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O'Reilly: St. Petersburg Times Is "Scum"

Reported by Marie Therese - June 28, 2005

At 7:38 PM last night [June 27, 2005] Bill O'Reilly finally got to the story he advertised last week - his "explosive" update on the Jessica Lunsford murder case complete with new information. As usual he started out by attacking the St. Petersburg Times for its coverage of the story.

O'REILLY: "...(the) St. Petersburg Times newspaper continues to protect [State Attorney Brad] King by personally attacking people who disagree with King's assessment. Over the weekend the St. Pete Times ran an op-ed by King saying Couey lied about keeping Jessica captive in his trailer for days. King doesn't believe that happened. King may be right. But what definitely did happen is that two people in the trailer, who lived there with him, helped Couey escape to Georgia and the other man man may have helped as well. Enter Bill Grant, a former Assistant State Attorney, who worked under Brad King. Mr. Grant submitted an op-ed to the St. Petersburg Times saying that the entire investigation has been compromised and criticizing the paper for its personal attack. Surprise! The Times has not printed Mr. Grant's article."

O'Reilly then interviewed Bill Grant from Kansas City, MO. Grant, who is currently working as a defense attorney, started off by saying "I don't have personal information, only what you've gleaned as well regarding the confession that Couey gave to the deputy - to the detectives up in Georgia....' In other words, Lawyer Grant admitted that he really knows nothing about the case other than what's been written in the paper and/or aired on TV.

To give you an idea why O'Reilly is so upset, I've reprinted below an excerpt from a column by St. Petersburg Times columnist Greg Hamilton, a man whom Bill O'Reilly despises.

As I've written before, this assault on Brad King - which now curiously no longer includes Gov. Jeb Bush - is O'Reilly's desperate attempt to get back at the St. Petersburg Time and its editorial staff, because they won't dance to his tune. In prior shows he has enlisted the help of two sidekicks in these attacks: Radio talk show host Pat Campbell and Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, both of whom have appeared singly and together on the Factor, making outrageous statements and offering no proof whatsoever.

From the St. Petersburg Times, June 22, 2005, by Greg Hamilton:

"In the eyes of a handful of out-of-touch critics on the national scene, this stalwart defense is in line with their cockamamie conspiracy theory that has the sheriff, the state attorney and, amazingly, this newspaper all in league to cover up a botched investigation.

"In recent weeks, Fox television's minister of misinformation Bill O'Reilly has attacked these law enforcement agencies and the St. Petersburg Times for their actions. 'They're covering up something there,' he has blustered, while offering not a shred of proof to back up this absurd conclusion.

"Comments like this are to be expected from someone who masquerades as a journalist and uses outrage, rather than real reporting, to drum up lucrative ratings. No one with any sense takes O'Reilly seriously.

"But when a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, someone who should know better and who is expected to adhere to a higher standard of conduct, joins him in the mud, the situation changes - for the worse.

"Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, whose district includes much of Pasco County, was a guest on the June 8 broadcast; and in between inaccurate statements about the case, she managed to insult the integrity of law enforcement and the media.

"Brown-Waite said the state cannot prosecute the housemates now because the statute of limitations has expired (it has not; the limit is two years). She also overstated that federal authorities are actively investigating the case, which came as a surprise to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

''From the very beginning, the FBI has been involved,' spokesman Steve Cole told the Times. 'So, naturally, should there be a need for any kind of federal prosecution, our office would be involved." Guess that means O'Reilly and his cohorts will now include the FBI and the U.S. attorney in their conspiracy suspicions.

"Brown-Waite sat nodding enthusiastically while O'Reilly called Citrus law enforcement officials 'corrupt and inept.' She didn't disagree when a talk radio host said: 'Dawsy's office has been run by Barney Fife. This whole investigation has been bungled from the get-go.'

"For his part, Dawsy had nothing but disgust for the rumormongers and the pandering congresswoman. 'It is totally irresponsible,' he said of Brown-Waite's comments. 'She has zero knowledge" about the depth of the investigation.'

"Dawsy cited examples of the actions the various agencies took immediately after Jessica was reported missing. He talked about the painstaking, and frustrating, search for physical evidence at the scene; about the lengthy interrogations - and even his theories about why the many teams of search dogs came up empty.

"Much of this detail is contained in the 1,700-plus pages of investigative documents that already have been made public by authorities. No doubt, O'Reilly and Brown-Waite carefully read each page before reaching their conclusions.

"Dawsy clearly has no use for these uninformed mudslingers. 'I don't worry about Brown-Waite," he said, adding that "when Bill O'Reilly puts his (slang for testicles) on the line,' then he can criticize. 'He thinks he's more important than he is.'"

This disgusting sideshow, of course, does nothing but distract the law enforcement agencies from their main mission: bringing Jessica's killer to justice. On that front, Dawsy is adamant that his office has the goods on Couey, no matter what those outside the loop may say.

"And that, after all, is all that really matters."

As you can see, the St. Petersburg Times has little good to say about O'Reilly. As for the Congresswoman they point out that she is ignorant of the facts of the case.

