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This Is News?

Reported by Marie Therese - August 17, 2004 -

The O'Reilly Factor. August 16, 2004. 8:22 PM to 8:26 PM EDT.
Substitute host: John Gibson
Guests: Chris Horner, Republican Strategist and occasional conservative columnist in National Review and Cliff Schecter, Democratic Strategist and contributor to liberal magazine Gadflyer.

Bill O'Reilly must be taking his vacation days piecemeal, in Friday & Monday segments. When O'Reilly's not there, nothing much happens. Scott Peterson trial. Hurricane Charley updates. A rebroadcast of the interview with Michael Moore at the Democratic Convention. And an interview with Utah's attorney general about the state's attempts to breakup a polygamist cult in some Utah towns.

The political material was limited to a discussion of New Jersey's Governor Jim McGreevey and President Bush's proposals regarding military redeployment with Chris Horner and Cliff Schecter. The discussion disintegrated into a verbal "I can talk louder than you can" contest between Horner and Schecter.

Here's what I managed to get before the crosstalking got so bad I gave up:

HORNER: "This (New Jersey) is going to be a win for Bush either way. You're going to have an increased turnout of disgruntled voters."

GIBSON: "New Jersey is a 20 point lead Democratic state. At some point this incessant corruption has to take a toll on loyal Democrats, doesn't it?"

SCHECTER: "No...corruption is a bi-partisan New Jersey tradition as I hate to say...If Jim McGreevey decides to get out now, there is simply no Republican on the bench...They've been decimated...in every statewide election. I'll put John Corzine up against any Republican they feel like pulling out of a casket somewhere."

Brief cross talking.

GIBSON: "What about Bush in Ohio?...There he is, announcing troop deployment, announcing veterans benefits and so forth, and Ohio is extremely close and extremely important. Is this a good move? Is he gonna make any inroads in the state?"

HORNER: "...If President Bush can tell the VFW where to hold their convention, I think that proves...the veterans are going to go for Bush."

SCHECTER (interrupts): "They're for Kerry, right now. Come on, Chris."

More crosstalk. Here are snippets:

HORNER: "Bush won in Ohio last time..."

SCHECTER: "Bush is losing in Ohio....""Southeast Ohio, the traditional Democratic stronghold. This can't hurt..."

SCHECTER: "Sorry..."

HORNER: "This can't hurt..."

SCHECTER: "And no Kerry's ahead..."

HORNER: "Than Clinton did in eight years...".

SCHECTER: "Kerry's ahead right now...."

HORNER: ""Time out. Time out. both..Cliff, you're interrupting him and that egging him on...Chris, cool it a minute....Cliff, make a point."

SCHECTER: "...This is obviously an election year ploy. Bush is losing in Ohio and he knows it, so he's pulling something out and he knows it. He says he doesn't play politics with national security and that's exactly what he's doing right now...If he tries to handle this like he's handled Iraq and the Valerie Plame affair...he might as well hand it over to the Marx Brothers right now to run the whole thing because everything's been a failure..."

HORNER (overtalks the last 12 words): "You're not gonna get any more words in because you're interrupting. The veterans liked this, the military liked it, the only remarkable thing about this long-expected announcement is Kerry's response. His arguments were it's unilateral, it'll upset our allies. Whose troops are these.."

SCHECTER (interrupts then overtalks): "Excuse me, President Bush is the one who said he wouldn't cut...."

The segment degenerates into total crosstalk chaos.

GIBSON (giving up): "Gentlemen. Thanks. See you guys. Adios, you guys."

The feed is cut to show only Gibson.

This is NEWS?!