Bill O’Reilly’s Cavalcade Of Lies: A Handy Collection Of The Damage – So Far

Three weeks ago News Corpse published an article revealing that Bill O’Reilly of Fox News had been less than truthful about his alleged exploits as a “war” correspondent. Two weeks later Mother Jones Magazine did an even more thorough analysis of O’Reilly’s pathological embellishments with solid evidence of blatant dishonesty. Ever since then the flow of embarrassing revelations that expose O’Reilly as a self-aggrandizing, jet-powered ego has run non-stop.

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ONE: The parade of falsehoods began with O’Reilly’s claim to have been “on the ground in active war zones” during the Falkland Islands war with the United Kingdom. He wasn’t. And now there is video of him reporting from Buenos Aires, Argentina that contradicts the accounts he gave afterward.

TWO: O’Reilly also claimed to have been outside the Florida home of George de Mohrenschildt where he said that he heard the shotgun blast that marked his suicide. De Mohrenschildt was an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to testify at a congressional hearing on the JFK assassination. However, a recording of a contemporaneous phone call shows that O’Reilly wasn’t even in Florida when de Mohrenschildt died.

THREE: On another occasion, O’Reilly told a story about how he “saw nuns get shot in the back of the head” in El Salvador. That also was not true and O’Reilly himself admitted it in a statement that said he had actually just seen some “images of violence” but did not witness the incidents himself. Oddly, while admitting that his original assertions were false, he neither apologized nor acknowledged any wrongdoing.

FOUR: This was a similar case where O’Reilly spoke of his visit to Northern Ireland. While there he claimed to have witnessed bombings, however, when challenged Fox News issued a statement similar to the one about El Salvador that said he had merely seen pictures.

FIVE: Then there was the time that O’Reilly was covering the riots in Los Angeles sparked by the acquittal of the police officers who beat Rodney King. He claimed to have been the target of attacks by rioters, however, his associates covering the story deny that any of them were assaulted or injured. They do, however, contend that some tensions flared due to O’Reilly being an asshole.

These fabrications by the guy who pretends to be running a “No Spin Zone” are hardly the only times he has lied. There have been numerous other episodes including bragging about winning two Peabody Awards (he didn’t), and claiming to be a registered Independent (he was a Republican for several years at the time).

Some other incidents may not have been lies technically, just horribly wrong statements that he refused to correct. For instance, he once argued that there were no homeless veterans in America; as proof that his boycott of France was working he offered a report by the “Paris Business Review,” which does not exist; and he insisted, after doing extensive research, that no one on Fox ever said that people who didn’t pay ObamaCare penalties would be subject to prison. PolitiFact gave that one a “Pants on Fire.”

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

After NBC suspended Brian Williams for six months for a single incident of embellishing his experiences in Iraq, it seems like a fair and balanced review of O’Reilly’s behavior would net him a suspension of two or three years. Of course, Fox News does not generally hold itself to the standards of journalistic ethics to which real news enterprises adhere. Nevertheless, O’Reilly and Fox News should not be allowed to sweep these fibs under the floorboards. They must be forced to correct the record, submit to punishment, apologize to their audience as well as to those whose valor they stole, and make a good faith effort to ensure that it does not happen again.

Short of that, we must make sure that the truth is disseminated widely and continues to be raised whenever Fox or O’Reilly seek the trust of the public they are so badly abusing. If they don’t atone in some manner for their misdeeds, then news consumers must be reminded continuously that Fox News and Bill O’Reilly are charlatans that cannot be trusted to tell the truth. So keep the pressure on and let any advertisers know that you don’t appreciate them supporting unabashed liars.

To Rachel Maddow: Fox News Doesn’t Give A Fig About Bill O’Reilly’s Lies And Threats

The scandal engulfing Fox News, and its star blowhard Bill O’Reilly, is picking up steam as well as new allegations of dishonesty and flagrant self-glorification. The latest episodes of O’Reilly inventing harrowing journalistic adventures include his false assertion that he was present at the suicide of a figure associated with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and his claim to have witnessed nuns being executed in El Salvador.

