On Caplis & Silverman, O'Reilly misrepresented Kopel's remarks regarding balance of CWA panel


Appearing as a guest June 5 on 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show, Bill O'Reilly accused conservative author Dave Kopel of "making excuse after excuse after excuse" regarding a controversial Boulder High School panel discussion. But Kopel, who is also research director of the Independence Institute, had appeared on O'Reilly's program the previous day and said that the "panel was wrong because it was unbalanced."

In a taped appearance on the June 5 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show, guest Bill O'Reilly accused Independence Institute research director Dave Kopel of "making excuse after excuse after excuse" in defending Boulder High School against O'Reilly's false claims regarding a controversial panel discussion about sex and drugs held at the school. Kopel, who is also a Rocky Mountain News columnist, actually had told O'Reilly on the June 4 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor that he "agree[d] with what the Boulder Valley School District board said ... which is that panel was wrong because it was unbalanced."

As Colorado Media Matters has noted (here, here, and here), O'Reilly and 630 KHOW-AM co-host Dan Caplis repeatedly have mischaracterized and lied about the April 10 discussion sponsored by the University of Colorado's Conference on World Affairs and about media coverage of the controversy that followed. In his June 2 News column, Kopel -- the parent of a child who attends Boulder High -- criticized O'Reilly, Caplis, and co-host Craig Silverman for spreading misinformation about the event. As Colorado Media Matters also noted, on his own show O'Reilly told Kopel, "[Y]ou're out of touch with America, man. You're a secular progressive. You're a guy who doesn't have any boundaries."

During the June 5 Caplis & Silverman program, O'Reilly falsely suggested that Kopel did not want someone on the panel to balance another panelist who, in O'Reilly's estimation, had promoted use of the drug Ecstasy.

From the June 5 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show:

O'REILLY: We had the columnist for Rocky Mountain News last night, Kopel, on. And, and it was just stunning to see this man who has a kid in the school try to rationalize the behavior of the school officials and, and the guys at the assembly. I mean, I was just stunned. I'm saying, what kind of parent are you? I mean, even if you wanted your kid to hear this stuff, don't you want someone up there to put the other side out that Ecstasy isn't that good to take? But this guy kept making excuse after excuse after excuse. And that's what they do.

Contrary to O'Reilly's misrepresentation, Kopel asserted on O'Reilly's June 4 show that he, along with the Independence Institute, agreed with the admission by the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) board that, as Kopel put it, the "panel was wrong because it was unbalanced":

O'REILLY: All right, let's, let's talk about you. You have no problem with these four guys in there with no balance at all, nobody else at all challenging them. You have no problem with that?

KOPEL: No, that, that's false. We have a new report that's going to be coming out from the Independence Institute which, among other things, agrees with what the Boulder Valley School District board said -- and you've never reported to your audience -- which is that panel was wrong because it was unbalanced.

At the May 22 BVSD board meeting, Superintendent George F. Garcia presented a report on the event in which he noted that the make-up of the panel "was not in compliance" with district policy:

My further conclusion is that the make-up of this panel was not in compliance with BVSD Board Policy INB. This policy, adopted in 1987, can be found on the district's web site and is entitled, "Teaching About Controversial Subjects." Though this Board policy has no direct effect upon the Conference on World Affairs staff, it is binding upon BVSD faculty and students and was not followed in so far as the panel did not reflect a broad range of views and perspectives much less opposing points of view. Boulder High School administrators, faculty and student organizers have been reminded of this policy and will be expected to comply with it when determining the make-up of future panels.

The Boulder Daily Camera reported on May 23 that at the board meeting "Garcia and several board members said the controversial panel did fail to reflect a broad range of views" and that such balance "will be required in future years."

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