FOX News host Bill O'Reilly defended Vice President Dick Cheney's 1986 vote against a House resolution calling for Nelson Mandela's release from prison, falsely claiming that “what he [Cheney] voted against was sanctions” and explaining that “there was another strategy that said that sanctions are gonna hurt the poor people of South Africa.” But the resolution had nothing to do with sanctions. As CNN reported on July 30, 2000: “The vote was on a House resolution calling for the release of Mandela from prison and for recognition of the African National Congress [ANC], which Mandela headed. Cheney voted against the resolution.”
On the December 8, 2004, broadcast of The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, a caller accused O'Reilly of criticizing Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for her record while giving Cheney a free pass. O'Reilly defended himself and Cheney:
CALLER: But when you talk about Hillary Clinton being so far left -- you never mention that people like Dick Cheney didn't want Nelson Mandela to get outta jail. And didn't wanna have Martin Luther King's birthday be a holiday. You don't bring any of that stuff up.
O'REILLY: We discussed both of those things. But look -- I do bring this stuff up, but it's in context of what we're talking about. The Cheney-South African deal is bogus. I mean, what he voted against was sanctions because there was another strategy that said that sanctions are gonna hurt the poor people of South Africa.
A lot of people voted against the Martin Luther King federal holiday -- I thought that was a foolish vote. I would have supported it. Listen, I haven't been easy on Cheney -- I think Cheney -- you know, I mean those guys -- they get roughed up from me.
Cheney himself never mentioned sanctions when defending his vote against the non-binding House resolution, which also called on the South African government to recognize the banned ANC as a legitimate political party. CNN reported in 2000: “Cheney defended the vote ... saying the ANC 'at the time was viewed as a terrorist organization and had a number of interests that were fundamentally inimical to the U.S.'”