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Bill O'Reilly bemoans "false information" and "fallacious material"

Reported by Chrish - August 19, 2006 -

Bill O'Reilly confused his Most Ridiculous Item of the Day with his Talking Points Memo today 8/18/06 and complained about how we just can't trust anything in the media anymore (a recurring theme on FOX, intended to foment who's-looking-out-for-you trust and dependency on Big Daddy himself). He pointed fingers at everyone: the Internet, TV and radio, and newspapers.

HIs rant was inspired by conflicting stories coming out as several recent news items evolved, namely the confession by John Karr to killing Jon Benet Ramsey, and the woman who acted up on the flight that had to be diverted to Boston's Logan airport. In each of these stories information came out and was subsequently retracted or corrected. In the 24-hour news world, this is not uncommon, and within a day or two we get the final version of the story. It's not ideal, as people tend to remember the first breaking news and stop paying attention as the story is confirmed and adjusted.

Here's how O'Reilly put it:

"So once again, we don't know what to believe, but that doesn't stop the media from speculating all over the place."
He must be referring to FOX, which spent 40 minutes of The Big Story analyzing and speculating the day the story broke.

Because the case is not yet solved but is still discussed in the media (shades of Duke, anyone?) O'Reilly concludes

"The primary lesson we should all learn from the Ramsey case is that we can no longer trust either officials or the press to deliver accurate information."


In my 30 years practicing journalism, I have never seen things this bad. Newspapers will print anything. The Internet's full of lies and misinformation. And many TV and radio people will literally put anything on the air."

I know. Hypocrisy, thy name is Bill O'reilly.

He sticks in a defensive personal note:

"A few months ago, the daily newspaper in Syracuse, New York printed an outright lie about me. When we confronted the editorial writer who did it, he said he read it some place. He had no remorse at all."

He is referring to this incident from April , after which he encouraged his viewers to call a dead man and complain. Read the articles and follow the links and try to find the lie. But BOR knows his followers will not pursue the truth for themselves: they trust him, and that's the whole point.

He winds up the segment

"So what is happening in America is that all of us are getting false information and forming opinions based on the fallacious material. That, of course, hurts also, others and is devastating to a country that depends on truth to make fair policy.

I don't know if this guy Karr killed little Jonbenet. I do know there's something seriously wrong with him and with an information system that is collapsing around us."

What's seriously wrong is his conflating the revelations of an evolving news-lite story with the body of information made available through different outlets that informs voters and citizens.

We do have reason to be concerned as outlets like FOX News and right-wing radio drill their listeners, their dittoheads, with talking points for faux debates. The real agenda is to divide and conquer by developing loyalty and a with-us-or-agin'-us philosophy that pits Americans against each other. O'Reilly feeds on this division like a cancer, hurting the country so he can sell books. His upcoming "Culture Warrior" is just in time to remind right-wingers that we liberals are the enemy and they have to "save" Olde America from our progressiveness come November.

This is also an example of the right-wing tactic of projecting their own failings and bad traits onto their opposition. FOX is not to be trusted, they are propaganda, yet they tell their viewers that established, professional outlets are not to be believed. Other examples: They are trying to muddy the definition of fascist because they were being accused of it, so they projected it, quite wrongly, onto our terrorist enemies ( Islamo-fascists). The Bush administration has no plan for getting our troops out of Iraq, so we hear that the Democrats have no plan. Republican Secretaries of State have systematically suppressed and disenfranchised voters, so Republicans plant seeds of Democratic voter fraud. Bill O'Reilly regularly accuses people of smearing him and his cronies, yet he rarely goes a night without insulting or misrepresenting someone with whom he disagrees.

I don't know what's more outrageous, the monumental hypocrisy or the unmitigated gall.