Giving listeners “a taste ... of why we like this guy so much,” Caplis and Silverman allowed O'Reilly to dispense misinformation, bash “leftists” in Denver media

While promoting Bill O'Reilly's 630 KHOW-AM show, Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman allowed the conservative talker to make the dubious assertions that “stores and governments and schools” are “ordering people not to say, 'Merry Christmas,' ” and that Denver newspaper columnists Dusty Saunders and Joanne Ostrow, who cover television, are “hard-core leftists.”

Promoting the return of his syndicated show to 630 KHOW-AM, co-hosts Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman allowed Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly to spread misinformation on a variety of topics during the December 11 broadcast of The Caplis & Silverman Show. O'Reilly told Caplis and Silverman, “I don't get offended easily,” while during the interview he asserted that “stores and governments and schools” are “ordering people not to say, 'Merry Christmas,' ” and that Rocky Mountain News television critic Dusty Saunders and Denver Post television and radio critic Joanne Ostrow are “hard-core leftists.”

Echoing his comments about the apocryphal “war” on Christmas made elsewhere, O'Reilly stated, “It's not about 'Happy Holidays'! It's about stores and governments and schools telling people -- ordering people -- not to say, 'Merry Christmas.' That's what it's about.” O'Reilly then claimed, “Somebody says 'Happy Holidays' to me, I say 'Happy Holidays' back. I don't care. I don't get offended easily. If somebody orders my kid not to say, 'Merry Christmas,' they got a problem.” He continued:

O'REILLY: I wish the Catholic Church would step up a little stronger, and I'm glad to hear the archbishop is. Because, it is getting to the point where we as a society, we traditionalists -- and traditionalists are people who think the United States is a noble country. Doesn't have anything to do with religion. Doesn't have anything to do with family values or anything like that. Basically, a traditionalist believes we are a noble country. Secular-progressives think we are a flawed country and we need big changes here. But I wish the Catholic Church and other religions would stand up and say, “Listen, there is a right and a wrong. There's a good and an evil. There's a way to do things. And we're going to fight for those things,” rather than, you know, letting it all fall on people like me, where I could use some help sometimes. And, you know, you look around, and there's not that much help from the organized religion. You know, actually, the Protestants are much more aggressive in this area than the Catholics are.

SILVERMAN: Right, and I -- I'm looking at page 175 [of O'Reilly's Culture Warrior] where you talk about Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe. You really should study Charles Chaput out here in the Denver area --

O'REILLY: Well, good. I will.

SILVERMAN: -- and maybe --

O'REILLY: I don't know much about him. But now that you guys have tipped me off, I will. Is he media-available? Does he come on your show?

SILVERMAN: Yes.

CAPLIS: He's been on the show several times. But he's a stand up guy. I mean, he doesn't back down from -- from any opponent. New York Times has taken him on as a real whipping boy, because he just stands up and tells it like it is, and they don't -- they don't like that one bit.

The Times has written about Chaput in the context of how Catholic leaders increasingly are addressing political issues. For example, it reported in an October 12, 2004, article that “Archbishop Chaput, who has never explicitly endorsed a candidate, is part of a group of bishops intent on throwing the weight of the church into the elections.”

As the News reported on December 11, “Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput slammed secularism before a Southern California audience last week, calling religious faith essential to democracy and secularism 'actively destructive' to it.” The article further quoted Chaput as saying, “Democracy does not mean putting aside our religious and moral beliefs for the sake of public policy; in fact, it demands exactly the opposite.”

Media Matters for America recently noted that O'Reilly claimed that retailers Best Buy and Crate & Barrel are “still ordering their people not to say, 'Merry Christmas,' ” and that the stores “will fire” employees who do. Contrary to O'Reilly's assertion, neither Crate & Barrel nor Best Buy appears to have any such policy.

Later in the December 11 broadcast, O'Reilly attacked Denver's daily newspapers, saying, “Look at The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. Even the Rocky Mountain News, which used to be a conservative paper -- or a moderate conservative paper -- now is lurching to the left. They can't -- they, you know, it's a race to see who can be more radicalized.” He then attacked Dusty Saunders and Joanne Ostrow, television critics for the News and the Post, respectively:

O'REILLY: We looked at Dusty Saunders and -- who's the media writer over there? The woman who's been there for many years?

SILVERMAN: Joanne Ostrow.

O'REILLY: Yeah. These are hard-core leftists. Both of them. Hard-core. Saunders not so much in the fact that he rants and raves about it, but he sneaks it in, you know? Dusty, I've known him for, what, almost 30 years now.

SILVERMAN: And so have we. So we're not gonna get in the middle of that one.

O'REILLY: No, you don't want to. But I'm just telling your listeners that your papers are basically in the S-P [secular-progressive] camp.

As Colorado Media Matters noted, during a November 20 discussion about the cancellation of Fox Broadcasting Company's scheduled two-part interview with O.J. Simpson, O'Reilly referred to Saunders as "[o]ne creep out in the Rocky Mountain News."