The initial response to the evidence that O’Reilly repeatedly lied about his experiences in Argentina as a “war zone” correspondent “in the Falklands” was to launch an attack on the reporters who exposed him and the so-called “liberal” media overall. He called them “liars, guttersnipes,” and “far-left zealots.” Even worse, when approached by a reporter from the New York Times he warned her that if he was unhappy with the story “I am coming after you with everything I have. You can take it as a threat.”

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Last night on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, the issue was raised to inquire as to whether O’Reilly’s turpitude might disturb his employers or colleagues (video below). Maddow did an excellent job of explaining the events that led up to O’Reilly’s threats, but then she entertained the following scenario:

“Fox News has a bunch of folks like Mr. O’Reilly on their shows. It’s part of why I call them Republican TV. But they also have a lot of real reporters on staff who do real reporting all day long on real news. They have White House correspondents, and congressional reporters, and even media reporters. And I’m sure they don’t take kindly when their own reporters get threatened for trying to do their jobs. But it is hard to imagine what this is going to do to the work environment at Fox News Channel for the Fox News Channel’s real reporters, and they do have them.”

Maddow surely has decent intentions in characterizing Fox News as a network that employs real reporters. However, there is scant evidence that it is true. Their main anchor, Bret Baier, presides over a daily roasting of President Obama. Their chief White House correspondent, Ed Henry, is a deeply biased right-winger with open hostility to the President. Their media analyst, Howard Kurtz, went out of his way to defend O’Reilly in an embarrassing display that evoked either fear or fawning or both.

But one thing in particular that Maddow said was way off the mark. It is not hard at all to imagine what this is going to do to the work environment at Fox News. It isn’t going to do a damn thing. As fake news guy Jon Stewart correctly pointed out: “No one’s watching [O’Reilly] for the actual truth.” And referencing O’Reilly’s “No Spin Zone” tag line Stewart noted that “Misrepresenting the zone he is in is kind of his hook.”

Fox News is a network born of deceit and devoted to the dissemination of propaganda. They couldn’t care less if they are discovered to be distorting reality because that is what they were created to do. Their founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, has no scruples when it comes to stuffing his roster with partisan clowns, as evidenced by the existence of Steve Doocy, Sean Hannity, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Donald Trump, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Keith Ablow, and, of course, Bill O’Reilly.

When some of his mouthpieces began to fray at the edges of sanity, Ailes admitted to keeping them on the air long after he had determined that they were detrimental with justifications that were purely political. The reason Ailes gave for putting off Beck’s departure was that he “didn’t want to give MoveOn and Media Matters the satisfaction.” And with regard to why he re-signed Sarah Palin after first letting her contract expire, he said that he hired her back to “piss off the people that wanted her dead.” How does that comport with the production of “real news.”

As for O’Reilly, he is a known ratings winner who satisfies the lust for wingnut outrage that boils in the withering hearts of the Fox News audience. Ailes isn’t going to risk that without some intense pressure being applied, and maybe not even then. He knows that O’Reilly is a hate monger whose persona is dripping with animus and ego. A study done a few years back by Indiana University revealed the depth of O’Reilly’s bullying attitude:

“The IU researchers found that O’Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night.”

Consequently, Fox News is well aware of how O’Reilly behaves and they approve. The only thing that might impact their decision to stand by him is if advertisers bail out in droves, which is what happened to Glenn Beck. And then they still kept his show on for a period of time to avoid looking like they caved in. In O’Reilly’s case, they would more likely announce his retirement after some twenty years on the network. It would then be announced that he would produce occasional specials and continue to write books about killing people. Which is an especially appropriate legacy for a bully like him to pursue.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Media Matter and MoveOn have a petition calling for Fox News to Hold Bill O’Reilly Accountable. Go add your name to it and let the advertiser community know that America’s television viewers aren’t going to stand for this.

