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O'Reilly puts words in Sanchez' mouth, infers he was talking about New York Times and NBC (coincidentally top of O'Reilly's enemies list)

Reported by Chrish - October 16, 2007 -

In the 10/15/07 Talking Points Memo bluntly titled "Is the Press Killing American Military People?" FOX's Bill O'Reilly, who routinely excludes himself from "the press" unless he's tooting his ratings horn, stated his belief that General Sanchez was "talking about liberal media outlets like The New York Times and NBC News" in his comments about the media's coverage of the war in Iraq.

According to O'Reilly, the pertinent comments that Sanchez said: "What is clear to me is that you are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war. For some of you just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases, or agendas."

O'Reilly rails about Media Matters taking him "out of context," just another example of his stupendous hypocrisy. General Sanchez's comments can be read in full here; when he deplores journalistic standards and top-down pushing of political agendas you can't help but think of FOX and Roger Ailes.

O'Reilly noted that the aforementioned outlets (comment: both at the top of his McCarthyesque enemies list) reported at great length about Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize and Sanchez's criticism of the conduct of the war, but failed to mention his media criticism. They also have not, according to O'Reilly, covered stories of an awards honor and an acquittal of two Green Berets last month.

He concluded

"General Sanchez was right on both counts: The Bush administration relied far too heavily on Iraqi cooperation. And when it didn't come, there was no Plan B. And at this point in history, the U.S. media is full of corrupt ideologues who put their world view above honest information. This is not only putting our military in danger, ladies and gentlemen, it puts all of us in danger."

Bill O'Reilly has just done what he accuses others, angrily, of doing: he cherrypicked the speech for three sentences to back up his agenda (smearing the media), and ignored pertinent and important information relating to the Iraq war. i.e., the rest of what Sanchez said. Except for his soundbite summation of Sanchez's comments O'Reilly, as usual, ignores the Iraq war.

Were he any kind of journalist he would have let viewers know that Sanchez lays the blame squarely on Washington, not the media:

"THE LATEST "REVISED STRATEGY" IS A DESPERATE ATTEMPT BY AN ADMINISTRATION THAT HAS NOT ACCEPTED THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REALITIES OF THIS WAR AND THEY HAVE DEFINITELY NOT COMMUNICATED THAT REALITY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AN EVEN WORSE AND MORE DISTURBING ASSESSMENT IS THAT AMERICA CAN NOT ACHIEVE THE POLITICAL CONSENSUS NECESSARY TO DEVISE A GRAND STRATEGY THAT WILL SYNCHRONIZE AND COMMIT OUR NATIONAL POWER TO ACHIEVE VICTORY IN IRAQ. SOME OF YOU HAVE HEARD ME TALK ABOUT OUR NATIONS CRISIS IN LEADERSHIP. LET ME ELABORATE.

WHILE THE POLITICIANS ESPOUSE THEIR RHETORIC DESIGNED TO PRESERVE THEIR REPUTATIONS AND THEIR POLITICAL POWER -OUR SOLDIERS DIE! "

Ellis Henican, reporter for Newsday, was the Top Story guest, lauded by O'Reilly for reporting on the medal of honor awarded to the Long Island Navy Seal. Henican argued O'Reilly's charge that the NYTimes ignored the Murphy story out of any anti-war or liberal bias; rather, he said, they are slow to cover "hometown" stories. He agreed that the Times failed to follow up on the story of the Green Berets, but refused to allow O'Reilly to ascribe ulterior liberal motives to it, insisting that neither one of them knows why it was not covered.

Henican dismissed Sanchez' media criticism as amateurish and clumsy (of course O'Reilly denied that as he was using it to shore up his talking points) , and quickly pointed out that O'Reilly assumed Sanchez was talking about the so-called liberal media. The left has been right because of their skepticism, he said, and O'Reilly called him a pinhead (twice) who got lucky. Henican took it good-naturedly, seeing that O'Reilly was losing the argument and had to resort to clowning.

But the biggest laugh was to come: O'Reilly said "our coverage has been fair...down the line. We cover major stories. "

Downing Street Memos.

Walter Reed.

Blackwater.

Iraq war profiteering.

O'Reilly covers lesser, individual stories as a means to point to other outlets who don't cover those exact stories, demanding homogenous coverage from all to prove they have no bias. Yet he consistently ignores the Iraq war , as documented by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, with these exceptions that he uses, frankly, to point to his upbeat and therefore unbiased coverage. t's crazy-making, as Melanie says.