Bill O'Reilly blasted the "demagogues on the right" who have criticized him for saying opponents of marriage equality haven't "been able to do anything but thump the Bible."
After Fox News host Megyn Kelly agreed with O'Reilly that the Supreme Court wouldn't give credence to religious arguments in the fight over same-sex marriage, O'Reilly asked, "so if you know that and I know that, and I would say 75 percent of The Factor viewers know that, the other 25 percent that were upset and wanted to be upset over this comment, and then the demagogues on the right primarily who threw it back at me, why do they do that?"
He went on to say that "the right - some people, they don't want a non-ideological guy assuming this kind of power," referring to himself.
For the last few days, O'Reilly has traded jabs with Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham over his March 26 comment that anti-marriage equality advocates haven't "been able to do anything but thump the Bible" as gay rights have advanced around the country.
For a recap of the brewing feud over O'Reilly's description of opponents to marriage equality as "Bible thumpers," click here.
From the April 4 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
Loading the player ...
Fox News host Bill O' Reilly suggested President Obama is to blame for the decades-long high unemployment rate among African-Americans, ignoring other factors such as institutionalized racism, even while acknowledging his employers have used affirmative action programs.
On March 26, Bill O'Reilly said that marriage equality opponents offer weak arguments, stating they have not been able "to do anything but thump the Bible." Rush Limbaugh took offense to this, saying the next day that O'Reilly "marginalized" Fox News viewers. O'Reilly responded on April 2 by defending his original comment.
Here's the feud in one minute:
From the April 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
Loading the player ...
Conservative media are again using a European financial crisis to stoke fears about the U.S. economy.
According to many right-wing media figures, the Cypriot government's plan to tax private bank accounts to avert a fiscal disaster provides a dire warning for the U.S. Many have speculated or outright claimed that the same could happen here unless the so-called "debt crisis" is averted
Of course, fears of heavy taxation on private bank accounts occurring in the U.S. are largely unfounded, with many experts noting the comparison between the two countries is ill-conceived. But the facts rarely matter for right-wing media when it comes to exploiting a European crisis.
Fox News spent an entire week hyping a supposed "War on Easter," pointing to the decision made by a few school boards to hold "Spring egg hunt[s]" instead of Easter egg hunts. In seven days, Fox devoted 10 segments to what host Bill O'Reilly called the continued "war on Judeo-Christian tradition."
On March 21, O'Reilly lambasted President Obama and the White House for empowering "secular progressives" to pressure school districts around the country to eliminate terms like "Easter bunny" and "Easter egg." O'Reilly complained that "the war on Judeo-Christian tradition continues in some public school districts," citing districts in five states that he said "are having Spring egg events. Moderated by a Spring bunny":
O'REILLY: I know it's stupid. You know it's stupid. But it's happening, and there is a reason why it's happening. Secular progressives are running wild with President Obama in the White House. They feel unchained, liberated and they are trying to diminish any form of religion. The goal is to marginalize religious opposition to secular programs.
In the past week, several Fox shows followed O'Reilly's lead, airing segments that criticized the "P.C. police" and focused on "assaults" that have put Christianity "on the run in this country":
From the March 28 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
Loading the player ...
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly endorsed the idea that the state confiscation of money from private bank accounts currently underway in Cyprus is likely to come to America, agreeing with a viewer's suggestion that "California will be America's Cyprus." His fearmongering is based on misrepresentations about how debt works in general, and about California's budgeting realities specifically.
According to O'Reilly, California will inevitably default on its debt, and when that happens the state will simply start taking private property from Californians to settle up what it owes. From the March 27 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
But debt does not work the way O'Reilly suggests. California can continue to service its debt, avoiding default even without reducing the principal amount owed, provided it stabilizes its debt levels. And it's doing exactly that, with a projected surplus in the current fiscal year after a combination of steep spending cuts and significant tax increases. Standard & Poor's upgraded the state's debt as a result, which should help further reduce the state's cost of borrowing (which is already half of what it was when Gov. Jerry Brown took office in 2011).
