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O'Reilly: What's the Matter with the Brits? Can't They See They're Being Duped by Jane Fonda?

Reported by Marie Therese - July 12, 2005

If you watched FOX News yesterday, it would be easy to ascertain what the daily memo asked its anchors to push, i.e., the British press doesn't grasp the depth, width and breadth of the massive international Islamic terrorist conspiracy directed against all freedom-loving peoples everywhere and, therefore, the British people are in the dark about the hordes of villainous murderers living right in their own neighborhoods.

Clearly, FOX News set itself the task yesterday of enlightening its UK viewers, hoping that a barrage of accusatory rhetoric would coax weak-kneed liberals like the Mayor of London and the BBC into altering their preternaturally calm behavior, catapult them into mimicking the Yanks by erupting into a paroxysm of invective and rights-limiting legislation, all the while offering up hosannas to stalwart and true PM Tony Blair.

Last night [7-11-05] Bill O'Reilly was clearly perturbed by the matter-of-fact way in which Londoners have gone about their business, stiff upper lip and all, with nary a ripple in their daily routine.

The show started off as usual with the O'Reilly Talking Points Memo, a classic piece of blustering in which the avuncular host excoriated the BBC and Jane Fonda for misleading the British people:

BILL O'REILLY: How Jane Fonda and the BBC put YOU in danger. That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

As you may know, I was in Europe last week and whenever the discussion turned to Iraq, it was not about deposing Saddam's brutal regime or about allowing millions of Iraqis to vote for the first time in decades or about the terrorist Zarqawi beheading civilians and blowing up women and children. No! On the telly Iraq was all about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Thank you, left-wing media!

The anti-Bush press and the people who aid them have greatly succeeded in turning the war on terror into a "Bash America" fest. You have to hand it to those people - they are effective. But that was before the London terror attack. Will things change now? Don't count on it.

That's because media like the BBC won't stop its spin. While in Ireland, I watched in amazement as a BBC interviewer named Gavin Esler baited an incredibly dim Jane Fonda into putting the worst possible face on her country.

BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, July 1, 2005:

GAVIN ESLER, BBC: ... But is it like the Vietnam days in the sense that - even worse than the Vietnam days in some ways because people around the world don't think the Bush administration is telling the truth about why we went to war and what the consequences in Iraq might be?

JANE FONDA: I don't know about better or worse than Vietnam. Externally I'm not sure it's worse than Vietnam. We were being so severely criticized around the world because of the war in Vietnam, which is one of the reasons that it ended because of world opinion but I think the situation inside the United States right now is worse than then. It's - it's really scary.

END VIDEO CLIP.

[NOTE: Gavin Esler hosts Hardtalk Extra on the BBC and interviewed Fonda on July 1st. You can watch the entire video online by clicking here.

What O'Reilly did not air were all the other things Ms. Fonda said during this interview, for example: "There's the ideologues who flog the myth for their own cause - narrow world view - and then there's the fact that there's no real understanding of the war. So many people think we could have won it if it hadn't been for people like me, which is wrong ... When the war ended and Reagan was elected, there was a brilliant attempt at revisionism and the other side wasn't as brilliant at saying: Hey, wait a minute. ...The revisionism said we could have won this war if it hadn't been for for the antiwar movement and the liberal media. If you read the Pentagon Papers you know that five administrations including Nixon knew they couldn't win and they had to keep escalating the war so as not to lose. They won the PR fight. So, a lot of people, you know, bought into it."

When asked, she mentioned that she has obtained copies of the 22,000 pages of her files and asserted that she was the first American citizen whose mail was opened routinely by the CIA. Later she commented: "I didn't commit any illegal acts. The government committed illegal acts and many of them went to jail. I'm still here. (waves) Hello!"

The Veterans Administration has selected her film "Coming Home" as one of the two best films about returning veterans and the problems they face. "I am proud of that film," Fonda said. Just prior to the clip transcribed above, Esler and Fonda engaged in the following exchange, which, taken in context, is diametrically opposed to the spin O'Reilly later puts on it:

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT OF VIDEO CLIP

ESLER: You travel around a lot. You know how America is seen around the world.

FONDA: I do, yes

ESLER: You know the America you love and represent. How do you feel about that? I mean do you accept that America is disliked and Americans are disliked around the world?

FONDA (forcefully): No! I don't accept it! I mean, I know it's true

ESLER; You know it's true.

FONDA: I know it's true but you know I'm fighting to change it with a whole lot of other people by the way. You know I just traveled through the heartland of America with my book and there are a lot of people who don't agree with the things that are being done that make so many parts of the world hate us.

ESLER: ... But is it like the Vietnam days in the sense that - even worse than the Vietnam days in some ways because people around the world don't think the Bush administration is telling the truth about why we went to war and what the consequences in Iraq might be.

