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Bill O'Reilly Goes after Paul Krugman, Miami-Herald, New York Times, ACLU & Supreme Court

Reported by Marie Therese - March 30, 2005

On yesterday's O'Reilly Factor, the ever-avuncular Mr. O attacked some of his favorite targets. The theme for the day was clearly "quibble with every little detail." He lambasted Paul Krugman for his most recent column in which Krugman quoted a Miami-Herald story (registration required) entitled Police 'showdown' averted in which the Herald reported: "Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order ..."

O'Reilly tried without success to bully Miami-Herald reporter Marc Caputo into backing off of the story.

In later segments Judge Andrew Napolitano labeled one of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's abortion rulings as "nonsensical" and FOX News Military Analyst, Col. David "Shoot 'Em If They Blink" Hunt, and former Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin quibbled over just how many Iraqi detainees have actually been murdered in the past two years. I suppose this is a step in the right direction, given that a year ago, there were vehement denials that any Iraqis had been murdered. Could it be that the administration is VERY worried about New York Times investigative reporters discovering cover-ups of more abuse?

Col. Hunt - never one to be shy about his rah-rah defense of anything military - has been especially vehement in his last two appearances on The Factor. At times he seems desperate to prove with facts and figures that - whatever the final number of homicides ends up being - it is insignificant compared to the 70,000 detainees being held by American forces.

70,000 detainees! Where, pray tell, are we keeping these people? Could it be that that's where the missing $8 billion of taxpayers' money has gone? Has the DOD been using it to pay for the detention of 70,000 Iraqis?

Col. Hunt did not mention the charges of rape, sodomy, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, etc. that most assuredly went along with "500 complaints" of homicide. Nor did he mention the report (carried yeterday on Democracy Now!) that two DVD's showing prisoner abuse have turned up missing and are presumed destroyed. I guess the rules against tampering with evidence don't apply in wartime.

Here are few highlights from yesterday's Factor:

In his Talking Points Memo, Bill read this excerpt from Paul Krugman's column "...George Greer, the judge in the Schaivo case, needs armed bodyguards." He went to say: "Well, that's true. (louder) And I NEED ARMED BODYGUARDS as well, because of guys like Krugman, who defame people routinely with whom they disagree. Let's tell the truth, shall we, Paul? Fanaticism exists on both sides and the far left thumbs its nose at the law just as the far right does. Got it, pal? Krugman wraps up his frenzied column by saying 'what we need - and what we aren't seeing - is a firm stand by moderates against religious extremism." [New York Times, March 29, 2005] And what exactly is that extremism, Paul? A belief that abortion is wrong? That the state has a responsibility to make sure a person isn't killed unnecessarily? That marriage between a man and a woman remains the law of the land? Is all that religious extremism? How 'bout saying Merry Christmas? Krugman and his vicious far-right pack - far-left pack, I should say - wants to control the USA by diminishing their opposition and allowing judges to make rather interpret the law. In the Schiavo case, it just so happens that Judge Greer was correct in my opinion and the feds agree. But you can disagree and we will respect that. Krugman should, as well. Americans who believe that Terri Schiavo has a right to live shouldn't be attacked by anyone. Period. This is a very complex and difficult matter. All views should be respected."

O'REILLY: Buried in Krugman's column was a reference to a Miami-Herald report that says (he reads) "Jeb Bush sent state law enforcement agents to seize Terri Schiavo from the hospice - a plan called off when local police said they would enforce [Judge Greer's] order that she remain here." [New York Times, March 29, 2005]

In his first segment, O'Reilly gave the third-degree to his guest, Miami-Herald reporter Marc Caputo, who contributed to the Jeb Bush story. Caputo was great. He was not shaken by O'Reilly's insinuation that somehow "anonymous sources" were somehow suspect. O'Reilly held up letters of denial that came from Jeb Bush's offices, Jacob de Pietre, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) spokesman Tom Berlinger and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office coordinator Marianne Pasha, all of which denied "there was any seizure intent unless the courts ruled other than Greer did."

CAPUTO: We had four sources that were used in the story ... We had a city police source, another source who was familiar with many of the discussions that were going on as well as two trustworthy high-level sources who were very familiar with the discussion. And in the process of trying to find out what had happened Thursday morning - this was the Thursday morning when [Judge Greer] had entered an injunction ... saying "State you cannot take Terri for now" - there was a window of opportunity as reported in some papers ... for the state to still take Terri Schiavo because of kind of a wrinkle in the law ... Our lead reporter, Carol Marbin Miller, who was a reporter in the Tampa Bay area where this is transpiring and is one of the best State Department of Children and Families reporters ... she came across, again, four trustworthy honest sources who have .. us the same story.

