Bill O’Reilly was a vision of gasbag ugliness tonight as he repeatedly accused the New York Times of “running interference” for President Obama in its reporting on the Bowe Bergdahl/Taliban swap, attacked CNN’s Brian Stelter as a “notorious far-left zealot” – for having the audacity to criticize St. Bill’s smear campaign against Bergdahl’s family – and topped it off with a hilariously hypocritical whine about a corrupt media “motivated by ideology.” From his perch at GOP Central aka Fox News.
Apparently, too many in the “mainstream media” are critical of Fox News’ propagandistic exploitation “fair and balanced” coverage of Bergdahl’s recovery and the Taliban prisoner swap that went with it. So what’s a bully to do? Why, attack them for being the ideologues. And forget how your own colleagues came up with, essentially, the same positions.
“This may turn out to be the worst controversy the president will experience,” O’Reilly said, not at all regretfully. And to explain away those who may not see it that way, he later added, “His far-left acolytes are getting desperate in his defense. …The far left is attacking people who raise questions about the sergeant and his family.”
What O’Reilly really meant was that the mainstream media is attacking poor widdle O’Reilly for his vicious and unwarranted attacks on Bergdahl’s father for, among other reasons, “look(ing) like a Muslim” and “actually thanking Allah right in front of the president.”
O’Reilly played a clip of those comments, followed by Stelter saying, “Thank you, Bill O’Reilly, for demonstrating how to conduct a smear campaign against a military family.” That, apparently, is all you need to know about Stelter to despise him.
So by telling you the truth that Robert Bergdahl learned to speak Pashto and looked like a Muslim at the White House, I am smearing a military family. Now, we expect that from that guy, a notorious far-left zealot who has masqueraded as a journalist for years. And there is a coordinated effort on the left to hammer anyone criticizing the Taliban deal.
Next on the O’Reilly hit list: the New York Times. Their crime? A front-page story about troubles in Bowe Bergdahl’s unit. O’Reilly claimed that the only thing the Times came up with was that the unit was ”raggedy” and that the soldiers sometimes wore bandanas and cut-off t-shirts.
“That’s about it!” O’Reilly exclaimed. “That was the specific thing the New York Times came up with to denigrate the entire platoon. And the paper ran that story on page one. You may remember last week the New York Times editorialized that members of Sgt. Bergdahl’s unit who were criticizing him for desertion were being run by Republicans. So you can see what's going on here.”
Yes, we can. But it’s not what O’Reilly wants us to see. For one thing, you’ll notice that O’Reilly never said that Republicans were not masterminding the soldiers – who have turned into such regular visitors to Fox, I almost expect a new show to feature them.
But more importantly, let’s look at that New York Times article. It says the unit struggled with a lot more than a dress code:
The platoon was sent to a remote location with too few troops to seriously confront an increasingly aggressive insurgency, which controlled many villages in the region. The riverbeds they used as roads were often mined with improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.s; simply getting supplies or traveling back to their home operating base could be a nerve-racking ordeal.
American combat fatalities in Afghanistan in 2009, the year the Second Platoon arrived, would double from the year before. By year’s end, President Obama would tear up the military strategy that had spread American troops thin across the rugged country and order a major surge of troops.
As for the attire, it caused problems for the unit:
Their platoon commander, who some described as less than inspiring, was relieved weeks into the deployment, replaced by the platoon’s sergeant first class, who was popular and respected by the troops. Then, a few months later, the sergeant found himself in trouble after pictures appeared online showing some in the platoon wearing bandannas and cutoff T-shirts. Such garb was not uncommon at remote combat outposts, but it angered and embarrassed commanders, and it helped lead to the sergeant’s dismissal soon after Sergeant Bergdahl disappeared.
I don’t know about you but to me the Times sounds sympathetic to the platoon and not “denigrating,” as O’Reilly characterized it.
Now that O’Reilly “proved” that it was the rest of the media at fault, he went on a tear of propaganda of his own. First, he said:
There’s no question that the release of five Taliban commanders will have an effect on the entire world. … The Taliban is a threat to the world make no mistake about that That’s why this story is so important.
O’Reilly might genuinely believe the Taliban is a threat to the world but he conveniently forgot to describe what kind of threat he thinks they are. As Rolling Stone reported (but “fair and balanced” O’Reilly did not): “The Taliban is primarily a local political and military organization, and has demonstrated little or no interest in attacking U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.” They are not only not Al Qaeda but, according to Rolling Stone, the Taliban is not even listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department. I’ve never heard a peep of complaint about that on Fox in all these years. Have you?
Next, O’Reilly tossed out the need for a military investigation or court-martial. Earlier, O’Reilly announced, ”Talking points is not jumping to any conclusions.” But now he declared that Bergdahl “is a deserter.”
In the second video below, O'Reilly battled Juan Williams over the "corrupt media."
Maybe O’Reilly persuaded his geriatric viewers that he’s really looking out for them here. But I’ll bet anyone who isn’t half-blind can see very clearly what he’s really up to.