FONDA: I don't know about better or worse than Vietnam. Externally I'm not sure it's worse than Vietnam. We were being so severely criticized around the world because of the war in Vietnam, which is one of the reasons that it ended because of world opinion but I think the situation inside the United States right now is worse than then. It's - it's really scary.

ESLER: In what way?

FONDA: They have control of almost all - you know - the judiciary, the Congress, the White House, the media. You know, thanks to Rupert Murdoch, there's this - there's this lowest common - basement level common denominator that's been sunk to, where they call it news and it's not news. They're just a mouthpiece for the administration. And the Democratic party, in my opinion, has collaborated with the right wing in removing economics from the table. You know, it's like - people don't anymore think about their economic interests or vote according to their economic interests.

ESLER: They think about tax cuts and, you know, taxes are what gets you elected.

FONDA: And they don't understand that the people getting rich are the already very rich or hyper-rich is what I think it's called now. But if a corporate candidate runs for office, someone who would destroy you, a working bloke, you know, a blue collar worker, would take your job and outsource it and do other things that would hurt your economic interests, but he's against abortion or he's against gay marriage, you'll vote for him at your own economic expense. Scary.

END TRANSCRIPT. Reminder: Bill's audience DID NOT get to hear the bulk of what you just read!]

O'REILLY: What is really scary is that millions of people all over the world believe what Miss Fonda is saying. They believe the USA is going through another Vietnam-like upheaval which is far from the truth. Most Americans are solidly behind the war on terror and even the division on Iraq is based on performance rather than ideology. The problem with all this America-bashing is that it makes it almost impossible for the USA to get a fair hearing on terror strategy. We've been stigmatized. Anything we do to hunt down the true evildoers is either suspect or rejected out of hand. Once again Talking Points urges all Americans to understand that people like Jane Fonda do damage to the country, even though the woman probably doesn't realize it. The only way to defeat worldwide terrorism is for the world to unite against it and overcome differences in support of that greater good. Maybe the London killings will help in that effort. What say you BBC? And that's the Memo.

[COMMENT: From truthout.com, July 9, 2005:

"The Gallup organization released a new survey this week which found that 41% of US respondents believed that neither the US and its allies nor the 'terrorists' were currently winning the war and that a two-and-a-half year high of 20% of the public believed that the 'terrorists are winning'.

"Thirty-six percent of respondents, nearly two-thirds of whom described themselves as Republicans, said the US was winning the war, down sharply from 66% after the US-supported ouster of the Taliban in Afghanistan in January 2002, and 65% after US troops captured Baghdad in April 2003."

"'Not only did the poll reveal increasing public frustration with the war in Iraq and flagging presidential approval ratings,' said Darren Carlson, Gallup's government and politics editor, 'but it also showed the public is not too confident that the United States and its allies are winning the war against terrorism.'"

To view several recent polls including the one from CNN-Gallup 7-7-05, click here.]

O'REILLY: Now, for the top story tonight. One of the big differences between America and Britain is that America does not tolerate hate speech. If a Muslim publicly calls for death to Americans or Jews or anybody, that person is often dealt with by the federal government. Case in point - Sami al-Arian is now on trial in Florida.

[NOTE: As O'Reilly knows full well, Sami al-Arian is not being tried for hate speech. He's being tried on suspicion of materially aiding terrorist organizations. The First Amendment guarantees each of us the right to say what we want to say, even if that speech is hateful. If it did not, I and millions like me would have sued Bill O'Reilly and FOX News long ago for calling us hateful names, e.g., traitors, anti-American, stupid, dim-witted, pinheads, elitist, bombthrowers, terror-lovers, etc.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld each American's right to speak his or her mind. Clearly, Mr. Bill would like to see that right abrogated. For those who subscribe, Salon.com has a great article analyzing the seven-year campaign by the Tampa Tribune aided and abetted by faux terror expert Steve Emerson and Bill O'Reilly to hound al-Arian mercilessly over allegations that he knowingly donated money to Hamas and other terrorist groups.]

O'REILLY: But in Britain the government allows the worse kind of threats and that leads to an explosive - pardon the pun - atmosphere.

O'Reilly then interviewed Viet Dinh, a brilliant but extremely conservative law professor at Georgetown, who is generally considered the architect of the Patriot Act. O'Reilly got all hot under the collar discussing the awful liberal British and how they allow radical clerics to preach anti-American and pro-radical views at mosques in the heavily Muslim sections of London.

My report on this interview will follow tomorrow.

As for O'Reilly's disparaging comments about Ms. Fonda, of course, it had nothing to do with the fact that she blamed Rupert Murdoch for the dumbing down of media coverage.

If you believe, that, there's a nice bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you!

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