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O’Reilly Goes After Healthcare Reform and Barney Frank and Cites . . . NBC News Poll?

Reported by Julie - August 20, 2009 -

On last night’s O’Reilly Factor’s Talking Points Memo (8/19/09), O’Reilly thundered, “Barnie Frank on the offense over health care.”

“I’m not saying Barnie Frank is offensive . . . trying to convince Americans that the government should run the nation’s healthcare system. But as we all know, that’s a very tough sell these days . . . .” Wow, two whoppers of misinformation with barely a breath in between. First of all, it’s not the government running the “nation’s healthcare system” – the public option is a government-run health insurance option. And wow, how do I break this one to Bill? The whole polling thing? Yeah, he’s wrong – in an Ipsos/McClatchy poll (which Fox News’ v.p. Bill Sammon incorrectly quoted), 52% of those polled said they believed a public insurance plan was necessary. With video.

O’Reilly went straight to the nuts and bolts, and . . . well, what have we here? Looks like a clip of a town hall meeting. Oh, wait, looks like a town hall meeting with another right-wingnut. Oh-oh, looks like a town hall meeting with a right-wingnut who’s calling President Obama’s policy “Nazi” policies. Except it seems there’s a little wrinkle – hello, Barnie Frank, who ain’t biting, ain’t running, and ain’t backing down.

Roll the clip of the woman (who O’Reilly later identifies as a “political activist” -- indeed, she's part of the LaRouche PAC) saying this to Frank: “Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy, as Obama has expressly supported this policy, why are you supporting it?”

Frank: “When you ask me that question, I am going to revert to my ethnic heritage and answer your question with a question: On what planet do you spend most of your time? Ma’am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table, I have no interest in doing it.”

And then cut to a stammering young man: “You’re gonna bankrupt this country, you and the Democrats . . . my generation . . . we’re gonna pay more taxes because of you, sir.”

Frank: “First of all, the biggest single waste of money in one fell swoop in federal history was the war in Iraq. It was a terrible idea.”

I’ll admit that when I first watched this video, I cheered. But O’Reilly ridiculed Frank, saying what he did was “pettifog” the issue by introducing the war in Iraq when “the war has nothing to do” with the present controversy or the man’s question. Oh, it doesn’t? Should we re-roll the clip? Seems to me the man was talking about bankrupting the country with spending, when Bush’s war, as Frank noted, added just a tad – okay, a boatload -- of green, oh, about $3 trillion, to federal spending.

“The guy’s right. By the way, the woman – the first woman – . . . is a political activist, not a regular person.” Thank you for that clarification, O’Reilly – we wouldn’t have been able to figure out that she was an astro-turfer by her question mentioning Nazis and President Obama’s policies in the same breath.

O’Reilly next tried to drum up some all-American outrage about David Axelrod’s supposed connection to a company in Chicago that is producing President Obama’s pro-healthcare commercials – a company that O’Reilly alleges owes Axelrod some $2 million. O’Reilly accused Axelrod of “making money off of Obama’s healthcare vision.” Well, Axelrod is part of President Obama’s administration, yes? And his first priority is to promote the President’s policies, yes? So how is this a HUGE (O’Reilly’s emphasis) conflict of interest? We’ll be waiting to hear a good explanation on that one – ‘til hell freezes over.

O’Reilly then claimed, incorrectly, that “most Americans are now dissatisfied with the President’s healthcare deal. According to a brand new NBC News poll 47% now disapprove of the way Mr. Obama’s handling healthcare reform, while 41% approve.” First of all, O’Reilly must be desperate for dirt indeed if he cites an NBC News poll. What, other polls aren’t in line with his conclusion?

And also -- am I looking at the same poll? The poll results I saw were a little more complicated, concluding that 40% believe the plans would worsen the quality of health care, 41% approve of President Obama’s handling of the issue, and 54% are worried that the government will go too far, rather than not do enough, to reform the health care system. However, a combined 60% of respondents say the system needs either a “complete overhaul” or “major reform.” That 60% number would seem to be significant, yes?

And O’Reilly chose to forego discussion (must have run out of time) of the fact, as reported by John Grooms of The Clog, that, “. . . [T]hose who primarily get their news from FoxNews believe the misinformation about health care reform in far greater numbers than other respondents. For instance, 72 percent of FoxNews watchers believe the illegal immigrant misinformation, 69 percent believe the abortion lie, and 75 percent — three out of every four FoxNews watchers — still believe the 'death panels' nonsense, even though it has been thoroughly, and repeatedly, debunked by the more 'reality-based' media. Oh, and 79 percent of Foxies think health care reform will lead to a 'government takeover' of health care.” So, in sum, Fox News viewers are generally gullible enough to believe any Sarah Palin-Michelle Bachmann “box of crazy” that Fox News floats out there.

You know, O’Reilly spent a whole TPM on Barney Frank, and didn’t exactly compliment Frank on the fact that he’s coming out strongly against the nut jobs at the town hall meetings. He threw out facts (well, Fox News facts, which are different from real facts), he threw out those clips of right-wing town hall protesters, he threw out a little smear against Axelrod.

We’re seeing all of this negative attention on ol’ Barney, and all because he’s publicly and strongly supporting President Obama’s healthcare reform policies.

And then, in comparison, we have O’Reilly’s little sit-down with Glenn Beck last night on The Factor, in which he introduced Beck as his “pal Glenn Beck . . . a ratings monster.” The funny thing, O’Reilly never quite got around to asking Beck about the fact that ConAgra, GEICO, Lawyers.com, Men's Wearhouse, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, RadioShack, Roche, SC Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Sargento, State Farm Insurance, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, CVS, Travelocity, Allergan (maker of Restasis), Ally Bank, Broadview Security, and Re-Bath have all pulled their ads from Beck’s Fox News show because of Beck’s “Obama is a racist” comment. Instead, O’Reilly chose to mention how Beck’s afternoon show is destroying the competition, how Beck is “getting new viewers every week,” and it’s just driving his critics crazy.

O’Reilly has once again proven that the “no spin zone” actually spins like a top – and the top only spins to the right.