On MSNBC's Countdown, while discussing Bill O'Reilly's recent statement that "I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels," The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson stated, "There's nothing funny about lynching. There's certainly nothing at all funny or remotely appropriate about the use of a lynching reference to talk about Michelle Obama. ... It's -- I'm almost speechless."
Bill O'Reilly falsely asserted that the ACLU's lawsuit over the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program "was basically an attempt ... to try to overcome a law which was passed by Congress, through the courts." In fact, the ACLU's lawsuit claimed, in part, that the program was in violation of several, as O'Reilly put it, "law[s] ... passed by Congress," including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and asked that the courts enforce those laws by ordering the program shut down.
Bill O'Reilly falsely asserted on his Fox News show that Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial page editor Cynthia Tucker -- whom he called "an antireligionist and a far-left zealot" -- wrote that former Gov. Mike Huckabee "is unfit to hold any national office because of his belief in God." In fact, Tucker did not cite "his faith in God" as the reason Huckabee "shouldn't be on any ticket"; she specifically noted his support for constitutional amendments banning abortion and same-sex marriage and quoted Huckabee on what he said was the need "to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards."
In a discussion of recent comments made by Michelle Obama, Bill O'Reilly took a call from a listener who stated that, according to "a friend who had knowledge of her," Obama " 'is a very angry,' her word was 'militant woman.' " O'Reilly later stated: "I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit. We'll track it down."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly aired a portion of a speech in which Sen. Barack Obama said in part, "[T]here's never been anything false about hope." O'Reilly then stated: "Got it. Faith and charity are good, too. We love hope, faith, charity, all that. But that doesn't wipe out the Taliban inside Pakistan or pay for a trillion-dollar entitlement, universal health care." But contrary to O'Reilly's suggestion, Obama has outlined a strategy to combat terrorism in Pakistan and laid out how he plans to pay for his health-care proposal.
Following the National Journal's "anticipat[ion]" of the "attention" its Vote Ratings will receive "across the 2008 election cycle," on The O'Reilly Factor, Karl Rove presumably referred to the Journal's 2007 ratings when he called Barack Obama "the most liberal member of the United States Senate" -- a rating that counted as "liberal" Obama's votes to implement the 9-11 Commission's homeland security recommendations, provide more children with health insurance, expand federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, and maintain a federal minimum wage, and which conflicts with a highly respected study ranking Obama lower.
After Bill O'Reilly mistakenly said, "Trust me now, [Fox News contributor Kirsten] Powers," while talking to Fox News contributor Margaret Hoover, Hoover replied, "Get my name straight, will you? I'm Hoover." O'Reilly responded: "I know. There's a lot of blondes -- a lot of blondes in this operation. ... So if once in a while I get you mixed up -- I got [Fox News contributor Lis] Wiehl and [Fox News anchor Megyn] Kelly coming up," and adding, "I need sunglasses in here."
Loading the player leg...
A link on BillOReilly.com, the website of Fox News and conservative radio talk-show host Bill O'Reilly, was titled "Those weren't veterans John Edwards, they were sex offenders," and linked to an Associated Press article about Florida's efforts "to dissolve a community of sex offenders living under a bridge." Media Matters for America has documented the back-and-forth between O'Reilly and former Sen. John Edwards over homelessness and homeless veterans.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann named Fox News' Bill O'Reilly the "winner" of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for baselessly suggesting that a homeless encampment under an overpass in New Orleans that former Sen. John Edwards mentioned in a speech did not exist. Olbermann noted that the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer both published recent articles about the encampment.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly baselessly suggested that a homeless encampment under an overpass in New Orleans that former Sen. John Edwards mentioned in a speech did not exist, saying, "[W]e called the Edwards campaign and asked where exactly is that bridge so we could help those people. Apparently, they don't know or they wouldn't tell us. The Edwards campaign can't pinpoint the bridge." Numerous media outlets have reported recently on a large encampment of homeless people under an overpass in downtown New Orleans.
Referring to Eric Boehlert's recent Media Matters column, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "the smear factory has put out an article that says Fox News will have a rough year in 2008. Well, if the January ratings are any indication, Media Matters is once again lying its 'you know what' off." But Boehlert did not address Fox News' overall ratings; he compared Fox News' and CNN's ratings during major campaign events in January to support his argument that Fox News will have a "tough year." And O'Reilly did not address any of Boehlert's specific assertions about Fox News.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly suggested that Sen. Barack Obama may be "hurt" by the news that a publication founded by Obama's church "gave an award" to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who, O'Reilly said, is "anti-Semitic in his rhetoric and sometimes anti-white or whatever." But O'Reilly did not note that Obama issued a statement "condemn[ing]" Farrakhan's "anti-Semitic statements" and saying of the award: "[I]t is not a decision with which I agree."
Bill O'Reilly took inconsistent positions during the January 17 edition of The O'Reilly Factor on the role of the government in addressing the problem of homelessness among veterans, highlighted by John Edwards. O'Reilly said, "Certainly there are homeless veterans, but it's not because of the economy. It's mostly because of addiction and mental illness, something politicians can do little about." But when National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse president Joseph Califano later told O'Reilly that "the real tragedy here is most of those veterans have had combat experience that are suffering from drug and alcohol problems and mental health problems. And we are not taking care of them," O'Reilly replied: "And that is something that should be addressed."
The AP reported on the public dispute between John Edwards and Bill O'Reilly over the statistic Edwards has cited for the number of homeless military veterans. But the AP did not note that the statistic is supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann criticized Fox News' Bill O'Reilly for ridiculing Sen. John Edwards' assertion that "200,000 men and women who wore uniforms and served this country patriotically as veterans will go to sleep under bridges and on grates." Referring to O'Reilly's pledge to radio host Ed Schultz that "if you know where there's a veteran sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it, is not there" after Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America executive director Paul Rieckhoff noted it would cost $15,000 to keep a homeless veteran off the streets for a year, Olbermann said: "OK, Billy, put your money where your mouth is. House every homeless vet tonight, just tonight. That'll be about $6,435,000."