UPDATED: O'Reilly: Media Matters, Daily Kos, MoveOn "lead intimidators" of Democratic presidential candidates

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

During the July 30 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly criticized the decision by several Democratic presidential candidates to attend the YearlyKos convention, calling the decision "beyond shameful" and claiming that "a group of far-left bloggers has succeeded in frightening most of the Democratic presidential candidates and moving the party significantly to the left." He continued: "The lead intimidators are MoveOn[.org], Media Matters and the vicious Daily Kos. These people savagely attack those with whom they disagree, and the politicians don't want to become smear targets." O'Reilly later asked: "[W]hen you get these presidential candidates who are afraid of a website, my God, how are they going to deal with Al Qaeda?"

Discussing the Daily Kos blog with Lanny J. Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton, and Republican consultant Genevieve Wood, O'Reilly again claimed that the Democratic candidates "are afraid of the Daily Kos and MoveOn," adding: "[I]f people missed our reporting last week, we have been giving you, on a daily basis, the most vile, base stuff. Nothing different than the Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan do. And yet the Democratic Party chooses to embrace and legitimize this website." As Media Matters for America has documented, O'Reilly has repeatedly attacked the Daily Kos in recent weeks, comparing the site to the Nazi Party, the Ku Klux Klan, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, white supremacist David Duke, and gangster Al Capone.

Later in the July 30 broadcast, O'Reilly exclaimed: "It's a hate group! It's a hate group!" In response, Davis said that he doesn't "accept the fact that the entire site is filled with hate," to which O'Reilly replied: "Hey, look. There was some good stuff on the Nazi site. You know, give to the kids. Give to the Aryan kids. It's a hate site. You know it."

Davis went on to say to O'Reilly: "But I would like to have at least you say that this hate is also found on right-wing conservative sites" and pointed out that "Ann Coulter's venom is on national television." O'Reilly responded by claming that "Ann Coulter doesn't have anything to do with any-- with the Republicans." In fact, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney complimented Coulter during a March 2 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), saying: "I am happy to hear that after you hear from me, you will hear from Ann Coulter. That is a good thing." The two were also videotaped chatting backstage at the event. During her speech, Coulter said she couldn't "really talk about" Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards because "you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' " Additionally, when asked during her CPAC appearance how she felt about Romney's bid for the presidency, Coulter said, "I think he's probably our best candidate," as Media Matters noted.

O'Reilly has repeatedly attacked Daily Kos for comments posted on that site without addressing hateful and violent comments on his own website. On the July 26 O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly claimed, "We don't allow hateful comments on BillOReilly.com" and added, "When they come up and we find them, we take them off." In fact, despite being flagged by Americablog (here, here, and here), O'Reilly had not removed several comments from his website attacking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) when he made those statements.

UPDATE: During the segment, O'Reilly stated: "What is significant is that this website and the others mentioned have intimidated the entire Democratic presidential field, with the exception of [Sen.] Joseph Biden [DE], who will not go to that convention. And we respect the senator for that." In response, Biden's campaign posted a diary entry on Daily Kos describing O'Reilly's comments as "reckless" and "a total misrepresentation." Biden's campaign further stated:

The simple truth is Joe Biden would be at YearlyKos if he could, but adding a book tour to all the demands of a campaign meant some things had to change. But we won't stand by and let Bill O'Reilly try to drive a wedge between the progressive online community and us to make a false point on behalf of his half-baked theories.

While not always agreeing with all members of the DailyKos community, Joe Biden respects what the YearlyKos convention -- a diverse assembly of activists and organizations -- represents as a vehicle for progressives to organize and advocate on behalf of democratic ideals and the Democratic Party.

From the July 30 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight. Intimidating the Democrats, that's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." As we have been reporting, a group of far-left bloggers has succeeded in frightening most of the Democratic presidential candidates and moving the party significantly to the left, at least in the primary season.

The lead intimidators are MoveOn, Media Matters, and the vicious Daily Kos. These people savagely attack those with whom they disagree, and the politicians don't want to become smear targets.

So most of the Democratic candidates have agreed to speak at the Kos convention this coming weekend, something that is beyond shameful.

I'm now going to show you a picture that was posted on the Kos website for almost a year. The picture is very offensive, and you might want to change the channel right now. I'm only going to show this picture once, but it is necessary to demonstrate what kind of haters these Kos people are and why no politician should ever legitimize them.

Because Senator Joseph Lieberman supports tough action against terrorists in Iraq and other places, the Kos website has constantly demeaned him. This disgraceful exhibition is what the Kos traffics in. And decent Americans should condemn this kind of stuff. The fact that these Democratic presidential candidates are supporting a website that would run a picture like that is hard to believe.

