On O'Reilly, Gerth and Van Natta dismiss "irrelevant" Media Matters, again dodging substantive criticism

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On the June 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, authors of Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Little, Brown & Co., June 2007) dismissed Media Matters for America as "irrelevant," asserting that "[n]o one takes them seriously." Gerth and Van Natta's comments were in response to host Bill O'Reilly's claim that the authors "have been attacked" by "that despicable website." O'Reilly quoted from two Media Matters items documenting factual inaccuracies in Gerth's and Van Natta's work -- neither of which the authors responded to substantively.

During the segment, O'Reilly quoted from a May 24 Media Matters item noting that Gerth has been the subject of harsh criticism by some fellow journalists for his previous investigative reporting on a number of subjects, including the Clintons, prompting Gerth to respond simply: "Well, as far as fellow journalists are concerned, they consider Media Matters irrelevant. We've been interviewed by dozens of reporters about our book. And they all uniformly say they don't pay any attention to Media Matters." O'Reilly then cited one of Media Matters' several items documenting Gerth and Van Natta's claim that Sen. Clinton first accused President Bush of "misusing" the Iraq war authorization in June 2006. This claim appeared in an excerpt of Her Way published in the June 3 New York Times Magazine, for which the Times refused to run a correction. Gerth and Van Natta claimed on the June 10 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press that no correction was necessary, despite the fact that Clinton accused Bush of misusing the authority as early as February 2004, as Media Matters demonstrated. Van Natta responded to O'Reilly by saying simply: "They've accused me of that. No one takes them seriously."

In recent media appearances, Gerth and Van Natta have similarly dodged questions raised by Media Matters regarding the factual basis for other claims made in their book.

From the June 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: All right. Now, Mr. Van Natta, you guys have been attacked by Media Matters, the dishonest far-left smear website. And I'm glad, because it takes the heat off of me. You know what I'm talking about here? For a couple of days, I didn't lead that despicable website.

Why do you think they went after you guys? I mean, some of the quotes are pretty personal. I mean, they went in and -- let's see. "Gerth" -- that's you.

GERTH: That's me.

O'REILLY: "Has been the subject of harsh criticism by fellow journalists for his previous investigative reporting on a number of subjects." And basically saying you're a hack.

GERTH: Well, as far as fellow journalists are concerned, they consider Media Matters irrelevant. We've been interviewed by dozens of reporters about our book. And they all uniformly say they don't pay any attention to Media Matters.

O'REILLY: Do you?

GERTH: No, I don't read it.

O'REILLY: How about you, because you've been attacked? Let's see what they say about Van Natta here. They don't like him, either. "Falsely claimed that Clinton first accused Bush of missing Iraq authorization in 2006." Saying you're a liar.

VAN NATTA: Yeah, they've accused me of that. No one takes them seriously.

O'REILLY: Is that right?

VAN NATTA: No.

GERTH: They tried to get The New York Times to -- we had an 8,000-word excerpt of our book on the cover of The New York Times Magazine. They tried to get -- desperately -- hoping to get maybe something corrected before Senator Clinton went on the national debate that Sunday night, to get a correction, and they didn't succeed.

O'REILLY: It's interesting. You guys both at one time -- and you still work for the Times, right? But you don't. But you're both New York Times guys being attacked by the left when The New York Times is a pretty left-wing newspaper. Do you see irony in that, Mr. Gerth?

GERTH: I spent 30 years at The New York Times, and there are all kinds of articles and viewpoints at The New York Times. I take them as they come and move on.

O'REILLY: All right. How about you, Mr. Van Natta?

VAN NATTA: We wrote a book down the middle. I mean, it's a rigorously reported book about her professional and political career. And we have new information in this book. Senator Clinton -- it's the book that Senator Clinton doesn't want you to read.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
Gerth and Van Natta's "Her Way", Media Ethics, Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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