Fox News host Bill O'Reilly falsely asserted that Notre Dame professor Don Wycliff, in a June 22 Chicago Tribune op-ed that criticized O'Reilly, wrote that "the United States government bears more responsibility ... than the terrorists" for the recent deaths of two U.S. soldiers in Iraq who were also apparently tortured. In fact, Wycliff criticized O'Reilly in the op-ed for attacking "the press or the Democrats or the ACLU or Air America" for the soldiers' deaths rather than blaming the Bush administration officials responsible for conducting the war "for whom you have been a cheerleader."
On June 21, hosts and guests on several Fox News programs hyped a false assertion by Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Peter Hoekstra that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, despite the network's own reporting that discredited the claim.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "most Americans have no tolerance for what they call amnesty" in the Senate immigration bill, and Fox News political contributor Newt Gingrich called the bill "absurd" because "it will be very unpopular." But recent polling almost universally shows that Americans support a path to citizenship -- provided for in the Senate bill -- for some illegal immigrants currently in the United States.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly again suggested that Iraq should be run as it was under Saddam Hussein, stating: "Saddam was able to control Iraq, as you know, and defeat insurgencies against him. The new Iraqi government can do the same, but it needs to get much tougher." O'Reilly also declared that the American Civil Liberties Union, the BBC, and Air America Radio "are helping the terrorists."
Bill O'Reilly won Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" award for stating that if he were president of Iraq, he would "run that country just like Saddam ran it."
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On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly downplayed a recent report of an aborted Al Qaeda attack on the New York City subway system, which was to involve the use of deadly hydrogen-cyanide gas, joking, "[I]f you've been to the subways in New York City in the summer, I don't know how you would tell there was a gas attack, based upon the smell that's down there every day."
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly alleged that he had "not seen any evidence" of "electric shock" being used on detainees during interrogation proceedings. O'Reilly made the claim while suggesting that he has seen no evidence of U.S. interrogators engaging in torture, which he appeared to define as limited to tactics like "[p]eople getting their eyes cut out, fingers cut off" and using "electric shock." But the Pentagon has acknowledged that electric shock has been used in the interrogation of detainees.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly again attacked viewers of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, calling them "dopey college kids" who must be "stoned" to watch the program. In fact, a study indicated that Daily Show viewers are consistently better informed about current events than consumers of other media, and other statistics demonstrate that Daily Show viewers are more educated and affluent than the viewers of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor.
After a visit to the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Bill O'Reilly minimized the seriousness and credibility of allegations that abuses have taken place at the facility.
Although former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg said he "disagree[d]" with Ann Coulter "in terms of style," he endorsed the "content" of her new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, "agree[ing] that [liberals] trot out all sorts of people on the left who are victims, people who have lost their sons in war and widows."
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During his interview with Bill O'Reilly, NBC Today host Matt Lauer joined O'Reilly in serving up conservative misinformation to Today viewers. In questions he posed to O'Reilly, Lauer suggested that Democrats would play a "dangerous" "troop withdrawal game" in Iraq, and that if detainees were released from the U.S. prison facility at GuantÃ¡namo Bay and went on to commit terrorist acts, "we've got an international Willie Horton on our hands."
Bill O'Reilly again claimed he has never "attacked [anti-war activist] Cindy Sheehan personally," and again falsely suggested he does not employ personal attacks against his opponents. In fact, O'Reilly has made numerous ad hominem attacks on Sheehan and others with whom he disagrees.
In response to recent remarks by Mark Malloch Brown, the deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, who criticized "U.S. administrations of both parties" for allowing the U.N.'s "loudest detractors, such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News," to define the international organization for the "U.S. heartland," Limbaugh and various other Fox News media figures smeared Brown, referring to him, in turn, as a "pointy-headed, elitist liberal" and "a phony."
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed on the June 5 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is "the worst court in the world" and "the biggest activist court in the nation's history." In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, the 9th Circuit's reversal rate is consistent with the national average.