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Anti-war protest minimized and mischaracterized as "far-left" on FOX

Reported by Chrish - January 30, 2007 -

O'Reilly Factor coverage tonight 1/29/07 regarding Saturday's protest in Washington DC was delegated to the Talking Points Memo, where he predictably stereotyped all participants as "far-left" and Bush haters.

A FOX crew was at the protest and caught up with celebrities who spoke there: Jane Fonda, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins, whose opinions frighten O'Reilly and "put us all in grave danger." He calls the "far-left secular progressives" insane, and said that's why not one "big name"elected official showed up at the rally - not one.

Well, that's a new trick. Technically he's not lying. Among the speakers were Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a 2008 presidential candidate, Rep, Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Maxine Waters, and Rep. John Conyers. That's four, not one, but his intention was to tell viewers that no officials showed because the crowd was so "far left," and/or that the ones who did show up were insignificant.

Here's a few fellow citizens that O'Reilly classifies as far-left and insane:

Struna, a mother of five who runs an art gallery, said she made a two-day bus trip with her 17-year-old daughter, Anna to the nation's capital to represent what she said was middle America's opposition to President Bush's war policy.
``My generation is the one that is going to have to pay for this,'' added the high school senior who said she knows as many as 20 friends who have been to Iraq.

"When we voted, it was a directive to bring our troops home now," said the Rev. Graylan Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington.

Tired of online protests, Jim Randolph of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., marched in the nation's capital Saturday to oppose the Iraq war with tens of thousands of pro-peace demonstrators.
His message to Congress: Sever funding for the Iraq war. Don't pass "meaningless" resolutions that do nothing but waste ink to challenge President Bush.
"Have the guts to cut the funding," said Randolph, 71. The retired truck driver said he's grown frustrated with virtual criticism and wanted to voice his opposition in person.

Frank Houde, 72, of Albany, N.Y., was a career Air Force pilot who served in Vietnam. Houde did not carry a sign, but said that his protest was on his hat, which said ``Veterans for peace.''

A small contingent of active-duty service members attended the rally, wearing civilian clothes because military rules forbid them from protesting in uniform.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Tassi McKee, 26, an intelligence specialist at Fort Meade, Md., said she joined the Air Force because of patriotism, travel and money for college. "After we went to Iraq, I began to see through the lies," she said. "I believe this has become a civil war, and we are being hurt and making matters worse by staying in the middle of it," McKee said.

"I've just gotten tired of seeing widows, tired of seeing dead Marines," said Vincent DiMezza, 32, wearing a dress Marine uniform from his years as a sergeant. A Marine aircraft mechanic from 1997 to 2002, he did not serve in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"I'm convinced this is Bush's war. He has his own agenda there," said Anne Chay, holding a sign with a picture of her 19-year-old son, John, who is serving in Iraq. "We're serving no purpose there."

Veterans were more numerous among the crowd. Dressed in the olive green, military-issued flight jacket that he said he wore during the invasion of Iraq while serving as a Marine sergeant, Jack Teller, 26, said he joined a caravan of vans coming from Greenville, N.C., because he felt that it was his duty.
"I don't like wearing the jacket, because it reminds me that I participated in an immoral and illegal war," Teller said. "But it's important to make a political statement."

Many protesters call the war illegal and immoral, and O'Reilly said "Of course, they're wrong about the illegal part." End of discussion, in O'Reilly-world. But there are hundreds of attorneys and professors and military professionals and international courts and diplomats and politicians (including Pentagon hawk and PNAC signator Richard Perle, weapons inspector Hans Blix, and Kofi Annan, who also assert that the war is illegal - it's far from a settled issue.

As for the immoral angle, he showed a clip of Sunsara Taylor of WorldCan'tWait (who O'Reilly called a " lunatic") and she stated that a pre-emptive war of aggression is a war crime by Nuremberg standards. O'Reilly says that her belief that the US has to first be attacked to respond is "the far-left secular progressive position" and it becomes problematic when Iran (for example) wants to violate the UN nuclear treaty.

"(A)nti-American actor Sean Penn," "who consistently sides with America's enemies," said to the producer that we should understand that Iran is (possibly) trying to develop nuclear weapons because we have them already, and we should try to talk to them. O'Reilly finds that logic "incredible."

Jane Fonda was next, and predictably again O'Reilly said "she rooted for the Viet Namese" in that war. The producer badgered her about the deaths that may result if we pull out of Iraq, and she responded that she was concerned about the deaths occurring now. He asked about the millions of deaths in Viet Nam and Cambodia that followed our troop pullout, and she replied that those deaths were the result of the US going in there in the first place. O'Reilly misrepresented her remarks, saying she said "we did that - some force of nature somewhere, something..." as he looked dramatically around the ceiling.

Are you getting the picture here? Want more? asked O'Reilly. Susan Sarandon was asked if she was concerned about the civilian casualties that would result if we pull out of Iraq, and she replied that there have already been over 650,000 civilian deaths. That was the extent of the response we got to see, and then O'Reilly refuted her "far-left number" and cited the Brookings Institution and the UN as having much much lower numbers - estimates are "only" 59,000 and 150,000, respectively.

Sarandon's number came from studies performed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad and published in the October 14, 2006, edition of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, The Lancet. It is par for the course for O'Reilly to dismiss a comprehensive scientific study, especially if it doesn't support his point of view.

"Talking Points" admits that the war in Iraq is a disaster, but insists that "cut and run" would be even worse. The far-left, he says, dismisses that; enter Tim Robbins. He disagrees with the producer who says it could potentially get worse if we leave, because returning vets he's spoken to say so. The producer persisted "even if Iran were to take over the country?" Robbins said he didn't know, but the producer seems to support the war, and he's a pretty young guy - maybe he should enlist. O'Reilly sarcastically mocked Robbins for that comment - very nice, very intellectual - and proceeded to lecture.

The far-left wants peace at the expense of national security, says he. The reverse can be said of him and his 30% minority - they want national security at the expense of peace.

The "far-left" despises Reagan and admires Castro. They hate Bush more than Saddam. They frighten him. (That ploy is to tell his viewers, "clear-thinking people," to be afraid of anti-war people like the ones noted above.) They're insane, and frightening - and that's the meme. (sic)

O'Reilly made sure to make a couple of mentions that the Iraq war is a mess because odds are there's a portion of his followers that have belatedly turned against it and he wants to be able to point to those sentence fragments as evidence of his independence, but despite those disclaimers he still did his job, his hit piece, on the protests.

("far-left" count = 8)