On The O'Reilly Factor, Juan Williams baselessly asserted that it's "true" CNN is, in Bill O'Reilly's words, "in the tank for the Democrats." Williams added that CNN is "counter-programming Fox" and that "they are becoming more and more partisan, and they think that's what we do here at Fox."
On the October 30 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, National Public Radio senior correspondent and Fox News contributor Juan Williams baselessly asserted that it's "true" CNN is, in host Bill O'Reilly's words, "in the tank for the Democrats." Williams added that CNN is "counter-programming Fox, is what it looks like to me." Williams cited CNN's weeklong series, "Broken Government," as purported evidence of CNN's allegiances, stating, "[Y]ou know, Lynne Cheney made a really strong point when she said, 'You know, the economy is doing pretty good.' I mean, where is this [government] broken?" Williams added: "It looks to me ... like they [CNN] are becoming more and more partisan, and they think that's what we do here at Fox." O'Reilly replied, "That's really interesting that you would say that, because Juan, of course, is the king of NPR and a liberal guy himself." O'Reilly and Williams made their comments during a discussion of an appearance by Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne Cheney, on the October 27 edition of CNN's The Situation Room.
Contrary to Williams's assertion that CNN's "Broken Government" special is evidence that CNN "is in the tank for the Democrats," the special included a report by CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley that was devoted entirely to reinforcing negative stereotypes about the Democratic Party that have been promoted by Republicans and repeated in the media, as Media Matters for America noted when the segment aired on October 19. Crowley asserted that Democrats have been "on the losing side of the values debate, the defense debate and, oh yes, the guns debate"; suggested that Democrats are out of touch with mainstream Americans because "[former Democratic presidential candidates] Al Gore and John Kerry lost every Southern state and most of the mid- and interior West"; and aired only negative opinions of the Democratic Party, such as an Asheville, North Carolina, resident who called the Democrats "losers." At no point during the segment did Crowley say, air, or quote anything positive about Democrats.
Additionally, commenting on public opinion that "the government is broken" during the October 22 edition of CNN's Late Edition, host Wolf Blitzer stated that "this notion of a broken government could further escalate" if Democrats were to regain control of one or both houses of Congress.
Also, as Media Matters has noted, the October 26 edition of "Broken Government," hosted by CNN chief national correspondent John King, contained a series of falsehoods and discredited claims, including that President Bush gave an order for the Pentagon to shoot down unaccounted-for commercial airplanes on the morning of September 11, 2001; that the interrogation of Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah led to "the capture of 9-11 planners Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed"; and that actions by Republican senators, including the negotiation of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, represented a "Republican revolt" against Bush's assertions of executive power. In fact, an analysis of the recordings from the control room at NORAD's Northeast headquarters from September 11, 2001, indicated that Bush did not actually give the order to shoot down the hijacked airplanes; the success of the various interrogation techniques used on Zubaydah has been disputed, and the CIA learned of KSM's alias as early as August 2001.
From the October 30 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Now, Juan, in the Virginia race, [Democratic Senate candidate Jim] Webb very close to Senator [George F.] Allen [R], and now, Allen's camp is saying Webb wrote pornographic novels. And that's -- that's how -- and Webb said, "I didn't do anything worse than Lynne Cheney did." That's the dance that's going on.
But the bigger picture is that Lynne Cheney asserts that CNN, in its election coverage, Juan, is in the tank for the Democrats. You buying that?
WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that's true.
O'REILLY: Do you really?
WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think that they are -- they're counter-programming Fox is what it looks like to me. But you look at that --
O'REILLY: Well, no, MSNBC's doing that. But --
WILLIAMS: Well, but they're both -- I think --
O'REILLY: Do you think CNN's in the tank for the Democrats?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think -- I think that "Broken Government" program that Lynne Cheney was talking about -- you know, Lynne Cheney made a really strong point when she said, "You know, the economy is doing pretty good." I mean, where is this broken?
You might have problems with the administration, but in terms of American democracy, I don't know. It looks to me, though, like they are becoming more and more partisan, and they think that's what we do here at Fox.
O'REILLY: That's really interesting that you would say that, because Juan, of course, is the king of NPR and a liberal guy himself. I don't know. I mean, I have to say I'm busy here working all day; I'm not watching The Situation Room.
O'REILLY: I mean, I see the transcripts, but I don't know if they're in the tank.
Now, Karen, I can't tee you up and ask you if you think they're in the tank. But, of course, you're going to say yes. So, I'm not going to do that. It's too soft a question.
KAREN HANRETTY (Republican strategist): Fair enough.
But I am going to say that Wolf Blitzer flat out said to Lynne Cheney that he wants, and his network wants, the United States to win the war in Iraq. Now I've asked that question to Rosie O'Donnell and to Letterman. Do you believe that Blitzer wants the U.S.A. to win and CNN wants the U.S.A. to win?
HANRETTY: I think CNN would like the Democrats to win the war in Iraq. I do not believe that they want President Bush or a Republican-controlled Congress to win; and I think that their idea of victory is probably different than my idea of victory in Iraq.
I think their idea of victory is the Democrat majority goes over there and negotiates some sort of peace, which I think is completely unrealistic. If only it were that simple. And I think that they just have a completely different view of the world than a lot of Fox News' viewers.
O'REILLY: But you're not willing to sit there and say CNN wants America to lose the war in Iraq?
HANRETTY: I don't. If -- well, you know, what is -- I guess what is losing mean? I'm not trying to parse words with you, Bill. I don't think -- you know, here's -- here's -- let me put it this way. I think there are people like David Letterman out there who would like to see a loss in Iraq much way you see some conservatives actually hoping that the Republicans lose Congress, because they want -- both sides want Republicans to learn a lesson.
And perhaps CNN would like Republicans and George Bush to learn a lesson and just come out, once and for all, and admit, "My golly, you know, we were wrong to go into this war in Iraq."
But I think at the end of the day, if they truly understood and saw what it would mean if Iraq implodes and that whole region becomes so unstable, which will happen if Iraq turns out to be a failure, I think that they would rue the day that they ever hoped for a loss in Iraq.