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Bill O'Reilly's false accusations du jour a trifecta of smears

Reported by Chrish - July 11, 2006 -

Bill O'Reilly was back on The Factor tonight 7/10/06, more shrill than ever. The lies were fast and furious, beginning with his claim to be hosting a "no-spin zone." At issue were comments about the mental health of our troops in Iraq and recent recruiting numbers. Colonel David Hunt and Lt. General Thomas McInerney were on hand to triple-team the absent victims.

The introductory teasers at the top of the hour included a clip of Senator Barbara Boxer on CNN's Late Edition, saying that one in three troops are suffering Post-Traumatic Stress and many are being sent into battle while using anti-depressants. Off camera O'Reilly asks incredulously "Is that true?!? The far-left is saying the military in Iraq is falling apart. Also, charges that white supremacists have infiltrated the military."

A few minutes later, for the "top story", he repeated the charge to introduce the segment : "The far-left believes the US military is falling apart in Iraq." Cut to video of Boxer, who says "They are in deep trouble over there - our troops are. And many of them are being sent onto the battlefield with anti-depressants. I really feel that the whole issue here is getting out of there. "

Also, according to O'Reilly, "New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote today that the military is 'infested with Nazis and morale is akin to Viet Nam. But is all this true?" (Comment: NO. O'Reilly is spinning Herbert's words.) He is joined by the two hard-right military guys, Col. David Hunt and Lt. General Thomas McInerney.

McInerney is FOX's dream military commentator - all hawk, all flag, no patience for Americans with different viewpoints from his.

O'Reilly quoted Herbert, whom they all know is very anti-Bush, as saying

"The Army has had to lower its standards because most young Americans want no part of George Bush's war in Iraq. Recruiters, desperate to meet their quotas, are sifting for warm bodies among those who are less talented, less disciplined, and in some cases repellant. John Kifner reported in the Times last week that a study by a watchdog group that showed recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed quote 'large numbers of neo-Nazis (his emphasis) and skinhead extremists to infiltrate the military unquote.''"

What's left out (c'mon, you knew there was something pertinent left out) is the following paragraph:

"The study, by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist groups, was titled "A Few Bad Men." It said that recruiters and base commanders, under intense pressure to fill the thinning ranks, "often look the other way" as militant white supremacists and anti-Semites make their way into the armed forces.

The center quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying: "We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad. That's a problem."

Unaware of the DoD concern, McInerney voiced his indignation and denial first, and in true FOX fashion smears the New York Times: "All the trash that's fit to print, Bill" and proceeds to defend and glorify the military, calling it the best ever. He is pleased that the reserves and the National Guard, for the first time in history, are integrated with the active force and have combat experience. He asserts that the re-enlistment rate is about 2/3 and claims that recruiters are more than making their goals for thirteen months in a row now. (That's more than a year, he tells the math-impaired in the audience.) But according to ABCNews.com, "This June marked the ninth month in a row that the Army has met or exceeded its monthly recruiting goal." After finding numerous articles on the shortfalls of last year, figures for the current year are strangely hard to come by. The shortfall last year, the largest margin since 1979 according to Military.com, was attributed to potential recruits shying away from Irag and Afghanistan.

As McInerney continues to defend the military, O'Reilly asks then why would Herbert write that? Is he just misinformed? O'Reilly says "He's basically saying flat out the military's taking Nazis because they can't fill the ranks."

McInerney smears the messenger again, saying "Jason Blair wrote better stuff than this guy. ... I'd can him...He has an agenda, like the New York Times....Let's go after Bush...." and accuses Herbert of going after the troops, absolutely disgraceful. He's the perfect straight man to answer O'Reilly's falsehoods.

Herbert's opinion piece was based on the report from The Southern Poverty Law Center, which in part said

"Ten years after a scandal over neo-Nazis in the armed forces, extremists are once again worming their way into a recruit-starved military. The Intelligence Project uncovers how white supremacists are using military training to prepare for their own wars at home.

Under pressure to meet wartime manpower goals, the U.S. military has relaxed standards designed to weed out racist extremists. Large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the armed forces.

