Bill O’Reilly just can’t let go of his victimhood over the internet ridiculing he got for saying he had not heard “anything” on NBC about President Obama’s drone program – when, in fact, NBC News had broken the story. You may recall that I was somewhat sympathetic to O’Reilly’s case because I believe he was not speaking literally but meant that MSNBC pundits, who had been outraged at George W. Bush’s waterboarding tactics, were relatively silent about Obama’s drones. But that’s not what he said. And for some reason, while he was able to admit to Fox’s Bernard Goldberg that he should have acknowledged that NBC News broke the story, when Kurtz visited The O’Reilly Factor tonight, O’Reilly insisted his admission was only made to avoid being attacked by Kurtz. Or to put it another way, to avoid getting called out for getting his facts wrong. Caution! You are about to enter a Spin Zone!
Let’s rewind. After Kurtz criticized O’Reilly on CNN about the drones, O’Reilly invited him to come on The Factor and discuss it. That discussion happened tonight. But on Monday, February 11, in yet another discussion about this all-important controversy and Kurtz’ upcoming Factor appearance, Goldberg gave O’Reilly some straight talk :
Bill, if you had said they broke the story and then went on, you wouldn’t have had Howard Kurtz on your case. So I think he makes a point worth considering.
Goldberg went on to criticize Kurtz for not having covered the “liberal hypocrisy.” Then O’Reilly said:
Alright, I’m not so concerned about him talking about it. Look, the NBC News thing? I didn’t even think it was that big a story. Somebody handed (NBC’s Michael Isikoff, who broke the story) the memo and they put it out there. Yeah, I guess I should have mentioned it but it didn’t even occur to me because we weren’t talking about the reportage.
Tonight, during their mostly cordial dialogue, Kurtz said:
Well, Bill, I’ve already won this round on points because the other day with Bernie Goldberg you said, “Yes, I guess I should have mentioned it.” The NBC scoop was the elephant in the room that kick-started this debate.
Kurtz did, however, concede that the mainstream media gave a benefit of the doubt to President Obama that it did not give to George W. Bush.
But instead of being magnanimous and admitting he had blown it, O’Reilly kept up the whining:
Number One, I said to Goldberg I should have mentioned it only because it would have avoided all of this nonsense. And you just lost points by confusing hard news reporting about drones with the New York Times editorial page.
Kurtz responded by saying that the reason for the discussion over waterboarding was because there was an outcry from the public. Drones, on the other hand, “wasn’t an issue in the campaign, Romney didn’t talk about it, I didn’t hear it in the debates. So the press, including the commentators, have been too passive in my view – just like they were in the run-up to the Iraq War.
So can we drop it now?
We are on a battlefield and one of my ‘Fellow Americans’ jumps out of our foxhole and runs across to an enemy foxhole and starts shooting at me/Americans. They are saying that we can’t shoot back at him until Congress, or some other authority, verifys he is a combatant because he actually KILLED some predetermined number of Americans so his citizenship has OFFICIALLY been revoked and we are now legally justified to take him out?