to a Media Matters item documenting NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson's apparent assertion that Democrats received money from Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. O'Reilly summarized that "[t]he ombudsman has now learned firsthand just how vicious the far-left blogs are," and concluded that "[a]ll decent Americans should reject these haters."
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During the May 22 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "two dishonest far-left websites, Media Matters [for America] and Think Progress," are reasons "to stay away from far-left fanatics." As evidence, O'Reilly cited a May 15 column by National Public Radio (NPR) ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, in which Dvorkin responded to a May 8 Media Matters item. Dvorkin demanded a correction of the Media Matters item, which documented NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson's assertion on the May 7 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday that "it's Democrats, not just Republicans, taking money from" Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. O'Reilly noted that Dvorkin "lashed out at" Media Matters and Think Progress "for urging their readers to complain to the National Public Radio because some of their contributors appear here on the Fox News Channel." O'Reilly then relayed Dvorkin's complaint that Media Matters and Think Progress "encourage[d] people to complain to NPR, and hundreds did, many with a surprising level of rancor and vituperation, which was shockingly intense, even in these times of take-no-prisoners-and-shoot-the-wounded political debate." O'Reilly summarized that "[t]he ombudsman has now learned firsthand just how vicious the far-left blogs are," and concluded that "[a]ll decent Americans should reject these haters."
However, as Media Matters documented at the time, Dvorkin asserted that a correction was needed because -- he suggested falsely -- the May 8 Media Matters item was based on the Fox News transcript of Liasson's remarks, which Fox subsequently edited, rather than on an independent transcription based on the video of her own words. Dvorkin also offered no support for his claim that Media Matters "seek[s] to trash" NPR over Liasson's frequent appearances on Fox News; in fact, the May 8 item simply documented a claim -- which, as heard by Media Matters, was false and which, as Media Matters had previously documented, Liasson had made before -- and offered readers contact information for Fox News Channel and NPR.
While Dvorkin blamed Media Matters for the "surprising level of rancor and vituperation" with which readers responded to the May 8 item, Dvorkin's own baseless criticism of Media Matters apparently inspired O'Reilly to blast Media Matters as "dishonest" and "vicious ... haters."
In the May 15 column, Dvorkin attacked Media Matters and defended Liasson's comments that "it's Democrats, not just Republicans, taking money from" Abramoff. Dvorkin asserted that the Fox News transcript had incorrectly included a comma after "Republicans," leaving "the impression that Liasson said that both parties had profited directly from Abramoff." According to Dvorkin, Fox corrected the transcript, "but the correction was ignored by two blogs, Media Matters and Think Progress."
O'Reilly has repeatedly attacked Media Matters, calling Media Matters' employees "paid assassins;" "100 percent dishonest;" "smear merchants," and "character assassins" who peddle "propaganda" to mainstream journalists, among other things. Media Matters has repeatedly requested the opportunity to respond to O'Reilly's attacks on his program, but these requests have been either denied or ignored.
From the May 22 broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Hi. I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.
Three more reasons for Democrats to stay far away from far-left fanatics. That's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." Reason one, whether you agree with his politics or not, Senator John McCain [R-AZ] is a patriot, a man who suffered torture for six years at the hands of Jane Fonda's friends, the North Vietnamese. Since that time, McCain has devoted himself to public service. Yet some students at the ultra-liberal New School insulted and heckled Senator McCain when he spoke to them at their graduation. These students apparently believe the senator is a bad person while they are good, so they try to demean him. The result was shame upon the New School, as most Americans understand these students have done little or nothing for their country, and their actions are deplorable. Yet this exposition is standard procedure for the far left, which tolerates no dissent.
Reason number two, the ombudsman for NPR recently lashed out at two dishonest far-left websites, Media Matters and Think Progress, for urging their readers to complain to the National Public Radio because some of their contributors appear here on the Fox News Channel. Jeffrey Dvorkin wrote, quote, "The blogs encourage people to complain to NPR, and hundreds did, many with a surprising level of rancor and vituperation, which was shockingly intense, even in these times of take-no-prisoners-and-shoot-the-wounded political debate." The ombudsman has now learned firsthand just how vicious the far-left blogs are. All decent Americans should reject these haters.
And finally, I made a mistake the other day trying to have a civil conversation with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, a committed member of the far left. I should have known better. But I felt sorry for the woman because of the death threats against her. I get that stuff, and I know how disturbing it is. So when I saw Ms. Maines at a Time magazine event, I complimented her on her performance that evening, and we chatted for a minute or two. Yesterday, Natalie's version of the conversation appeared in The New York Times. Quote, "It's like, 'Just want to say that was great,' O'Reilly says. We really respect what you did. We really respect that you stood up for yourself" and blah, blah, blah. Apparently, Ms. Maines also described me as despicable.
So much for a polite discourse. Anyway, let me put this in words even Natalie Maines can understand, because I don't think she will be holding a geopolitical seminar any time soon. It's like, Natalie, I said I respected your right to say what you want, not, like, I respect what you said. That would be impossible, because no one has any idea why you dislike President Bush or what your view of the world, like, really is, OK? Whatever.
Truth be told, I'm as dense as Ms. Maines. After I complimented George Clooney on his movie last October, he also trashed me in the press. Did I learn my lesson? Like, no. So I hope the Democrats and independents do: Stay clear of the far-left fanatics. They are a bitter crew and are not looking out for you or anyone else who doesn't share their foolish view of the world. And that's the "Memo" or whatever.