Agree with them or not, Senator Lieberman is a patriot and a man of conviction. Right now, he's opposing the loons in the Senate who don't want to protect Americans who report possible terrorist activity from lawsuits. Lieberman deserves respect, not hatred.

[...]

O'REILLY: Finally, a word to the Democrats who will speak at the Kos convention. That is a huge mistake. And you should apologize to Senator Lieberman, a man you all know. Associating with haters is not going to bring you credibility. And voters will not forget. And that's the "Memo."

Now for the top story tonight, two other views of this. Joining us from Washington, Republican consultant Genevieve Wood. And also Democratic analyst Lanny Davis, former counsel to President Clinton and author of the book Scandal: How "Gotcha" Politics Is Destroying America [Palgrave Macmillan, 2006].

I just think this is really going damage all the Democrats who show up at this Kos convention. This is the most vile picture imaginable. I think you agree with me on that, don't you, Mr. Davis?

DAVIS: It's disgusting. As you know, Joe Lieberman is one of my best friends. I disagree with him entirely on the Iraq war, but this kind of depiction and allowing it to be put on the Daily Kos, I think, would oblige most Democrats to be as repulsed by it no matter what your views are.

But I wouldn't generalize and say it's all the Daily Kos. It's one in a group of haters. In this case, it's not just a commentator, it's somebody who calls himself the diarist and hides behind anonymity. A lot of these creeps don't tell us who they are and tell us so they can be held accountable. And whether it's a child predator or somebody that puts something like this up, let's know your name, and let's stand up and be accountable for either defamation or something else.

O'REILLY: Yeah, OK. And I agree with you. But these --

DAVIS: And that's what I object to.

O'REILLY: OK, but this smear merchant is inconsequent-- he's insignificant, Lanny. What is significant is that this website and the others mentioned have intimidated the entire Democratic presidential field, with the exception of [Sen.] Joseph Biden [DE], who will not go to that convention. And we respect the senator for that.

They are afraid of the Daily Kos and MoveOn. "They" being the Democratic presidential candidates, Lanny. They know. And this picture -- if people missed our reporting last week, we have been giving you, on a daily basis, the most vile, base stuff. Nothing different than the Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan do. And yet the Democratic Party chooses to embrace and legitimize this website, Lanny. This is a disaster.

[...]

WOOD: The American public is not where the Kos convention is. And I think they hurt themselves by lining up.

O'REILLY: No, but they're afraid of them. That's why they're going. They're afraid.

WOOD: Well, sure they are. Sure they are.

O'REILLY: They don't want to get smeared by them like Lieberman.

WOOD: That's right.

O'REILLY: I mean, and that's what it's about, Lanny, when you get these presidential candidates who are afraid of a website, my God, how are they going to deal with Al Qaeda?

Now, if you were advising Hillary Clinton -- and I don't know whether you may do it informally or not -- wouldn't you tell her to stay as far away from these people as she can stay?

DAVIS: I wouldn't necessarily tell her to stay away, but I would like to see Senator [Barack] Obama [D-IL], Senator Clinton, every single Democratic presidential candidate denouncing this kind of hate-filled rhetoric --

O'REILLY: Wait, wait, wait.

DAVIS: -- that constitutes something we all should object to.

O'REILLY: Lanny, if they do it, if the Daily Kos does this every day, if they traffic in this every day, you're telling me you wouldn't advise them to stay away from this?

DAVIS: I would not advise a candidate to stay away from a group unless you can generalize accurately about the entire group.

O'REILLY: It's a hate group! It's a hate group!

DAVIS: I don't accept the fact that the entire site is filled with hate. But I do agree --

O'REILLY: Hey, look. There was some good stuff on the Nazi site. You know, give to the kids. Give to the Aryan kids. Come on. It's a hate site. You know it. You wrote about it, Lanny. And now you're chickening out.

DAVIS: Hey, Bill, I'm not saying that everything that I read on the Daily Kos is hate. There's been a lot of stuff on the Daily Kos level --

O'REILLY: Oh, stop it.

DAVIS: -- that was personally --

O'REILLY: You're rationalizing.

DAVIS: -- that was filled with hate. But I would like to have at least you say that this hate is also found on right-wing conservative sites.

WOOD: Oh, but --

O'REILLY: All right. Let's justify bad behavior by pointing --

DAVIS: And that is the problem on both sides.

O'REILLY: Look, this is the tactic, Lanny. You've justified bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior.

DAVIS: Not justifying at all.

O'REILLY: And the right-wing websites, nobody pays attention to. They don't go there, the Republican Party. They're going there.

DAVIS: Ann Coulter's venom is on national television --

O'REILLY: Ann Coulter doesn't have anything to do with any-- with the Republicans.

DAVIS: -- all the time. And you are one of the few television hosts to reject Ann Coulter's venom against Hillary Clinton.

O'REILLY: Yeah, all right. Whatever. She has nothing to do --

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