Killing Bill O’Reilly: The Fox News Bloviator Calls Everyone Who Is Against Him Poopyheads

The case of the Bill O’Reilly war mythology is continuing, and even heating up, as O’Reilly embarks on a take-no-prisoners mission to exonerate himself and crush his enemies. [Read this if you need to catch up] Unfortunately for him, he is shooting blanks that make a loud noise but fail to inflict any injury on those he is targeting.

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On CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday morning, host Brian Stelter reported that he has statements from six other reporters who covered the Falklands war for CBS and not a single one corroborated O’Reilly’s self-aggrandizing accounts. To the contrary, they repudiated O’Reilly’s ludicrous embellishments entirely.

Stelter interviewed Eric Engberg who was a CBS News correspondent stationed in Argentina at the same time as O’Reilly. Engberg flatly denied O’Reilly’s claims that there was gunfire and people dying all around him in Buenos Aires, which is 1,200 miles from the actual war zone in the Falklands. Engberg also said that O’Reilly lied when he claimed that he was the only CBS correspondent courageous enough to leave the hotel during the demonstrations that followed the Argentine surrender to the UK. According to Engberg and others, there were as many as five reporters with camera crews in the field.

So O’Reilly phoned home (aka Fox News) to defend himself on Howard Kurtz’s MediaBuzz. He immediately set off on a mouth-foaming rant castigating his critics with childish insults and accusations of political and personal motives to destroy him. In his tantrum he called Engberg a coward and even browbeat his colleagues (Kurtz and media critic David Zurawik) interrupting them frequently to belligerently press his case, for which he provided no factual basis other than that his critics were left-wing meanies and thumbsuckers who just don’t like him. This exchange is typical of the tone O’Reilly set during the interview with his Fox associate and defender as represented in this exchange:

Kurtz: [David] Corn has been a Washington reporter for a long time and some people respect his work.
O’Reilly: Who? Name one. [Kurtz giggles] You can’t. He is a hatchet man. You know he is. He’s an aparatchnik (sic) from the far left and all of this is driven … Stelter from CNN … you don’t get more far left than this guy.

No one will be surprised that O’Reilly resorted to name-calling and politically inspired McCarthyism to attempt to demean and dismiss anyone who says something about him that is less than worshipful. But his allegations about Engberg and Stelter are outright delusional and blatantly self-serving. What’s more, his hostility toward Kurtz, who has taken his side during this sordid affair, shows just how desperate he is. For his part, Kurtz was obviously cowed by O’Reilly’s assault. His furtive giggling and acquiescence to O’Reilly’s assertion that, because he wasn’t prepared with a list of Corn’s admirers there must not be any, was almost painful to watch. As was O’Reilly’s blustery defense of himself and conviction that he would do everything the same if he had it to do over:

Kurtz: Seems to me, in my analysis of this, that the Mother Jones piece ultimately, if you boil it down, comes down to this semantic question. You have said you covered a “combat situation” in Argentina during the Falklands war. You’ve said “war zones of Falkland conflict” in Argentina. Looking back do you wish you had worded it differently?
O’Reilly: No! When you have soldiers, military police, firing into the crowd as the New York Times reported, and you have people injured and hurt and you’re in the middle of that, that’s a definition, alright? This is splitting hairs, trying anything they can to bring down me because of the Brian Williams situation.

Yep, as always, it’s all about him. Never mind the facts. And his “definition” of a war zone makes no sense. Policing a demonstration is completely different from combat, even if the demonstration turns deadly. And there is no corroboration of that from his CBS colleagues. O’Reilly cannot produce a single person to validate his story. He is utterly alone in his pompously boastful memories. That makes judging his veracity pretty easy. The one piece of written evidence he cited was a story in the New York Times that described the protests in Buenos Aires. However, the author of that article points out that O’Reilly deceptively edited the portion of his story that he read on the air.

