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One-trick pony O'Reilly gets it wrong on others' reporting

Reported by Chrish - May 9, 2007 -

Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo tonight 5/8/07 was ostensibly about the foiled alleged terror plot in New Jersey, but it was cleverly spun to 1. bash other media outlets and 2. reinforce his self-image as "the" anti-illegal immigration police. He got some facts wrong, and his guest called him on it, but no mind - he's looking out for you. A few reputations might get smeared but it's all for a good cause (self-promotion and ratings.)

O'Reilly got right to it in the Talking Points Memo, alerting viewers that "a few news agencies, like NBC and UPI, didn't even mention that," and "pro-immigration newspapers the Denver Post, and the Dallas Morning News failed to mention the illegal alien angle on their websites."

In other words, O'Reilly's staff scoured the Internet for sites that a. didn't write the original story from O'Reilly's preferred angle and b. are on his hit-list of "far left" media. Voila! Faux outrage, faux conspiracy, faux liberal media.

Yes, the so-called liberal media doesn't want to report on the problem of illegal immigrants committing crimes, even though Bill O'Reilly wants them to join his obsession and stop reporting on Congress and the Bush administration and Iraq.

(Someone made a personal slight against him in an editorial, called him "an irresponsible media blowhard" and inferred he is a demagogue, so much of the TPM was devoted to a scathing demolition of the author.)

He ended the segment by saying

"Americans need to start holding media like the Virginia Pilot, NBC News, and other 'distortion factories' accountable. If you can't get an accurate story about three illegal aliens arrested in a terror plot, we're in big trouble. I know where the media problem in America lies - and it ain't here."

His first guest is Steve Emerson, author of Jihad Inc., who said this was the most advanced terrorist plot since 9/11. O'Reilly asked questions and prompted Emerson, who gave a lot of the details of the case.

But what troubles O'Reilly is the cavalier attitude about the illegal staus of the alleged plotters. He said three of them were here on an overstayed visa kind of thig, right? And Emerson said right, three were here illegally. In the interest of full disclosure, Emerson said he is an NBC Terror Analyst and was on MSNBC this afternoon, where he twice raised the fact that three of the suspects are here illegally. O'Reilly said he doesn't want to "besmirch your employer" (Like hell he doesn't!!!) but there are news organizationsthat tamp this illegal alien issue down on purpose, and NBC News is one of them.

O'Reilly pronounced that illegal aliens in this country unsupervised have to be taken seriously; Emerson agreed and said he believes one of the suspects will talk immediately, because they've all been segregated, and we'll find out exactly how they got into the country.

Comment: Moments earlier he had seemingly agreed with O'Reilly that they had overstayed visas. As the editorial writer pointed out (infuriating O'Reilly), there are an estimated 12 million people in this country illegally, and people "like O'Reilly" oversimplify for ratings.

Checking websites as The Factor aired the first time, I found that the Denver Post, MSNBC.com , and FOXNews.com all carried AP stories that mentioned the illegal status of the three suspects. UPI's story was ten hours old and contained other information. Let's face it, it's not the first question on everyone's mind.

But let's not lose sight of the fact that Bill O'Reilly wants the entire mainstream media to focus on what he/Moody/Rove/FOX says, essentially, and wants them to play along with the distraction game. And he'll harrass and namecall and wag his finger and stomp his foot to get his way. Fortunately his tantrums are growing old and ineffective...