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O'Reilly defending lack of war coverage by attacking NBC

Reported by Chrish - June 16, 2007 -

As noted earlier, Bill O'Reilly grossly misrepresented NBC News' ratings success in his Talking Points Memo last night 6/14/07. His tactic of attacking the messenger was justified by vague accusations of an alleged series of attacks by NBC News on Fox News.
With video.

O'Reilly is smarting from yet another report that delegitimizes his network as a news source. The Project for Excellence in Journalism found that FOX News reported news on the war in Iraq much less than their cable competitors MSNBC and CNN, but they made up for the dearth of serious news by excessive reporting on stories like Anna Nicole Smith. On Wednesday he sought to dismiss the study's findings by "outing" the PEJ spokesman as a former employee of an indy newspaper in Boston and labelling him a "FOX-hater", never refuting or denying the findings. In fact, he confirmed them, saying

"But we don't do the carnage du jour. We don't highlight every terrorist attack because we learn nothing from that. And that's exactly what the terrorists want us to do. I mean, come on, does another bombing in Tikrit mean anything other than war is hell? No, it does not."

John Gibson further validated the study's finding on his Fox News radio show, where he said

"Some time ago, I decided, you know what, I am just not going to pay a whole lot of attention to what's going on in Iraq 'cause I'd like to give General Petraeus and the soldiers a chance to win this before me and everybody else who follows it day by day, inch by inch have decided they lost it."


"I decided some time ago I'm just not going to talk about this [Iraq war] anymore because I want those troops to have a chance to win even if they have to shoot some people I don't think need being shot at any given moment. But even if they have to do things that people here don't want them to do in order to win - just leave them alone, let them win. Having said that, and studiously trying to pay attention to other things that attract our attention, like the thought of Paris Hilton on a jail toilet without a door worried about whether someone is going to take a picture..."


a bit later, to a caller, Gibby says, "I've swore off Iraq news for a few days to see if that helped these guys instead of looking over their shoulders every 5 seconds."

O'Reilly has now taken the position that news outlets who report on the war are helping the terrorists.

"Now the latest NBC News indignity is trying to convince their few viewers that FOX news is negligent because we don't cover every terrorist incident in Iraq. Somehow we're insulting military families if we don't run in the explosion du jour. As everybody knows Al Qaeda's strategy is to break the will of the American people to fight the jihad. Usama bin Laden has stated that in writing.

So blowing things up and hopefully getting the carnage on TV is what the terrorists want. Here at “The Factor” we report honestly on the war and bring you reports that advance the story. For example, earlier this week on the "Radio Factor" Colonel David Hunt said the surge has improved things in the Anbar Province, the Sunni stronghold, but not yet in Baghdad."

What exactly is "advancing the story"? Isn't the news media's job to tell the story, no matter where it leads? Are not the dead part of the narrative?

As Media Matters noted, O'Reilly failed to tell viewers the rest of that exchange:

"During the interview, O'Reilly asked Hunt: "When you're watching the news cruising around, is there any value to you, as an American, not as a military analyst, to see the latest atrocity du jour, the latest explosion du jour? Do you want to see that?" Hunt responded: "Yeah, we've got to disagree on this one. ... I care about the bomb in Tikrit if it kills American soldiers. That's why I think it's important, and I -- we've got guys in combat -- we seem, as a nation -- I'm not hitting the press, but as a nation, we've turned our back on this." O'Reilly went on to assert: "I think Americans understand that soldiers and Marines are dying. I think they know they die in explosions." Hunt replied, "It's too easy to forget, Bill. Look at the people in VA hospitals," to which O'Reilly responded, "I'm not buying it. ... There's no news value to it, Colonel. There's just no news value to it. Just trust me on this."

Accusing that NBC's Iraq coverage has been "questionable," he cited two NBC reporters, one embedded and one blogging at Washington Post, who said things he disagreed with, and one commentator with whom he agreed (tacitly acknowledging that citing only two comments out of the entire network's body of work would seem ridiculously immaterial).

He wrapped it up:

"However for these clowns to say FOX News is insulting military families because we don't show every bombing is dishonest in the extreme, which is what we've come to expect from that organization."

For Bill O'Reilly to call anyone "dishonest," in a segment where he brazenly lies about his competitors' ratings success, and especially as he stands publicly exposed for his outrageous lies and distortions in the Boulder High School reporting scandal, is simply mind-boggling.