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Battle rages between O'Reilly and NBC, surrogates Ingraham and Rove oblige for absent bloviator - must be sweeps month

Reported by Chrish - May 19, 2008 -

We've been observing and posting as Bill O'Reilly has used his highly rated "news" program to ramp up the rhetoric against his nemesis, "elements at NBC," his employer MSNBC, sister company NBC and NBC Nightly News, and their parent company General Electric. Today Howard Kurtz published an article in the Washington Post alleging instructions from higher ups egged on the already vindictive O'Reilly. Today, oh so coincidentally, the White House (via Bush Counsel Ed Gillespie) demanded a clarification regarding an interview of Bush by NBC News reporter Richard Engel, accusing them of "deceitful editing to further a media-manufactured storyline." Tonight 5/19/08 O'Reilly's regular subsititute host, Laura Ingraham, and guest Karl Rove ranted about NBC in O'Reilly's stead.
With video.

Right and Righter first complained that the interview was either deliberately edited to misrepresent Bush's explanation, an example of bias, or was just plain sloppy - neither speaks well of NBC.

They zeroed in on Gillespie's line, which eerily echos O'Reilly's that "... I'm sure you don't want people to conclude that there is really no distinction between the "news" as reported on NBC and the "opinion" as reported on MSNBC, despite the increasing blurring of those lines." Ingraham laughed at NBC's positioning of Chris Matthews "and the like" (Keith Olbermann) with Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams for post-election analysis, presumably comparing it unfavorably to FOX's less blurred pairing of Brit Hume (news anchor AND commentator, depending on which show or even which segment of the hour you're looking at, a blur unto himself), Sean Hannity, Bill Kristol, and Karl Rove, perhaps the most infamous political operative of our times.

She wondered what's the point of giving interviews to news agencies that seem to be wedded to (Obama). Now perhaps she can empathize with liberals and Democrats who urged Clinton, Edwards, Obama end the rest of the party toa void FOX.

Karl Rove thinks "NBC owes the American people an apology for deliberately misleading them as to the nature and the content of [Bush's] response." It takes a certain arrogance to say that on FOX News, where distortion and out of context smears are the modus operandi.

NBC has responded :

"Richard Engel's interview with President Bush has been available, unedited, in its entirety, for the past day, on our website. Our reporting accurately reflects the interview. Just as the White House does not participate in the editorial process at the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal or USA Today, NBC News, as part of a free press in a free society, makes its own editorial decisions."

The interview as aired on the programs in question is here. The long, unedited version as it appeared and appears on the MSNBC website is here.

At one point Bush disagrees with Engel's assessment that things in Iraq are still "bleak," and people still want to leave, saying he's entitled to his opinion. Knowing that Bush takes enormous amounts of coaching, this is an amazingly convenient characterization; a bit too convenient to the war between White House channel FNC and MSNBC.

The ribbon tying it all together is Karl Rove, whose indignation this evening was mighty. He didn't show the slightest self-consciousness as he morphed from kvetching about NBC's lack of standards and selective editing and misrepresentations, to saying that Michelle Obama invited criticism with her comments about her pride in America. He proceeded to talk about what "we" have to do, speaking for Republicans, and Ingraham wrapped up the segment with "Be conservative - that's my analysis."