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Bill O'Reilly cuts mic of US Colonel Ann Wright as she defends her service and stance

Reported by Chrish - March 31, 2007 -

It seems the last straw that led to Bill O'Reilly cutting the mic of retired US. Army Colonel Ann Wright on The Factor last night 3/30/07 was her declaration of 29 years of service, and her questioning O'Reilly about how many years he served. This happened as she refused to let him silence her by overtalking, twisting her words and accusing her of blaming America for the Iran-Britain situation going on now. With video.

Wright,who taught the Geneva Conventions to troops at Fort Bragg, might just know what she's talking about, but O'Reilly didn't like the direction of her comments so overtalked with increasing agitation, accusing her of blaming America.

Aggressive from the get go, he demanded she answer yes or no to the question whether she agrees with the UN assertion that Iran's capture of the Brits is an unprovoked act of aggression.
She replied that there is still some question as to where the sailors were when they were taken, and O'Reilly dismissed that by saying 'it'll never be proven." Wright continued that the main thing now is to not let this incident get ratcheted up, because the dangers of escalation are tremendous. Not good enough for O'Reilly, he badgered her and demanded again a yes or no answer. She replied (essentially) that there is no war between Iran and Great Britain so the prisoner of war rules do not apply, but advises that Iran should keep the moral high ground by not mistreating the sailors and marines. She agreed that they should not be showing photos for public curiosity but noted that we have done the same so we have given up the moral high ground. O'Reilly immediately misinterpreted her, saying "so this is our fault? This Iranian seizure is our fault?"

Wright replied "No, not at all, not at all, but the treatment of prisoners and detainees..." and he cut her off, saying he wanted to stop the interview right there to tell her how she's coming across: she answered a specific question with generalities, she flung it back on America (who "isn't even in play here") and took a slap at her own country, "madam," and viewers are going to pick up on this.

Comment: Well sure, now that you cut her off and told them what to take from it. We report, you decide, remember?

Wright retorted that people watching need to be aware that we have very very difficult situations going on in the Middle East,where the United States has practically an entire armada across the Persian Gulf, (O'Reilly overtalked her statement here, throwing his hands up and saying he knew she was going to say that, that this is our fault) and we need to be very careful. Any escalation over whatever provocations have to be treated with care, and we appeal to the Iranians to treat the British detainees according to international law. O'Reilly said they're laughing at her appeal, as she continued to say that the US has to treat people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo according to international law also.

O'Reilly seized on that for a flamboyant rant that she's saying it's all our fault, this whole thing is our fault, it's our fault, right? As she protested he ratcheted up the drama, saying no, no, no, I'm agreeing with you, we're the evil ones, it's all our fault, we're the evil ones, right? Because that's what you're putting out there.

Comment: No, that's what YOU are putting out there. He's putting words in her mouth right there in front of everyone. He must think his viewers are dumber than dirt.

She kept denying his misinterpretation but reiterated that we are having trouble determining right from wrong, and the Bush administration has chosen a very different route from the Geneva Conventions. She appeals the the US government as she appeals to the Iranians to not subject detainees to public curiosity, humiliation, and/or intimidation in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

O'Reilly wanted to recap again, just in case.... Wright was brought on to talk about the Iranians and the Geneva Conventions but she turned it around to slap at her own country, to diminish the Bush administration, and to "bring in all these other things" without criticizing Iran once! (with a triumphant jab.) Wright, who apparently studied O'Reilly tapes before her appearance, kept her message coming: she diminished the Bush administration rightfully because they have been violating international law and the Geneva conventions. Tragically, the US Congress went along with it via the Military Commissions Act that gave them alternative interrogation techniques. She wants to make sure that the Iranians treat people properly and she wants to make sure the United States does the same. "Sure you do, sure you do", dismissed the gracious host, who had been overtalking the last sentences with inanities like "I'm glad you came on" and "I love the fact that you came on."

Those sarcastic "sure you do"s prompted the Colonel to say "I surely do; that's why I spent 29 years of my life trying to do. The Geneva Conventions are very, very important." Chickenhawk O'Reilly overtalked her again, saying "No you didn't. You know what happened to you? Somewhere along the line, you started to dislike your own country." Wright was having none of it, and reiterated that she served twenty-nine years; how long did O'Reilly serve? When did he teach the Geneva Conventions? At that, the chickenhawk asserted his great power and ordered her mic cut.

As she continued to speak to a dead mic,O'Reilly got the last word: he wanted viewers to see that - Not about Iran, not about seizure of the Brits...(dramatic pause and then he points to himself) "we're bad. That's the, and she's not alone. That's what you have."

The banner beneath the Colonel at the beginning read "U.S. Army (Ret.) Col. Ann Wright" changed to "Col.Ann Wright retired from State Dept. in opposition to Iraq war" and ended with "Anti-war activist Col. Ann Wright."

Clearly O'Reilly knew her position when he invited her and tried to trap her with a yes or no question. When she failed to fall for his bait, he became rude and derogatory and wouldn't allow her to make her points without his overtalking (I had to rewind and re-listen multiple times to determine what she was saying at several points. Watching it on TV, one would miss much of what she said as he is louder, always.) When she proudly stood up for herself and challenged him to match her service to country, he cut her off. He oversimplified her stance to suit his simplistic book's theme, to fit her in his teeny world-view. Ignore the service, ignore the expertise: she's saying the Bush administration has done something wrong so she must be terminated. I know fourth graders who conduct better interviews.

I fully expect to see segments next week further misrepresenting her views and statements, just like he did last week with Sunsara Taylor and Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.