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O’Reilly Challenges Koppel: Prove I Have Lied And “Shut Me Up For Good”

Reported by Ellen - November 16, 2010 -

Bill O’Reilly was obsessed with Ted Koppel’s Washington Post op-ed Sunday (11/14/10) which criticized Fox News and MSNBC – and Keith Olbermann and O’Reilly in particular – as “the death of real news.” To shoot down debate Koppel’s op-ed, O’Reilly turned to right wing extremist Tammy Bruce and liberal Ellis Hennican, each of whom are Fox News contributors. Had O’Reilly wanted a real discussion or exploration of what Koppel was getting at, he would have hosted someone without a stake in defending Fox. Or someone who might have boldly answered in Koppel’s stead when O’Reilly challenged him to “give me examples of me lying on the air, using an opinion not based on fact.” O’Reilly speculated that Koppel “couldn’t do it and if he could, he oughta come on in here and do it, and he’d shut me up for good.” Well, I’m not Koppel, of course, but I do have some examples.

I got the feeling that O’Reilly was more hurt than angered by Koppel’s piece and especially the fact that Koppel refused to come on the Factor. “This is a fact-based news analysis broadcast here,” O’Reilly preached to his choir. He hypothesized that what was really bothering Koppel was that Fox News influence had “eclipsed” traditional broadcasting. “To me it sounds a little like sour grapes,” O’Reilly added.

That was a neat way of avoiding the central tenet of Koppel's argument – that what passes for television news is more opinion than hard news – and that sleight of hand, which is common on Fox, is probably why Koppel doesn’t want to go on the show.

Hennican said he thought Koppel was “stuck in the past.” But Hennican was somewhat supportive of Koppel, arguing that he didn’t think it was an either/or proposition and that we could have both news and opinion. Which sounds good, but the fact is, we don’t. Another point of Koppel’s piece was how much hard news budgets have withered in the face of the “new” news business.

Still, when O’Reilly held up Megyn Kelly, Shepard Smith and Bret Baier as objective journalism hosts, Hennican replied, “I might have slightly different reactions to each of those.”

But had there been an independent guest, he or she might easily have come up with some interesting answers when O’Reilly said that if Koppel could “give me examples of me lying on the air, using an opinion not based on fact… he’d shut me up for good.”

So in Koppel’s stead, here are just a few examples for O’Reilly:

"The cold truth is, that in the world today, jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet.” 10/18/10

O'Reilly told Deepak Chopra that if Imam Rauf, the imam of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, dedicates the project to peace and condemns the 9/11 attacks, “I’ll come down there with a saw and a hammer and help him.” In fact, Rauf has already done that. 10/19/10

"Michelle Obama, you know she's got the Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going." This was not O'Reilly but Juan Williams talking on The O'Reilly Factor. O'Reilly disagreed with Williams but never challenged the outlandishness of the comment. 1/26/09

O'Reilly falsely said Target has a 100% rating from Human Rights Campaign. 10/13/10

O'Reilly fear mongered over a non-existent immigration crime wave.

“With all due respect to the Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg doesn’t care one whit about the Constitution of the United States, not one whit. All she wants is to impose her vision of social justice on every single American and she’ll find a way to vote liberal on every single issue… I can prove it all day long.” 5/10/10.

Feel free to add your own examples in the comments section.

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