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Whine-Fest II: Factor Guest Unhappy - Smear Campaign Continues - Powerline Praised

Reported by Marie Therese - October 6, 2005

David Kline, who appeared with Jed Babbin on Tuesday's O'Reilly Factor [10-4-05], is quite upset about the experience. He feels that the producers of the show used "bait and switch" tactics on him, telling him that he was being invited to speak about "political blogs and the impact they are having on the American political process." However, once he was on screen he realized that the whole segment had morphed into an attack on liberal website Media Matters.

It appears that during the segment, Bill O'Reilly told a little fib (hardly earthshaking news!).

O'REILLY: "But here's the problem: These people are so vicious, and they -- the media is so corrupt in taking their uncorroborated, as Mr. Babbin pointed out -- defamation that most people now won't run for office, sir. They won't do television and radio commentary. They won't put the -- when we had to book this segment, I couldn't get people to come on and say what you guys are saying, because they were afraid that Media Matters would go after them. They -- I couldn't -- I had people turn down this segment -- a bunch of them -- what are you, crazy? I'm going to criticize these assassins? They'll come after me. And that's a chilling effect."

However, Think Progress has verified that this is not quite true. O'Reilly 's producers had scheduled a guest from Powerline, then canceled, telling Powerline that "they had decided to take the show in a different direction." Read more about what David Kline has to say on his blog.

It looks like O'Reilly got a little heat from the right-wingers, because on last night's show [10-5-05] he devoted a whole four minute segment to Powerline, a conservative blog run by lawyers. Yes, that's right - lawyers!

Naturally, Powerline writer, Paul Mirengoff, played right along with O'Reilly, creating the image of serene conservatism, secure in its knowledge of truth, justice and the American way, all the while denying receipt of any "secret" funding stream from private conservative billionaires. After a brief discussion of how fairly Powerline treated Dan Rather and Memogate, O'Reilly went on to state - with no documentation - that some liberal blogs are receiving funding from George Soros. Of course he never actually NAMED those blogs so the Factor viewers were left to assume that any and all liberal blogs are potential recipients of Soros' largesse.

O'REILLY: OK. Alright. So you say you're in business to get truth out to the folks. That's what you're in business to do.

MIRNGOFF: Yes and to present conservative opinion.

O'REILLY: Opinion. Alright. Now some of these other smear websites on the left, I mean all they do is follow people around and tape them and try to, you know, get little things that they say and take 'em out of context so if you say a joke, they present it as serious. Do you do that as well? Are you tryin' to denigrate the other side?

MIRENGOFF: No. We try to treat the other side with respect.

O'REILLY: Nothing more to say on that? You don't use defamatory tactics? You don't go after anybody and try to destroy them because you disagree with them?

MIRENGOFF: No. I mean on the Rather story ,for instance, you know, if you look at our lengthy post on that, you won't even find the name Dan Rather. We were focused on the story, trying to determine whether it was true or false, not on the individual.

O'REILLY: So you didn't, you didn't bad mouth Rather? You didn't do a history of his Ratherisms or try to make him look like some kind of ideological fool?

MIRENGOFF: No, not - not at - not at f - later on we - we linked to some - his history became relevant when he continued denying, you know, denying the story, we linked to some people who did that, but our focus was on the story, not on Dan Rather.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, Powerline has become very successful and it's you and a couple of other lawyers runnin' it, correct?


O'REILLY: Now George Soros on the left has bought his way into a number of these websites (Mirengoff shakes his head in agreement, a video clip of Soros appeared with caption "Billionaire Philanthropist") and uses them to obviously try to hurt people with whom he disagrees. You have silent funding from right-wingers?

MIRENGOFF: No. We, we, we don't get a penny from anybody. We, we -you know - our goal is to say what we think and we don't want to be constrained. We don't want to be bought and paid for or doing anyone's bidding.

O'REILLY: So no - no Mellon Scaife or any of these guys kick you money and do any of that.

MIRENGOFF: No, absolutely not. Not a penny.

[COMMENT: Well, these guys are lawyers, after all. Gimme a break. One of them probably makes more money in a year that all nine of us put together!}

O'REILLY: Alright.

MIRENGOFF: We have a little advertising revenue now. That's is.

O'REILLY: So you're basically above-board, conservative but not looking to destroy anybody.

MIRENGOFF: No. We - we're not out to destroy anybody. We try to be about ideas and and we call 'em as we see 'em and because we're not funded, we have the freedom to do that.

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