O'REILLY (interrupting): OK. What do we believe now? Do we believe - we being you guys - what do you believe now? That Governor Bush did give orders to seize Terri Schiavo and backed off because local law enforcement said "No, you can't"?

CAPUTO: ... We never said Governor Bush gave the order.

O'REILLY: But he would have to.

CAPUTO: Our sources told us ...

O'REILLY: He would have to.

CAPUTO: Presumably. Our sources told us that they got a call after Judge Greer had issues his injunction at 8:15 Thursday and the call was from FDLE, who said they were en route to get Terri. Our sources told us that Pinellas Park police balked at this because they thought that Judge Greer's injunction stood.

O'REILLY (overtalks last 7 words, reading a lot of what follows from papers on his desk): Everybody now says that's not true. Bush and the Florida Department of Law enforcement say "Not true. We just transferred some guys close by in case ... the ruling was changed, that we were going to provide protection for the DCF (Department of Children and Families)" ... to make sure that her rights were being upheld. So nobody was sent. Nobody was going to be seized. And that is confirmed by the Pinellas County sheriff's office ... what I'm seein' here is that maybe your initial report was phrased poorly and then Paul Krugman picked it up and Jeb Bush was going to seize this woman and it was only the brave local cops that saved her from that seizure. And that's just not true.

CAPUTO: Did the Pinellas Park police speak with you?

O'REILLY: Yeah.

CAPUTO: And ...

O'REILLY: They spoke with us and they're all saying that same thing. That there were a number of discussions between the local sheriffs and the cop - the local police, two different agencies - and the state, but agents, quote, "Were never sent." ... And Paul Krugman's column goes too far. But Krugman based his column on your reporting in the Miami-herald. All I'm tryin' to do ...

CAPUTO: Well ..

O'REILLY (irritated): I just don't want propaganda, that's all!

CAPUTO: I don't think it's progaganda.

O'REILLY: Do you beleive that Jeb Bush was actually gonna send ...

CAPUTO: We said ...

O'REILLY: Look. It's a very simple question. Do you believe the Governor was going to send state troopers in there to grab this woman and the only reason he didn't was because the local cops would have said "no" and it would have been a police stand-off? Do you believe that?

CAPUTO: I believe the sources who spoke with us who said that they got a call from FDLE who said that they were en route. Now, one could debate and decide what "en route" means.

O'REILLY (overtalks last 6 words): "En route" could mean anything ... they're goin' to Burger King.

CAPUTO: Well, that's what we reported. We said they were en route and that's what we were told.

O'REILLY (visibly annoyed, overtalks last 9 words): But that's not what Krugman reported! Krugman said flat out that she [Mrs. Schiavo] wasn't seized because local cops intervened and he laid it on the Miami-Herald and I don't think that's right!

CAPUTO: Well, again, our sources - a trustworthy source - within the Pinellas Park Police Department told us that in these discussions the Pinellas Park Police Department made these ... comments, said that "You know, we want the judge's order to stand" and that's where it stood. So we certainly stand by our story. We report. You decide.

O'REILLY: OK. Excellent. And I appreciate you comin' on and explaining it to us. We'll let the audience decide what happened there.

In segment 2 O'Reilly and guest Matther Staver, President of the Liberty Council, came down hard on the ACLU because that organization has helped Michael Schiavo with his case, arguing that Mrs. Schiavo has a right to privacy and what is happening to her violates that right. Bill kept saying he didn't "understand" how privace has anything to do with the Schaivo case.

Segment 3 offered the O'Reilly another opportunity to bloviate about California's lenient Medical Marijuana law with Calvina Fay, Executive Director of Drug Free America Foundation. This was a follow-up on a story first aired on Monday about how easy it is to get a doctor's recommendation to be allowed to buy pot legally.

During Segment 4, FOX News Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano and O'Reilly discussed a recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals here in the west that struck down a nebraska law requiring parental notification for under-age abortion. Since the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case, the 9th Circuits court's ruling stands as the law for the Western United States.

NAPOLITANO: This goes back to a conversation you had a few segments ago. the culture of Death. The ACLU and that crowd - and they were involved in this case - has succeeded in persuading the highest court in the land not to interfere and allow ... a lower court to ... prevent parents from knowing what their children are doing. That's how we have elevated this right to an abortion.