As an example of O’Reilly’s hilariously twisted recollection, he told Kurtz that Engberg’s dispute was due to the fact that “he wasn’t there.” And O’Reilly knows this because when he left the hotel Engberg was still there. And when he returned in the evening Engberg was also there. Obviously, therefore, Engberg never left the hotel. In O’Reilly’s shrunken brain Engberg could not possibly have left after O’Reilly, spent the day reporting in the field, and returned before him.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

In the end, this latest episode in O’Reilly’s media campaign to exonerate himself fell flat. He offered no proof of any of the controversial remarks he has made and they have all been refuted by others on the scene. He launched a shock and awe attack on his critics who have no ax to grind. All he did was cement the impression of him as a bully and a blowhard who demands that the world love him as much as he does. This isn’t going to go away any time soon, and O’Reilly can’t pay off his accusers as he did with Andrea Mackris, the O’Reilly Factor producer he sexually harassed. You can read more about that in this 2004 Washington Post article written by – – Howard Kurtz.

UPDATE (2/24/2015): Obviously O’Reilly thinks this a potentially damaging issue. For the second consecutive day O’Reilly spent much of his program defending himself. He played segments of the original video provided by CBS from Buenos Aires in 1982. Nothing he aired corroborated his account of people dying or his reputed acts of heroism. And his latest defense never addressed his false claims to have been in an “active war zone.” But one thing the video did do is prove that O’Reilly lied when he said that he was the only CBS correspondent courageous enough to leave the hotel to report the demonstrations. The video shows three other reporters doing remotes: Eric Engberg, Charles Gomez, and Bob Schieffer.

In other news, O’Reilly had an exchange with a reporter from the New York Times that ended with him threatening her saying that if he was unhappy with the story “I am coming after you with everything I have. You can take it as a threat.” And that’s a perfect illustration of how O’Reilly, and Fox News generally, deal with criticism.

Fox News Helps Bill O’Reilly Defend His Combat Lies By Lying Even More

[Be sure to see this update (2/22/15) with O’Reilly’s interview on Fox’s MediaBuzz]

Two weeks ago News Corpse reported that Bill O’Reilly had committed substantially the same sins of historical “embellishment” that got NBC’s Brian Williams a six month suspension. He said on numerous occasions that he had been personally involved in combat situations where his life was at risk. None of it was true.

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This week David Corn of Mother Jones did a more in-depth article that documented additional instances of O’Reilly misrepresenting his war reporting. Corn’s piece was a fair investigation into O’Reilly’s own accounts of his past that significantly differ from reality. It’s a must read to understand the full measure of O’Reilly’s dishonesty.

Not surprisingly, Fox News and O’Reilly himself are hitting back hard to dispute Corn’s well researched article. O’Reilly has resorted to the most childish sort of response by calling Corn names such as “guttersnipe, irresponsible, liar,” and that old O’Reilly stand-by, “far left zealot.” What he never does is refute a single charge made in the article with any facts. The whole of O’Reilly’s defense is his insistence that “Everything I’ve reported about my journalistic career is true.” If that’s so, then why doesn’t he prove it?

The Fox Nation posted an advance transcript of O’Reilly’s Talking Points Memo that he delivers at the start of every broadcast. This is possibly the first time that has ever been done, which speaks to the gravity of this problem and how seriously O’Reilly considers the potential fallout. In the transcript O’Reilly repeats the insults aimed at Corn that he previously gave to reporters and adds more invective directed to his publisher, saying “Mother Jones … which has low circulation … considered by many the bottom rung of journalism in America.”

The “many” to which O’Reilly refers is likely his family and the dimwits who watch his program. In the real world Mother Jones is a respected publication that has distinguished itself by winning numerous journalism awards including honors from the National Press Club, The PEN American Center, American Society of Magazine Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association, and a 2012 George Polk Award for Corn’s investigation of the now famous 47% speech by Mitt Romney. The Polk Award may have provided the harshest sting because it is one that O’Reilly was caught lying about having received himself. It was now-Sen. Al Franken who exposed that O’Reilly fib.

