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O'Reilly: "9/11 was the genesis of ALL the action that we've taken"

Reported by Marie Therese - May 19, 2005

Yes, O'Reilly actually said those words. Thanks, Bill, for explaining why a lot of FOX viewers still adhere to the false notion that the Iraq War is somehow connected to 9/11. Such honesty and lack of spin is rare on the FOX News Channel! Here's the transcript of the interview in which Mr. O makes this startling admission! His liberal guest, Deborah Mathis, actually managed to get more attention and more time than the conservative guy. Way to go Ms. Mathis! Nice to see an assertive opposition voice on The Factor! To make it even better, O'Reilly actually apologized to her at the end of the interview. Will wonders never cease!

VIDEO CLIP of May 17th White House press briefing.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you think it's appropriate for you at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?

McCLELLAN: I'm not tellin' them. I'm saying that we would encourage them to help ...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: ... you're pressuring them.

McCLELLAN: No, I'm sayin' that we would encourage them to - to - look, this report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad ...

END CLIP.

O'REILLY: Now that was an ABC news correspondent. I would have slapped him if I were McClellan. I would have went down and and whacked him, alright. Don't use that tone with me! Now, why is the elite media lashing out so vigorously. Talking Points believes it's because they are rapidly losing power and influence. The Newsweek debacle on the heels of the CBS News Network National Guard deal has hurt the elites badly, so they're rallying around a common theme: The Bush administration's bad for America....Elite press reaction to the Newsweek situation may be a more important story than what started it.

Now, for the top story tonight: Is the left-wing media indeed losing power in the USA? Joining us from Fort Worth, Texas, Mark Davis, columnist for the Dallas Morning News and from Washington Deborah Mathis, former White House correspondent for Gannett News. Miss Mathis now teacher journalism at Northwestern University, Now I know, Miss Mathis, I'm going wrong somewhere in your mind. Where might that be?

MATHIS: Gee, where shall I begin? Well, Bill, you know, I think that Newsweek has admitted its wrongdoing in this part - its shortcoming - and I know Michael Isikoff. He was a neighbor of mine. He's a friend of mine. I have great respect for him and, considering his experience and all, I tend to trust his judgment in running with the story based on the source he had. Now, I have to say this. I, I agree - it's obvious to me - what I'm convinced of is Newsweek did not do the job maybe it could have and should have done in vetting the source of this story or vetting the story, the veracity of the story itself. But I'm still not convinced the story isn't true.

CROSSTALK

O'REILLY: It doesn't matter whether you're convinced of it or not. It was embarrassing ...

MATHIS: It does, it does because I'm a reader and I'm a citizen ...

O'REILLY: Miss Mathis, with all due respect ...

MATHIS: ... and, you see, that's who you are talking to and everybody else is talkin' to

O'REILLY: With all due respect, nobody cares whether you think the story is right or not. [Ms. Mathis was not happy about this comment and her face showed it.] What we care about is fair and accurate reporting and that was not done. Now, I like Michael Isikoff. He's a very good reporter. Now I ....

MATHIS: Yeah, but, Bill ...

O'REILLY: I feel bad for him

MATHIS: ...but Bill, Bill ....

O'REILLY: ... You're avoiding the issue ...

MATHIS: Ya' oughta care. Ya' gotta ... No. no. no. Ya gotta care whether I believe it or not!

O'REILLY: You're avoiding the issue. They already retracted the story, madame. [She stops, frustrated.] That's on the record. So I'm not gonna get into whether YOU think it's right or not!! [She smiles and shakes her head.] If you got a source, put it up! If ya' don't, shut up!

MATHIS: Why'd you call me here?

O'REILLY: That's the deal!

MATHIS: You know what? I've been on your show before and you've always been kinda polite to me. So I don't know what happened in between

O'REILLY: Yeah. I know, but that's - what you're doing, though, is you're pettifogging the issue and I don't like it! This is the no-spin zone.

MATHIS: No. no. I am telling you that I am your reader, I am your customer. You ... you

O'REILLY: It doesn't - yeah, but it doesn't matter .....

MATHIS: Then what are you doin' this show?

O'REILLY (exasperated, loudly): ... whether you, Deborah Mathis, think the story is true or not. (loudly) They retracted the story! That's what matters!! Mr. Davis, add some sanity here, would you, please?!

