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After a little sanity on the Arkin issue from Jane Hall, O'Reilly reverts to two right-wing guests to reinforce his POV

Reported by Chrish - February 10, 2007 -

It is beyond me how a so-called journalist can carry on day after day, trying to stifle another point of view and going so far as to call for the other's job. But that's O'Reilly's m.o.; if he doesn't like what's said, he won't defend your right to say it, he'll tell you to SHUT UP. This has been very apparent this week with the manufactured flap over William Arkin's two columns at WashingtonPost.com, as a few ill-advised terms have been yanked out of context and bleated through the right-wing echo chamber to foment outrage and demonize a competitor.

After Jane Hall defended Arkin's right to present another view Thursday night, 2/08/07, holding her own against an angry O'Reilly and indignant Bernie Goldberg, O'Reilly had retired Lt. General Thomas McInerney and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on the following day 2/09/07 and all three called for punishment of Arkin.

O'Reilly repeatedly complained that the mainstream media refuses to report "it", that Arkin wrote a column at the Washington Post blog that is confrontational and not effusive about American troops. Worse yet to O'Reilly is the fact that The Washington Post and NBC, who have contracts with Arkin, have not "condemned" him for expressing his non-sycophantic thoughts: "he's still on both of their payrolls!"

To his credit, Bernie Goldberg defended Arkin's right to say anything he wants (and his, Goldberg's, right to call him a "jerk" for it), but he expresses amazement that it happened not on some "far-left down-the-hall website" but in the mainstream Washington Post - which indicates that his definition of mainstream includes only a narrow segment of views. He concluded from that that the hard-left and the mainstream media aren't too different anymore. Citing Ann Coulter, who on occassion makes outlandish remarks from the right and does not have a paying job at the Washington Post or NBC, he concludes that the liberal media culture is alive and well. Looking at a list of contributors at the Washington Post, the names Robert Novak, George Will, and Charles Krauthammer jump out at me - damn right-wing rag! His argument is weak and full of holes.

Jane Hall was trying to make a point that O'Reilly's focus, rather than being on Arkin's comments (which she found "reprehensible) should be on Richard Engele's report that sparked the comments. Engele's report was on troop morale and the problem's they are facing, including perceived lack of support...but she didn't get to make her point because at the first mention of low morale and problems with the war in the same sentence, Bill O'Reilly cut her off. He got loud and overtalked even as she protested and tried to finish her thought, but he didn't let her. He insisted that he has said there are many fine people doing fine reporting at NBC, and Hall made the point that he is not doing stories on them night after night.

O'Reilly was also indignant that viewers are not made aware of Arkin's affiliations with "far-left" organizations (Greenpeace, NRDC, Human Rights Watch). I suggest he does not really want to open that can of worms, lest someone remind him that hawkish Bill Cowan, a frequent guest and FOX News Militay Analyst, is also on the payroll for the Lincoln Group, who was responsible for planting American-penned happy Iraq propaganda in Iraqi newspapers. And while not on the same scale as GE, Lincoln Group also receives lucrative contracts from the US military. O'Reilly worked himself up over the lack of disclosure even though Hall agreed Arkin should be identified as an activist. When she challenged FOX to distance themselves from Ann Coulter, O'Reilly claimed she doesn't work for FOX, and when Hall replied that they put her on the air all the time, the pinhead replied with great drama that "we give everyone a say!"

Except Human Rights activists who suggest that maybe it is not all of America's job to "shut up" and "support the troops."

Goldberg was given the last word, which he used to define the media as left/liberal, and O'Reilly was quiet as he spoke. The unbalanced treatment afforded the two guests was glaring.

He didn't make the same mistake Friday night, when he and Cornyn and McInerney were ALL upset and stoking anger against Arkin, NBC and the Post.

O'Reilly said troops in the field are increasingly angry, "everybody knows about this because FOX News is on everywhere."

Wait right there. He's kvetching that nobody else is carrying the "story" except FOX, and the troops are a captive audience, and FOX is ramping up the rhetoric against another news outlet for not censuring free speech. So just WHO is underming the troops morale?

In a nutshell, McInerney declares that the troops know the difference between freedom of the press and aiding and abetting the enemy, and repeats that particular slander multiple times, calling Arkin a "lowlife scumbag, aiding and abetting the enemy." Not once did O'Reilly call him on that ad hominem attack, unlike the outrage he feigns over the use of the word "mercenary." McInerney also accuses NBC and The Washington Post of aiding and abetting for "supporting these kinds of articles."

Well, count me in. The whole point of a free press is for everyone to be heard, no matter how repugnant anyone finds it, and we all use our common sense and life experience and values and morals to reach individual conclusions. What these tools are advocating is censorship and groupthink.

GE issued a statement condemning Arkin's comments, and FOX allegedly asked GE President Jeffrey Immelt why he hasn't "ordered" NBC to distance themselves? Immelt supposedly replied that they (GE) don't telll NBC what to do. I wonder if Murdoch knows what an ass O'Reilly is making of him.

Cornyn called it "reprehensible conduct," said conduct being exercising free speech. He cited two other examples of Arkin "straying " across the line - very telling language, that - one a comment about religious fanatic General Boykin's own reprehensible comments, and another being Arkin's book. Cornyn also thanked O'Reilly directly for "helping to keep this thing alive," which of course gave O'Reilly yet another opportunity to scold the "left-wing media." Cornyn also paid lip-service to freedom of the press, saying that he too appreciates it but with that freedom comes responsibility.

McInerney thinks everyone in America should be outraged, because those troops are fighting for this nation, (umm, for our rights and freedoms, or so they've been told) and a low-life scumbag, aiding and abetting the enemy ... when you go out and deliberately put out lies and falsehoods to undermine the will of the people, then you are aiding and abetting the enemy.

Uh-oh. Didn't Rupert Murdoch JUST say that his FOX News "tried" to influence the agenda, supporting the Bush push into Iraq? While ten million people were in the streets saying NO!?

McInerney finished up his sad rant by saying he served his career not to defend "aiding and abetting" the enemy, but to defend freedom of speech - but responsible speech.

This whole story-line stinks of censorship, and it is a disgrace that one "news" network is trying to smear and slander another for exposing views outside the narrow confines of what FOX deems acceptable, or "responsible."