O'REILLY: Alright, so it's clear to me - and I think to anybody watching now - that in the western portion of the United States, any little girl - any young girl - can have an abortion. Her parents don't have to know. This is gonna impact on partial birth abortion, too, is it not?

NAPOLITANO: Well, the Supreme Court in my view, unfortunately, invalidated the Nebraska partial birth abortion law about three years ago. The federal statute is making its way to the US Supreme Court. Prediction: If there's no change in the personnel on the Supreme Court - and there might be - the outcome will be the same. The same five - and on occasion six votes - will be there to upheld the right to an abortion notwithstanding legitimate interests to the contrary, like parents regulating their children.

Later on:

O'REILLY: But right now the United States' - as the Supreme Court puts it - "evolving values system," it looks to me like there'll be any kind of abortion up until two minutes before birth, for anybody, for any reason and any girl who gets pregnant - minor or otherwise - can get any kind of an abortion. So, no restrictions on abortion at all.

NAPOLITANO: When the court wrote the Casey decision - Casey vs Planned Parenthood - it's the last large seminal decision on abortion - Justice [Sandra Day] O'Connor came up with a nonsensical provision called "undue burden." The states can't put an "undue burden" on abortion. What's an "undue burden"? Whatever five of the justices want it to be at any given time ... and those five have consistently found that whatever the states do to diminish abortion or protect children is an "undue burden."

In Segment 5 O'Reilly and his guests, Col. David Hunt and Jed Babbin claimed that the New York Times has it in for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and will fabricate statistics to accomplish his downfall. Col. Hunt sounded like a broken record, reiterating the same arguments he made during his March 16th Factor appearance (To read his comments go to That Horrible, Awful, Elitist, Left-Wing New York Times!.)

To read the official FOX transcript of this interview click here.

Jed Babbin accused the Times of making up figures, saying that their statement of the number of murders of Iraqi detainees is "literally a fiction." He went on to say that "the Times is trying to put things in the worst possible light and they know better ...." The trio then tried to reach a consensus on the actual number of Iraqis who had been murdered.

O'REILLY: We've narrowed it down on this broadcast to between 6 and 12 murders - murders - like you go and get the death penalty or you get life in a prison!! ... That's one half what the New York Times implied..."

Later:

O'REILLY (to Babbin): Do you believe that they - the reporter and the editors that put this on page one - they want the world to think US soldiers are murdering detainees?

BABBIN: Yes, I do, simply because you see this reporter particularly - Doug Jehl - popping up again and again in this sort of story, misleading about what the Defense Department is doing or not, basically following the orders of the Managing Editor there, Jill Abramson, who, as I'm told by my sources in the media, are quite the ideologues at the Times and are really pushing an anti-Bush, anti-Rumsfeld agenda ...."

COMMENT

The following excerpt was taken from a transcript posted by Democracy Now!. It offers you a different perspective on the above interview:

AMY GOODMAN: Interestingly, yesterday [3/28/05]) on Democracy Now!, we were joined by Camilo Mejia, who is the Florida Army National Guardsman who fought in Iraq for about half a year, came back to the United States on leave and then refused to return, saying he did not want to participate in the abuse of Iraqis, among other issues. He was the first soldier court-martialed for refusing to turn to Iraq, and he’s just come out of jail. In light of that, it's very interesting that you write about an officer believed to have destroyed a homemade DVD showing members of the Florida National Guard abusing Iraqi detainees and manipulating the hand of a dead Iraqi to wave at the camera. Another scene shows a soldier hitting a bound prisoner on the head with a rifle butt. At least one of the soldiers, a sergeant, was identified from the DVD, however no criminal charges were brought in that investigation after military lawyers concluded the DVD showed inappropriate rather than criminal behavior. This DVD -- the soldiers called “Ramadi Madness” was found where?

SUZANNE GOLDENBERG: I believe it was found -- It's a few weeks ago now, but I believe it was found just in the desk of an officer or during – of an office during a clean-up or something like that. It was – and back in Florida, and it was then sent on to the authorities; but I’m sorry, my memory of the details is sketchy.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you write that and also say that the DVD was later destroyed by an officer who’d learned that the case was under investigation, leading the ACLU to saying that there is this layer of abuse that we're not seeing, because the evidence is being destroyed.

SUZANNE GOLDENBERG: And that’s correct, and I think that we’ve now seen at least two cases in which DVDs have been destroyed, both the “Ramadi Madness” one that you’ve talked about, and I think there’s been DVDs of abuses, or alleged abuse, in Afghanistan and that documentation has also been destroyed with the express purpose of thwarting an investigation. [End excerpt.]

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