MATHIS: Exactly. They retracted the story. [Shakes her head back and forth, not pleased.]

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

DAVIS: Well. Here's the deal. Of course, they retracted the story. If Deborah wants to change the subject and wonder if, at any point, anybody every flushed a Koran page down a toilet, that's fine. But it is a wholly different issue. Newsweek has admitted error but they have one huge problem. They said it was a mistake made in good faith. I find that impossible to believe. The people at Newsweek are not stupid. She properly credits Michael Isikoff as being a good reporter and often a balanced reporter. It was Michael Isikoff who was maybe first on the Monica Lewinsky story at Newsweek. But the problem is, as with CBS and those phony memos from the Texas Air National Guard story, if this were something that were [sic] happening in a Democrat administration, they would have sourced, checked, double-sourced, double-checked. It was their zeal to put the story in blinded them to basic journalistic ethics.

O'REILLY (overtalks last 7 words): Well, that's true but I don't think they do this ...

MATHIS: But how did you prove that? You wanna talk about proving something, prove that!

O'REILLY: I wanna be clear. I wanna be clear. Wait a minute, Deborah.

MATHIS: Prove that!

O'REILLY; Deborah Deborah.

MATHIS: Prove their zeal!

DAVIS: Because they're not idiots, ma'am. Because they're not stupid.

O'REILLY: OK. Hold it! Hold it! Hold it!

DAVIS: It is the only other explanation - the blindness of political zeal!

O'REILLY: What we're gonna . Both of you. You're gonna answer the question, so we can both hear what you're saying. Now, calm down. I don't believe that Newsweek did this on purpose and, as I said, they wanted the story too much and whenever you want something too much, it doesn't [sic] go badly. Now, Deborah, surely these editorials that I cited, alright, which are almost identical, surely, you know, that the conversation as you attempted to do - and that's why I got a little upset with you in the beginning - to get it off the subject of why Newsweek wanted the story too much, alright, into well it might be right, or it's the Bush administration's fault. Surely it gives you pause when you have this colossal media all thinking the same way. It's group-think, is it not?

MATHIS: Let me say, if it's group-think, it's because you have a media who [sic] is looking at the same history of this whole issue, Bill, and I'm not - I'm really not trying to be difficult about this and I'm not trying to be evasive - but, but what a person
can't forget is the fact that this - the image of the United States, which has been damaged by this revelation [whether] true or false, by this report - was already in such dire straits because of the pretext of the war ..

O'REILLY: That isn't so. Let me ask you something...

MATHIS: ... and everything else that you cannot separate the two ...

O'REILLY: Let me ask you something, Deborah. Do you think the United States' image was good in Nazi Germany when we were fightin' those people? Do you think it was good in Japan when we were fightin' those people? War is dirty, Mistakes are gonna be made. This is ridiculous. The left-wing press has not come to grips with the fact that we're in the middle of a dirty war against jihadists who dress up like civilians and kill civilians.

MATHIS: No, but ...

O'REILLY: And mistakes will be made and every mistake, Deborah, is magnified a thousand percent. That's why the image of the United States is so bad.

MATHIS: But, it - but it's not only war itself. Of course, our enemies are going ...

O'REILLY (belligerently): It's WAR!!

MATHIS: Wait. It's not just the war itself that is damaged. It is the conditions, the reasons that we went to war that also damaged the image of the United States.

O'REILLY (overtalks last 4 words): Well, 9/11 was the genesis of ALL the action that we've taken.

DAVIS: Well, Bill, if I can - really quickly

O'REILLY: Mr. Davis, I'm gonna give you the last word.

DAVIS: It's perfectly fine because Deborah is right, that all these editorial pages did look at the story from the same position, the same jaundiced eye ...

O'REILLY: Right ..

DAVIS: ...the same biased eye that looks at Abu Ghraib and can't just say, as anyone should, that it was bad, elevates [sic] it to Saddam's own torture chambers. As Ted Kennedy said from the floor: Those torture chambers are open under American rule. That's disgusting and an anti-American view ...

MATHIS: I want ... I ...

DAVIS: ... held by many in the so-called mainstream media. They dislike America and that's what was the starting point of these editorials.

O'REILLY: Alright. Thank you both for appearing. We appreciate it. Deborah, I'm sorry I was a little tough on you but I had to get to the nub of the story quickly.

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