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Bill O'Reilly's Conflict of Interest

Reported by Marie Therese - January 6, 2007 -

On Friday's edition of The O'Reilly Factor, during a Talking Points Memo on Iraq, host Bill O'Reilly mentioned a company called Stratfor. He cited a report that Stratfor had produced that he claimed contradicted statements made by NBC's Tom Brokaw about the aftermath of the execution of Saddam Hussein. However, O'Reilly did not bother to disclose to his viewers that he has an ongoing business connection with Stratfor.

BILL O'REILLY: "Next week President Bush will announce his plans to stabilize things in Iraq, a plan that will most likely include sending more American troops to that chaotic country. Now, clear thinking people understand that the war in Iraq has not gone well. Here's what I said on this broadcast 18 months ago."

Begin VIDEO CLIP:

Bill O'Reilly, June 29, 2005: "President Bush must be held accountable for what happens from here on in. I think it's fair to give the military one more year to train the Iraqis to fight for themselves. If things are awful in Iraq this time next year, then it will be fair to say that the Bush administration has failed in that country,"

End VIDEO CLIP.

O'REILLY: "And so it was. Things did not improve in Iraq and the American people voted the Republicans out. So now all loyal Americans have a decision to make.

"Should we support one final effort to defeat the enemy in Iraq?

"I say 'yes'.

"If Iraq can be stabilized and become a country that fights against terror, that would be a huge win not only for the USA but for the entire world. There is now a new US commander in Iraq - General Petraeus - and although more lives will be lost, I believe the right thing to do is to give the effort a bit more time.

"But I respect dissent on this. I could be wrong. Maybe the Iraqi people simply will not do what is necessary to have freedom. But I don't respect Americans who want the USA to lose in Iraq because they hate Bush or any other reason."

O'Reilly went on to make his by-now hackneyed claims that the "liberal" media - especially NBC and MSNBC - are refusing to give President Bush any support for his new plan for the "Way Forward in Iraq".

He aired video clips of Chris Matthews of MSNBC questioning Sen. James Webb about the sanity of a "surge" approach and of Tom Brokaw speaking about how badly the execution of Saddam Hussein was handled. (Later in the show, during an accusatory and belligerent interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell, O'Reilly made the astounding claim that Chris Matthews is a liberal!)

In the clip Brokaw said this: "... [But] not to have control of the execution and to have it, really, just fuel more sectarian violence at a time when we're trying to dampen that is - uh - is not helpful, which is an understatement."

O'Reilly responded, saying "Well, Brokaw was wrong. There has not been a rise in violence since Saddam's execution according to Stratfor, a non-partisan group that analyzes Iraq. One final thing about NBC News. A Center for Media and Public Affairs study concluded that that network favored John Kerry more than any other network in the 2004 election. So, next week, when the President announces his new Iraq strategy, expect overwhelmingly negative coverage from NBC News and others. I hope I'm wrong."

COMMENT
Stratfor (AKA "Strategic Forecasting, Inc.") was founded in Austin, Texas in 1996 by George Friedman. According to their website, "Stratfor specializes in providing situational awareness, focused insight and actionable intelligence in the areas of geopolitics, security and public policy to help our clients prepare for uncertainties and take action for maximizing results." The company offers the following services:

• Online Subscriptions
• On-Call Analyst Consultations
• Executive Briefings & Seminars
• Industry Risk Profiles
• Threat & Opportunity Assessments
• Crisis Intelligence
• Situation Monitoring
• Security Assessments
• Diagnostic Protective Surveillance
• Protective Intelligence
• Executive Travel Security Reports
• Custom Reports & Research

On BillOReilly.com, Bill O'Reilly offers a special site feature called "Stratfor.com Intel Briefings". His readers are eligible for discounts on Stratfor's services.

Here is the offer that appears on the O'Reilly blog January 5, 2007 at the end of a post entitled "The 'Surge Strategy': Political Arguments and Military Realities" written by Stratfor CEO George Friedman:

Stratfor is a private intelligence company delivering in-depth analysis, assessments and forecasts on global geopolitical, economic, security and public policy issues. A variety of subscription-based access, free intelligence reports and confidential consulting are available for individuals and corporations.

Click here to take advantage of 50% OFF regular subscription rates - offered exclusively for BillOReilly.com readers.

Posted by George Friedman, Stratfor.com at 11:20 AM.

Bill O'Reilly is entitled to make money, write contracts and offer deals involving any purveyor of goods and services that he chooses. There is nothing wrong with that. However, in the case of Stratfor, he apparently does not believe that he is required to inform his viewers that he has a prior existing business relationship with a company whose expertise he is plugging on air.

If you would like to protest this behavior, you can email him and his FOX News masters at the following addresses:

oreilly@foxnews.com

comments@foxnews.com