Apparently neither O'Reilly nor the Congresswoman care whether they get their facts straight. In spite of this, last week O'Reilly declared that it was time for Floridians to rise up and get Brad King thrown out of office. Then last night he upped the ante by accusing King and Dawsy of botching the indictment of Couey's three roommates, Matthew Dittrich, Madie Secord and Dorothy Dixon.

BILL GRANT: ... The information that hasn't gotten out to the public is that, when the deputies made the arrest on March 19th, they began the process of speedy trial under Florida law and the Florida constitution where the state, after an arrest is made, the state will only have 90 days to bring them to trail for a misdemeanor or 175 days to bring them to trials for a felony. What the sheriff's department should have done - and they do it every single day - I worked in that office in that county - is they come in and they do intake. They come in and they visit with the State Attorney - an Assistant State Attorney. They drop off documents. They drop off their investigation. They don't go out and make a warrantless arrest because then speedy trial runs. Now we're stuck. We're gonna be forever barred from charging them with a misdemeanor and on September 10th of this year we'll be forever barred from charging them with a fe - or going to trial on a felony.

O'REILLY: Yeah, but King doesn't say that's the reason. King says there's nothin' to charge them with and I think that's baloney.

GRANT: ... the bottom line is that the Sheriff, Jeff Dawsy, initiated an arrest - and he shouldn't have done it - without the clearance of Brad King. Period.

O'REILLY: So they're all coverin' for each other, then? They're all coverin' up for each other.

GRANT: Well, I am astonished - I am simply astonished that it hasn't come out that the arrest triggered the entire process of how the state has bring folks to trial ...

*********

O'REILLY: I mean I want to get the B. S. off the table here. This is a massive cover-up. They're both coverin' for each other and then the St. Petersburg Times comes in and they're completely in the tank for King. Do you know why?

GRANT: You know I've never seen the situation - the St. Petersburg Times - so slanted, so hard, taking the hook, line and sinker approach with the sheriff. .. I was in .. Little Poppy's pizza place there in Inverness reading this editorial four or five days ago ... and just became incensed that I would have to eat and ... read that the St. Petersburg Times wants to attack Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite and based on what they had, and the bottom line is that the Sheriff of Citrus County is the one that botched this investigation, if you ask me. And the fact that they want to then hide behind the St. Petersburg Times how he wells up when Jessica Lunsford's name is mentioned. The entire community wells up with sympathy for this family.

O'REILLY: What is the - and I just want to point out again that you wrote an article and submitted it ...

GRANT: Yes.

O'REILLY: ... to the St. Petersburg Times which they did not run or haven't run yet, which is just disgraceful. It tells you about that newspaper. But, is - see, I'm so angry about this that I could spit. Because this is a nine-year-old girl who's brutally killed. I mean. no American should suffer the way this girl suffered.

Grant: No. And you know ...

O'REILLY; We know those three people. We know they didn't cooperate with police and, indeed, helped Couey flee the state. We know all that and they're walkin' around free, doin' whatever they do which the Sheriff says is drugs.

GRANT: The St. Petersburg Times would have us just accept that notion.

O'REILLY: Right!! No! No!

GRANT: And accept ..

O'REILY: But more than that!! They attack, as you pointed out, the Congresswoman and me ...

GRANT: They did.

O'REILLY (louder): ... for demanding justice!! They attacked us personally!! So they're, they're scum. I mean, that's what they are. Excuse me, my word, but that's what they are!! But see I'm not gettin' this whole thing as far as why they're all doin' it. Do you have any idea WHY they're all doin' it?

GRANT: It's not fathomable to me. What I don't understand is how the St. Petersburg Times can draw a parallel between John Couey and our - and our - and our Congresswoman - Ginny Brown-Waite - of being in the mud together.

O'REILLY: It's awful.

GRANT: I think it's absolutely reprehensible. She's the sponsor of federal legislation, the Jessica Lunsford Act, now being incorporated into the Sexual Predator Act by - with - Rep. Sensenburger - Sensenbrenner, excuse me - and I just don't get it, Bill.

O'REILLY: No. I don't either.

GRANT: I don't understand it

O'REILLY: There's something very, very wrong with Brad King, Dawsy the Sheriff and the paper. I think they're all in it on this cover-up together. Counselor, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

COMMENT

A short internet search has revealed that Bill Grant is the newly-elected Chairman of the Cirtus County Republican Executive Committee. Bill O'Reilly neglected to let his viewers know this critical piece of information.

In a sharp departure from three weeks ago, O'Reilly has stopped slamming Gov. Jeb Bush for his lack of action against Brad King.

King is a Republican in good standing with his party, although he was excoriated in April by radio talk show host Pat Campbell on the Factor for dropping fraud charges against the Democratic mayor of Orlando.

Clearly, Grant - Mr. Republican of Citrus County - was scheduled on O'Reilly's show yesterday to begin the rehabilitation of Brad King by offering up Sheriff Jeff Dawsy, a Democrat, as the scapegoat in the Jessica Lunsford case.

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