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."
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."
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Media Matters for America has identified numerous media outlets or figures who reported that the National Journal has rated Sen. Barack Obama "the most liberal senator in 2007," but did not report that the same National Journal feature stated that Sen. John McCain "did not vote frequently enough in 2007 to draw a composite score. He missed more than half of the votes in both the economic and foreign-policy categories."
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."
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."
On The O'Reilly Factor, Kirsten Powers called Chris Matthews' comment that "the reason [Hillary Clinton is] a U.S. senator ... is her husband messed around" was "totally inappropriate," adding that she has "been appalled at the way [Matthews] treats Hillary Clinton." Responding to O'Reilly's claim that he was "shocked and appalled" that the "big propaganda machine" Media Matters is "ripping up the far-left people at MSNBC," Powers also said that "what [Media Matters is] doing is going after Chris Matthews for attacking Hillary, and I think it's a very fair criticism."
Discussing recent comments by Chris Matthews about Sen. Hillary Clinton, Fox News contributor Jane Hall referred to what Matthews said about "how she got elected not on her own merits, but because of his [Bill Clinton] fooling around, as he put it. ... He said she wanted to bury his [Sen. Barack Obama] campaign and what would she do with the body? That she wanted to strangle Obama in the crib." Hall concluded: "[E]very woman I know saw the media coverage declaring her dead and said, 'You know, I've been through that. I've experienced that kind of sexism.' "
Bill O'Reilly stated that "some NBC commentators continue to slam Senator Clinton" and aired a video clip of MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews' comment about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: "[T]he reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around." O'Reilly called Matthews' comment "rough" and said: "We don't do that here. We would never say that Senator Clinton got her job because her husband messed around. I mean, that is -- that is a personal attack. And it is questionable whether a network should allow that or not."