Rushing to O’Reilly’s aid is Fox’s media analyst and host of MediaBuzz, Howard Kurtz. In an article posted to the Fox News website, Kurtz whitewashes O’Reilly’s self-mythologizing by asserting that “the Mother Jones piece appears to turn on semantics.” Then Kurtz posts some of O’Reilly’s false statements that are not remotely semantic in nature. For instance:

–In a 2001 book, O’Reilly said: “I’ve reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands.”

–In a Washington panel discussion, O’Reilly said: “I’ve covered wars, okay? I’ve been there. The Falklands, Northern Ireland, the Middle East. I’ve almost been killed three times, okay.”

–In a 2004 column, O’Reilly wrote: “Having survived a combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands war, I know that life-and-death decisions are made in a flash.”

Kurtz writes that in these statements “the dispute comes down to O’Reilly’s shorthand use of the Falklands and the term “war zone.” Huh? What on Earth does that mean? Is Kurtz excusing outright lies with the explanation that O’Reilly was using the lies as shorthand for the truth, and therefore it’s OK?

It’s clear from the statements that Kurtz himself referenced that O’Reilly had put himself “on the ground in active war zones,” and said that he was “there…in the Falklands,” and that he “survived a combat situation in Argentina.” Since there was no combat anywhere in Argentina other than on the Falkland Islands, O’Reilly is implying that that’s where he was. Which he wasn’t. He also was not in Argentina “during the Falklands war,” but arrived after it was over.

Kurtz ignored all of these obviously mis-factual statements in order to absolve O’Reilly of any guilt. Later Kurtz writes that “Corn’s own piece largely backs up O’Reilly’s account of the dangerous situation.” No, actually, it does not. Corn did point out that some of the statements O’Reilly made were corroborated by other accounts, but he never came close to dismissing the multiple assertions by O’Reilly (like those above) that were blatantly false.

In the end Kurtz attempted an awkward exoneration of O’Reilly by claiming that Corn’s reporting was “a far cry from a bogus claim of having been shot down in a helicopter.” How so? By any fair standard O’Reilly’s remarks that placed him in harm’s way on a battlefield (“almost been killed three times”) are at least three times worse than Williams’ mis-remembering of a single event.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

O’Reilly’s lies are a repulsive attempt to exalt himself and his faux bravado. He has repeated these lies for decades in books, on television, and in personal appearances, and now, even after being caught, he refuses to apologize. If anyone deserves to be suspended for an extended period of time, it’s O’Reilly. But he has nothing to worry about on that score. Fox News has never acquitted itself in a respectable manner, particularly when it comes to journalistic integrity. They aren’t about to start now.

However, the stain O’Reilly leaves has now spread to Howard Kurtz, whose groveling and desperate defense is deceitful, unethical, and embarrassing. He should be suspended as well for aiding and abetting O’Reilly’s fraudulent fabrications. Of course, Kurtz will also escape accountability. It’s a perk that comes with working for Fox News. Unscrupulous dishonesty will never be a cause for punishment. At Fox News it is more likely to earn a promotion.

UPDATE: The festering ego we know as Bill O’Reilly came to his own rescue last night by devoting a chunk of his program to piling on more lies about his war reporting. He recruited his pals Bernie Goldberg and Geraldo Rivera as his character witnesses. Meanwhile, actual war correspondents are coming forward to criticize O’Reilly and veterans groups are calling for Fox News to take O’Reilly off the air:

VoteVets: “NBC acted completely appropriately in taking Brian Williams off the air and looking into claims he’s made over the years. Fox News has to do the same thing. […] Men and women have fought, died, been wounded, and scarred by war. There are many journalists who actually were in the crossfire, who died, trying to bring the story to the American people. What Bill O’Reilly has done is steal their valor, and it is wrong.”

When Will Fox News Fire Bill O’Reilly For Lying About Combat Duty?