Caplis concluded the interview by telling his audience, “And you got a taste there of why we like this guy [O'Reilly] so much and, and why he is so powerful and influential and good for the airwaves.”

From the December 11 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show:

SILVERMAN: Hey, Bill. Dan and I argue frequently -- this is Craig here -- about things like that -- “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays.” I have no problem with “Merry Christmas,” but I don't have any problem with “Happy Holidays” either.

[...]

O'REILLY: It's not about “Happy Holidays” ! It's about stores and governments and schools telling people -- ordering people -- not to say, “Merry Christmas.” That's what it's about. Somebody says “Happy Holidays” to me, I say “Happy Holidays” back.

CAPLIS: Mm-hmm.

O'REILLY: I don't care. I don't get offended easily. If somebody orders my kid not to say, “Merry Christmas,” they got a problem.

[...]

O'REILLY: I wish the Catholic Church would step up a little stronger, and I'm glad to hear the archbishop is. Because, it is getting to the point where we as a society, we traditionalists -- and traditionalists are people who think the United States is a noble country. Doesn't have anything to do with religion. Doesn't have anything to do with family values or anything like that. Basically, a traditionalist believes we are a noble country. Secular-progressives think we are a flawed country and we need big changes here. But I wish the Catholic Church and other religions would stand up and say, “Listen, there is a right and a wrong. There's a good and an evil. There's a way to do things. And we're going to fight for those things,” rather than, you know, letting it all fall on people like me, where I could use some help sometimes. And, you know, you look around, and there's not that much help from the organized religion. You know, actually, the Protestants are much more aggressive in this area than the Catholics are.

SILVERMAN: Right, and I -- I'm looking at page 175 where you talk about Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe. You really should study Charles Chaput out here in the Denver area --

O'REILLY: Well, good. I will.

SILVERMAN: -- and maybe --

O'REILLY: I don't know much about him. But now that you guys have tipped me off, I will. Is he media-available? Does he come on your show?

SILVERMAN: Yes.

CAPLIS: He's been on the show several times. But he's a stand up guy. I mean, he doesn't back down from -- from any opponent. New York Times has taken him on as a real whipping boy, because he just stands up and tells it like it is, and they don't -- they don't like that one bit.

O'REILLY: No, they don't like it at all, and they -- and they use the separation of church and state argument, which is totally bogus, you know. I mean, this guy's an American citizen, and he has the right to say what he wants, archbishop or not. And, you know, they want to intimidate all religious leaders and then, God help you if a religious leader does anything wrong. But, you know, I myself have been very tough on Mahoney and Law and these guys that didn't do the right thing in the child pedophilia scandal with the Catholic Church. But the overarch is that the traditional Americans are on the defensive because the media -- look at, look at your media. Look at The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. Even the Rocky Mountain News, which used to be a conservative paper -- or a moderate conservative paper -- now is lurching to the left. They can't -- they, you know, it's a race to see who can be more radicalized. We looked at Dusty Saunders and -- who's the media writer over there? The woman who's been there for many years?

SILVERMAN: Joanne Ostrow.

O'REILLY: Yeah. These are hard-core leftists. Both of them. Hard-core. Saunders not so much in the fact that he rants and raves about it, but he sneaks it in, you know? Dusty, I've known him for, what, almost 30 years now.

SILVERMAN: And so have we. So we're not gonna get in the middle of that one.

O'REILLY: No, you don't want to. But I'm just telling your listeners that your papers are basically in the S-P [secular-progressive] camp. And, you know, Lit, Lit -- what is it, Litman? Is that the guy --

SILVERMAN: Mike Littwin.

O'REILLY: -- Littwin. Yeah, the guy. And these are now the primary voices in Denver.

CAPLIS: Yeah, but Bill, I'd suggest sometime that you'd love, I think, to have Vincent Carroll on your show, who's editorial pages editor at the Rocky, and he is one of the smartest, quickest people you'll ever meet. The best read. And nobody would put Vince in that leftist camp and, you know -- so I don't see the Rocky going the direction of the Post. But --

O'REILLY: Now, look at the columnists.

CAPLIS: -- I hear what you're saying.

O'REILLY: Look at the columnists. Look at the movie writer, the books writers, the -- maybe the editorial pages, and I don't see it every day. I do see the clip file. And look at the way they handle illegal immigration, because that's a big problem out there.

SILVERMAN: Right.

O'REILLY: Are you gonna tell me the Rocky Mountain News is -- is conservative on illegal immigration?

SILVERMAN: No, not their news pages. And our colleague Peter Boyles takes them on on that all the time. And when you talk about S-P's -- for people who haven't picked up the book Culture Warrior the way I have -- you're talking about secular-progressives and -- wow, you look like an S-P on page 170. That picture of you and Susan Sarandon.

[...]

CAPLIS: Bill O'Reilly -- kind enough to spend time with us from The O'Reilly Factor. And beginning tonight, again, The Radio Factor at six. And you got a taste there of why we like this guy so much and, and why he is so powerful and influential and good for the airwaves. So, get a taste of it tonight at six. And once you go O'Reilly, you don't go back.