Furthermore, according to CNNMoney, "California should have enough money next year to increase funding for education and pay down debt, while setting aside $1 billion in a reserve fund." O'Reilly failed to mention the state's recent, hard-won fiscal discipline, which belies his portrayal of the state's fiscal outlook.
The Cyprus comparison would remain ludicrous even if California were not exhibiting increased fiscal health, as former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chair Sheila Bair has explained that such an arrangement "would never happen in the U.S. because we respect the rule of law and we have a strong agency called the [FDIC] that stands up for insured depositors and protects them." But O'Reilly's factual errors served an additional purpose that's common in the right-wing media.
O'Reilly used the Cyprus fearmongering as a pivot to familiar falsehoods about the origins of California's debt. As Media Matters has repeatedly shown, the state's red ink stems not from union greed, but from budget laws that tie legislators' hands and ballot measures that simultaneously depressed tax revenue and increased the state's obligations. The conservative media's misdirection of blame for fiscal issues almost always ignores the cyclical, recession-driven nature of those balance sheet problems. But O'Reilly went further, ignoring the widely-reported end of Californian deficits to advance the same old canards about public finances.
From the March 27 edition of MSNBC's The Last Word:
Loading the player ...
From the March 27 edition of MSNBC's PoliticsNation:
Loading the player ...
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has a long and documented history of pushing economic misinformation on his program, reinforced recently by economist Richard Wolff who said O'Reilly's claims about the economy are false.
On the March 25 edition of the independently syndicated Democracy Now!, former University of Massachusetts, Amherst economics professor Richard Wolff responded to O'Reilly's claim that European countries are going bankrupt because they are "nanny states," stating:
WOLFF: You know, he gets away with saying things which no undergraduate in the United States with a responsible economics professor could ever get away with. If you want to refer to things as "nanny states" then the place you go in Europe is not the southern tier -- Portugal, Spain, and Italy -- the place you go are Germany and Scandinavia because they provide more social services to their people than anybody else. And guess what? Not only are they not in trouble economically, they are the winners of the current situation.
[O'Reilly's] just making it up as he goes along to conform to an ideological position that is harder and harder for folks like him to sustain, so he has to reach further and further into fantasy.
O'Reilly's misinformation on economic issues, however, is not just contained to commenting on the European experience. Here are 10 other examples of O'Reilly's failure to accurately understand economics:
10. O'Reilly Falsely Compared The U.S. Debt Situation With That Of Greece. In an effort to force Congress to enact deep spending cuts, O'Reilly claimed that "like Greece, Ireland, and Spain...the USA has bankrupted itself." However, economists agree that the U.S.-Greece comparison is misguided and ignores the structure of the countries' economies.
9. O'Reilly Dismissed The Recession's Effect On Gas Prices. O'Reilly expressed doubt over the economic downturn's effect on gas prices, claiming that President Obama's explanation for low gas prices was "totally bogus." In reality, gas prices dropped precipitously during the recession, a fact that many news outlets -- including Fox -- reported at the time.
8. O'Reilly Claimed That Food Stamps Have No Economic Value. In a discussion about President Obama's stimulus bill, O'Reilly claimed that increasing spending on food stamps has "nothing to do with stimulating the economy." However, economists largely disagree, and studies have indicated that food stamps are among the most stimulative of government programs.
7. O'Reilly Suggested Bush Tax Cuts Increased Revenue. In an interview with former President Clinton, O'Reilly claimed that because of "the tax cuts under Bush, more money flowed into the federal government." However, when tax revenues are expressed as a share of the economy, the Bush tax cuts resulted in the lowest level in any decade since the 1950s, a fact noted by many economists.
6. O'Reilly Dismissed The Causes Of Income Inequality. In a discussion with Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers, O'Reilly brushed aside income inequality, claiming, "Income inequality is bull. Nobody gives you anything, you earn it." However, O'Reilly's statements ignored the fact that, at the time he said them, taxes on top income earners are at historic lows, and that, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "typical middle-class households face higher rates than some high-income households."