Department of Defense investigators estimate thousands of soldiers in the Army alone are involved in extremist or gang activity
. "We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," said one investigator. "That's a problem."

Hm, Herbert is opining on an earlier Times report that refers to a SPLC report that quotes the DoD, yet somehow O'Reilly is telling his viewers that the "far-left" Herbert at the treasonous New York Times is the source of these unpatriotic (and probably treasonous too, why not) statements. No, no spin there!

O'Reilly turns to Hunt and changes the subject to Boxer's comments and asks if they're true? Hunt acknowledges that returning from a deployment usually requires an adjustment, and that there are doctors better equipped to help those who need it, but denies that the numbers are 30%. He states that we're not sending kids who are on depressants into combat; in fact, he says, "if a soldier is taking a depressant he can't go into combat." O'Reilly lets the mistake go, which leaves viewers with the impression that the Colonel just completely refuted what Senator Boxer said early in the segment. He too defends the soldiers working in 125 degree heat, and then says "I'm afraid there's some lying going on. Boxer knows better. She took a statistic and embellished and once again used soldiers for her political purpose, and that's just wrong. Herbert is either lying or doesn't know what the truth is." He agrees with McKinerney - imagine that - and says there might be one or two neo-nazis - there were two cops working for the Mafia in NYC; does that mean all the NC cops are working for the Mafia? He is making no sense and O'Reilly butts in to prevent him from going any farther afield. Loon.

Maybe Boxer got her numbers from FOXNews.com, which reports that

"Steve Robinson, director of the National Gulf War Resource Center, a veterans advocacy organization.... and other critics point to recent Army statistics indicating that 35 percent of soldiers and Marines returning from Iraq sought mental health care and 19 percent were diagnosed with a mental disorder like post traumatic stress disorder, depression or anxiety within a year of coming home.

"The high rate of using mental health services among Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans after deployment highlights challenges in ensuring that there are adequate resources to meet the mental health needs of returning veterans," reads the study, published by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the March 1 Journal of the American Medical Association.

The numbers were based on screening and follow-ups of more than 300,000 troops returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia from May 2003 to April 2004, leading many to surmise that the number with mental health problems has increased since then, since the rate of battlefield casualties among U.S. service members has also risen.

"[The study] is only marginally relevant to what condition our troops currently find themselves in," said I.L. Meagher, editor of PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within. "A lot has changed since that time, including increased number of troop deployments ... and an escalation in [improvised explosive device] attacks."


O'Reilly, showing his journalistic standards and research skills, presents the next question: "You both are Viet Nam vets. I believe, General, you had four tours and Colonel, you had three? Something? Am I close there? " He posits that that Herbert and the New York Times, editorially, are trying to portray this war as another Viet Nam, the military is falling apart, no strategy to win, misadventure, and it's the same thing. (Comment: that's the third time - fourth counting the chyron beginning the show - that the phrase "falling apart" has been attributed to "the far-left", the new "liberal media", today represented by Herbert/Boxer/NYT. None actually used the phrase.)

Asked if the analogy is correct, McInerney says it is not, because we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here, and it's different from fighting communism over there so it doesn't spread to here, because.......9/11. Extremists hit us that day and we're fighting extremists, just like the Nazis and the Russians. And the Communists. Comment: I'm sorry, this man makes very little sense when he speaks. He just went full circle on himself. I fear his reasoning skills are kaput.

Given the last twenty seconds, Hunt said there's no comparison - the Army today is much better, the best, and the Boxers and herberts of the world are "flat lying about our guys."

Apparently if there's a D after your name or you don't parrot the neo-con agenda, you're not supposed to even mention soldiers. Anything you say regarding soldiers will be twisted and misconstrued, and the YOU will be accused of exploiting them for political gain. No, no spin there!

Notice how Herbert and Boxer, whose pictures were presented multiple times during the segment, are being trashed for things they didn't say by two far-right military guys. Not only are they not there to discuss their own comments and to de-spin them, they don't even have a sane surrogate there to defend them by simply putting the soundbites back into context. This was a hit piece in typical O'Reilly style: incomplete information, one-sided, outsourced smears, and spun to perfection.