O'Reilly and Miller recycled false attack on Clinton's attendance at 9-11 memorials

››› ››› ROB DIETZ

On the February 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly and Fox News contributor Dennis Miller recycled the myth propagated by O'Reilly that, in the words of Miller, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "did not attend one" of the "memorial services for the 9-11 people." O'Reilly responded that Miller's claim "is correct." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, Clinton attended several funerals and memorials, including one for 79 restaurant employees who died in the September 11, 2001, attacks. Miller purported to contrast Clinton with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who, Miller said, attended "like hundreds and hundreds of them." Miller added: "Well, listen, if they get in a debate, you don't even have to have them talk. Just put that up, number of the memorial services attended. If that doesn't tell you everything about these two people, about talking about commitment versus real commitment, I don't know what does."

Since his original attack on Clinton on the November 27, 2001, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, in which O'Reilly complained that "the only events we know she attended were three highly publicized memorial services," O'Reilly has regularly summarized the controversy by explaining simply that "Hillary Clinton didn't go to one funeral or one memorial service of any of the regular folks killed at the World Trade Center, even though she's a senator of New York" [The O'Reilly Factor, 5/13/02]. On the February 14 broadcast, O'Reilly went a step further, agreeing with Miller's false claim that: "The Factor d[id] some research back then that Hillary Clinton did not attend one" memorial service. O'Reilly falsely responded, "That is correct."

In fact, Clinton delivered a eulogy at a memorial for 79 employees of the rooftop restaurant on World Trade Center Tower One, according to an article in the October 2, 2001, New York Daily News. She also attended a memorial for Rev. Mychal Judge, chaplain of the New York Fire Department, whom she had met at a White House prayer breakfast. On the January 17, 2002, edition of CNN's Greenfield at Large, Clinton stated, "I also have visited in the hospital one victim and met with many, many, many other victims who were either out of the hospital or who lost a loved one."

From the February 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

MILLER: Bill, I want to ask you something real quick.

O'REILLY: Sure, sure.

MILLER: Because you can help me here as far as Rudy goes. I like the fact that he was a U.S. attorney. I think dealing with the mafia he knows the way around punks. You know, he knows how to deal with bullies.

But tell me this. I always liked the way Rudy stepped up to the memorial services for the 9-11 people. Didn't he attend like hundreds and hundreds of them? And didn't, in fact, the Factor do some research back then that Hillary Clinton did not attend one?

O'REILLY: That is correct.

MILLER: Well, listen, if they get in a debate, you don't even have to have them talk. Just put that up, number of the memorial services attended. If that doesn't tell you everything about these two people, about talking about commitment versus real commitment, I don't know what does.

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