On the October 14 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly called Media Matters for America “paid assassins” and claimed that despite our repeated requests to debate him on the air "[t]hey will never set foot, not only in my program, but at Fox News Channel."
After a caller agreed with O'Reilly about the bias of “smear merchants” but defended Media Matters' willingness to “defend themselves,” O'Reilly immediately cut the caller off and renewed his assault on Media Matters, labeling us “paid assassins” and calling us “inherently dishonest.” O'Reilly also accused us of taking “stuff out of context.”
O'Reilly previously has stated that "[i]f you attack someone publicly, as these men did to me, you have an obligation to face the person you are smearing. If you don't, you are a coward."
In addition, O'Reilly again attempted to justify statements he made on December 3, 2004, to a Jewish caller about Christmas, claiming that Media Matters “turned that around and tried to make it an anti-Semitic comment.” O'Reilly claimed that “someone called in and said, 'I don't like any symbols of Christmas' ... and I said to that gentleman, the only place that you can go to not see them would be Israel or Japan or someplace where Christianity isn't visible at all.” In fact, the caller had expressed concern about "the secularization of Jews and about the -- and Christmas going into schools." O'Reilly responded, "[I]f you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then."
From the October 14 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
CALLER: Hi. You know something you said on your show a lot of times about these smear merchants is that they're not fair. They never give other people a chance to respond. And I agree with you on that. Most of them don't. But there's one place that you've smeared a lot -- Media Matters. And they've tried to come on your show to defend themselves --
O'REILLY: Now Jeremy, I'm going to knock you out right now. And I'm going to address your question. OK. I have no respect for that organization. They will never set foot, not only in my program, but at Fox News Channel, because they are dishonest, inherently dishonest. They take stuff out of context, they use smear tactics. They're paid assassins by George Soros. Everything that I despise about the system, they embrace.
And I'll give you the example that is irrefutable. We did a story last year where we said that Christmas was under siege, which it was, by the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] and other secularists. And then we had a discussion about it. And someone called in and said, “I don't like any symbols of Christmas, I don't want to see them.” OK. And I said to that gentleman, the only place that you can go to not see them would be Israel or Japan or someplace where Christianity isn't visible at all. That organization turned that around and tried to make it an anti-Semitic comment. Why would I ever, ever give those people any opportunity to express any sentiment when they are blatantly dishonest and have been?
They were the ones behind the Bill Bennett stuff. I mean they are just despicable. And if you, Jeremy, if you are going in there or buying their stuff, you are enormously misguided.