5. O'Reilly Blamed Undocumented Immigrants For California's Budget Problems. In a segment on California's budgetary problems, O'Reilly claimed that an "enormous amount of money" was being spent on the "illegal alien problem." However, O'Reilly ignored that fact that a majority of undocumented immigrants pay taxes, and that granting them legal status could have a positive impact on the economy.
4. O'Reilly Repeatedly Suggested That "Irresponsible Behavior And Laziness" Cause Poverty. O'Reilly has consistently characterized the poor as "lazy" and "irresponsible," ignoring the consequences of the recent economic downturn and the rise in income inequality in recent decades.
3. O'Reilly Claimed That The Economy "Would Be Fine" If We Cut Spending To 2008 Levels. In a segment discussing sequestration, O'Reilly called for a rollback in spending to 2008 levels, claiming that the economy "would be fine" if spending was cut to that level. However, this proposal that has been repeatedly criticized by economists as economically dangerous, costing as many as 590,000 jobs.
2. O'Reilly Claimed That The Stimulus Was A Failure. O'Reilly has repeatedly stated that President Obama's stimulus package was a failure, ignoring the fact that, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, it increased employment by over 1 million jobs and raised GDP by between 0.8 and 2.5 percent.
1. O'Reilly Repeatedly Claimed That Economy Is Worse Off Than It Was When Obama First Took Office. O'Reilly has consistently stated that the Obama administration's policies are hurting the economy, even going so far as to claim that it is worse off than it was prior to Obama's first inauguration. However, by almost every measure of economic health, including unemployment, net job creation, and GDP, the economy has improved greatly since 2009.
Bill O'Reilly is accusing progressives of hypocrisy over marriage equality while claiming not to have strong feelings about the subject. But the Fox News host has spent years attacking marriage equality, claiming that it would lead to people marrying animals.
During his March 26 program, O'Reilly attacked Bill Clinton and President Obama for recently stating that they support marriage equality after previously opposing it. O'Reilly later acknowledged that "the compelling argument is on the side of marriage equality," adding, "the gay marriage thing, I don't feel that strongly about it one way or the other."
O'Reilly is in no position to levy accusations of hypocrisy with regard to one's position on marriage equality. While O'Reilly has often said that he has no strong opinion about marriage equality, he has repeatedly fearmongered about what he claims are its natural consequences.
O'Reilly has claimed that marriage equality would lead to:
"A Totally Different Country." In 2005, O'Reilly slammed the Massachusetts Supreme Court for ruling that it was unconstitutional under the state constitution to allow only heterosexual couples to marry, warning that within ten years the decision would lead to a "totally different country" in which "you'll be able to marry a goat":
O'REILLY: The judges in Massachusetts knew they weren't going to be impeached when they said to the state legislature, "Gay marriage is now legal in Massachusetts because we say it is. We the judges" -- they knew they weren't gonna be impeached. They knew the legislature didn't care. You get the government you deserve. In California, the prevailing wisdom is marijuana is no big deal, let's legalize it. And since we can't get that through the legislature, we'll do it this way. And they did it! You see?
And 10 years, this is gonna be a totally different country than it is right now. Laws that you think are in stone -- they're gonna evaporate, man. You'll be able to marry a goat -- you mark my words! [Westwood One, The Radio Factor, 3/29/05]
Plural Marriages. O'Reilly has repeatedly warned that legalizing same-sex marriages will lead to the legalization of "triads" or other plural marriages. As recently as October 2011 he interviewed a polygamist family to promote his theory that "if the country eventually permits gay marriage everywhere, then other groups will want the same treatment." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 10/7/11]
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly declared victory in the so-called "War on Christmas," joining Fox's fight to defend Easter from supposed attacks by "secular progressives." Previously, O'Reilly claimed there was no "War on Easter," crediting himself for preventing such a war.