Fox News host Bill O'Reilly renewed his false attacks on Media Matters, claiming that we, along with the Democracy Alliance, an organization of donors formed to support progressive groups, and other recipients of funding from Alliance donors, represent a "left-wing Mafia" dedicated to "nefarious purposes." O'Reilly leveled specific attacks at Media Matters -- making the blatantly false suggestion that we "give directions to" the homes of O'Reilly and others in order to "intimidate good people who may want to come into the public arena as politicians or commentators" and calling us "character assassins" and a "smear website" that "lie[s]."
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Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham baselessly attacked the The New York Times for publishing a photo of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's vacation home. In fact, Rumsfeld's public affairs director confirmed that he granted the Times permission to run the photo, the Secret Service confirmed that the photo "is not a threat" to Rumsfeld's security, and numerous media -- including Fox News -- had previously reported the location of Rumsfeld's residence. Further, a nearly identical photo ran in The Washington Post six months earlier.
Though White House press secretary Tony Snow criticized "attempts to try to describe" North Korea's recent missile tests "in breathless World War III terms," Fox News hosts, analysts, and guests repeatedly suggested using force to prevent North Korea from conducting further missile tests and acquiring more nuclear weapons-grade material, with one military analyst even advocating the "nuclear" option.
A Media Matters analysis of the media coverage of the Iraq war debate shows that the favored Republican talking points on Iraq have gone largely unchallenged in the media and have even been adopted as truths by some media outlets and figures.
Bill O'Reilly attributed Gary Krantz's recent move to step down as president of Air America Radio and Rick Kaplan's decision to leave MSNBC to "karma" and "two bad guys [getting] theirs," saying, "Do bad things, you'll get yours eventually. Do good things, you'll get rewarded."
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed that U.S. Customs agents and Palm Beach County sheriffs were engaged in "political persecution" of radio host Rush Limbaugh, who was detained at the Palm Beach, Florida, international airport for possessing a bottle of Viagra that was reportedly not prescribed to him. O'Reilly stated that he "believe[d] powerful people in" Limbaugh's "home county are trying to unjustly harm him," asserting repeatedly that Limbaugh engaged in "no wrongdoing"
Bill O'Reilly railed against The New York Times' disclosure of a secret Bush administration program designed to monitor international financial transactions, falsely claiming that "by all accounts" the program is "entirely legal" and that "[n]obody is asserting that they [the Bush administration] overstepped their authority." Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter similarly asserted that "no one thinks" the program "violates any laws." In fact, some legal experts and politicians have indeed questioned the legality of the newly disclosed program.
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.
Geraldo Rivera claimed that "in the last 35 years, I've seen a hell of a lot more combat" than Sen. John Kerry, adding that Kerry's Senate amendment to redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq by July 2007 "only aids and abets the enemy."
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."