Lars Larson responded to a November 22 Media Matters item by misrepresenting what he had said five days before about autoworkers' hourly compensation. Larson claimed on November 24, "[T]hey [Media Matters] were saying that if you count just what is being paid to the worker and to his pension and for his medical care, that it doesn't add up to $73 an hour and they're right, but that's not what I said. I said that the total cost of having that worker on the assembly line is over $73 an hour." In fact, as Media Matters documented, Larson falsely claimed on November 19 that American automakers are "paying $73.73 an hour to those people with salary and benefits."
Attacking Media Matters on his radio show for noting that his previous claim that Sen. Norm Coleman "was certified the winner" in the Minnesota Senate race was false, Bill O'Reilly repeated the falsehood, claiming: "[W]hat I said was, Coleman's victory was certified by the state because it was. He had 215 more votes, which is absolutely true." In fact, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board did not "certif[y]" a "victory" for Coleman or Al Franken, having authorized an automatic recount of ballots for that race; Minnesota election law states that "no certificate of election shall be prepared or delivered until after the recount is completed."
While discussing the campaign for Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California, Bill O'Reilly asserted that if states allow same-sex couples to marry they would be required, "under equal protection," to allow polygamous marriages. In fact, the California Supreme Court explicitly stated that its May 15 decision that California's ban on same-sex marriage violated the state's constitution did not extend to polygamous marriages.
Conservative media figures have baselessly asserted that President-elect Barack Obama's reported intention to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay would result in the release of terrorists and place the country at risk. In fact, news reports state that Obama is considering trials for some detainees and the potential release of others who have been cleared.
Radio host Lars Larson played a spoof "Barney Frank for President" advertisement, in which a person said: "Now remember, this Erection Day -- Election Day, vote for Barney Frank for President. I'm Barney Fag -- uh, Frank and I approve this massage -- message." Larson also baselessly suggested that Frank allowed his relationship in the 1990s with a Fannie Mae official to improperly influence his conduct as a member of the House Financial Services Committee. In fact, Frank repeatedly took actions over the years to strengthen oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Speaking with a caller to his radio show who noted that Sen. John McCain "accepted money" from G. Gordon Liddy, and that Liddy "held a fundraiser for him in 1998," Bill O'Reilly declared that "McCain has nothing to do with G. Gordon Liddy -- nothing," and added that comparing the ties between McCain and Liddy that the caller referenced with Sen. Barack's Obama's ties to Bill Ayers is "ridiculous." However, in addition to the connections the caller referenced, McCain has repeatedly appeared on Liddy's radio show during the presidential campaign, and McCain recently said that he was "not in any way embarrassed to know Gordon Liddy."
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely stated that Sen. Barack Obama did not cast a vote on a Senate amendment denouncing both an ad by MoveOn.org that targeted Gen. David Petraeus and "Swift Boat" attacks on Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). In fact, Obama voted in favor of an amendment sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that denounced the MoveOn.org ad and character attacks on Kerry, former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), and other veterans.
After airing a clip on his radio show of actress Ashley Judd stating that "Senator [Barack] Obama has a 100 percent voting record for women's privacy and reproductive health," Fox News host Bill O'Reilly asserted that the phrase "women's privacy" is the "new mantra" which allows for "infanticide."
Several conservatives in the media have recently blamed the Community Reinvestment Act for the current financial crisis -- when, in fact, the CRA does not apply to institutions making the vast majority of troubled loans underlying the crisis. It applies only to depository institutions, such as banks and savings and loan associations. Experts have estimated that 80 percent of high-priced subprime loans were offered by financial institutions that are not subject to the CRA.
Discussing the current financial situation on his radio program, Bill O'Reilly said of Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd, "I swear to God, if they were in this room right now, I would hit them. Dodd and Frank -- the House Finance and Senate Finance. They knew. Don't point a finger at anybody, I'll break that finger off."
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that during interviews conducted by 60 Minutes, Sen. John McCain was asked about the financial crisis on Wall Street while Sen. Barack Obama was not. In fact, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft asked Obama several questions about the financial crisis, including, "What caused it? Who's to blame?" and "Do you think that Secretary of the Treasury [Henry] Paulson has done the right thing?"
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly falsely suggested that no state would prohibit abortions in cases of rape and incest if such a prohibition were constitutional. In fact, at least two states, South Dakota and Louisiana, have passed laws to take effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned that prohibit abortions even in cases of rape and incest.
On his radio and television shows, Bill O'Reilly criticized an Obama campaign ad for including a May 2003 statement from Sen. John McCain, in which McCain said that "there was a recent study that showed that I voted with the president 90 percent of the time." O'Reilly asserted that the "country was in a far different place" when McCain made those comments. In fact, according to a vote analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly, McCain was the administration's most reliable supporter in 2007.
On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly called prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib "pathetic," "awful," and said "[n]o one should justify that, ever," then added, "But nobody died." In fact, at least one detainee reportedly died at Abu Ghraib during an interrogation by CIA personnel.