Conservatives have tenaciously sunk their fangs into the juicy scandal that is engulfing NBC News anchor Brian Williams. The fact that he has admitted (and apologized for) some false statements he made several years ago regarding his experiences covering the war in Iraq is troubling and particularly so for people who make their living on their reputation for honesty.

However, the degree to which the right has gone overboard with their overt hostility is a spectacle that is worth watching for the sheer entertainment value. Although it’s not as if they wouldn’t be showering their hatred on Williams and the rest of the so-called “lamestream” media even if their weren’t some budding scandal. For its part, Fox News has been exhibiting a Benghazi-like obsession with their relentless coverage of the story.

What’s missing from all of this is any sense of perspective or context. Has Fox given equal time to the false assertions by their own Geraldo Rivera who excused his lies as being the fault of the “fog of war?” Of course not. Neither do they make a distinction between the lies advanced by mis-remembering a distant event in the past in order to enhance one’s own personal image, and the lies perpetrated deliberately by national leaders (i.e. George Bush, Dick Cheney, etc.) that resulted in the violent deaths of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent, non-combatant Iraqis.

Brian Williams, George Bush

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Nearly every discussion about Williams in the Conservative Media Circus includes outright demands for his termination. Never mind that the false statements made over a decade ago were not made during a newscast or presented as part of his duties as a journalist. The wingnut brigade wants Williams fired for having said some things on David Letterman’s late-night comedy program.

Well, if that’s the standard they are embracing, then let them apply it to Bill O’Reilly as well. Back in 2006, O’Reilly took an extended book promotion tour to Kuwait where he visited with soldiers and signed copies of his book. Reports at the time described how “servicemembers asked O’Reilly about his own tour of duty in Kuwait during Desert Storm.” That might have been an interesting story except for the fact that O’Reilly never did a tour of duty in Kuwait during Desert Storm, or anywhere else since he never served in the military at all.

More recently, O’Reilly told his radio listeners about how he would have coaxed information out of an enemy soldier based on his personal experiences in combat (video below):

“I tell you what, I’ve been in combat. I’ve seen it. I’ve been close to it. And if my unit is in danger and I got a captured guy and the guy knows where the enemy is and I’m looking him in the eye, the guy better tell me. That’s all I’m gonna tell you. If it’s life or death, he’s going first.”

As noted above, and contrary to his statement, O’Reilly has never been in combat. Consequently, he has never commanded a unit or had to contemplate how he would deal with an enemy prisoner. His pretend bluster and machismo is all just a bunch of fantasizing of himself as a hero. So how is that any different than the offenses for which Williams is being pilloried?

There are, however, some very real differences between Williams and O’Reilly. Williams has been found to be less than truthful on this one occasion. O’Reilly has lied repeatedly over his career at Fox News with plenty of documentation to prove it. What’s more O’Reilly has demonstrated himself to be an arrogant, rude, bully who shoves his usually inane opinion down the throats of his guests and his viewers. That’s something that cannot be attributed to Williams.

So if anyone should lose their job over any of this, it would be most advantageous to the television viewing audience, and to society in general, if it is O’Reilly. But don’t count of Fox News to do the right thing. It would be against everything they hold dear.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.


h/t Meteor Blades at Daily Kos for the video.

Where’s The Outrage? Bill O’Reilly Calls Millions Of Americans Stupid

One of the most over-hyped (and idiotic) stories of 2014 was the spleen-venting offense that was taken over remarks by Jonathan Gruber, an M.I.T. economics professor who consulted on the drafting of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Gruber had told a conference that it may have been “the stupidity of the American voter” that contributed to the tortured way the health insurance reform bill was written. That’s actually an accurate point, but not a particularly savvy way to express it.

The result was a tsunami of miffed conservatives busting blood vessels at the thought that anyone would insult the universally recognized genius of the American public. At Fox News, of course, the issue took over the network’s programming with a force that made Benghazi look like a cat-rescued-from-a-tree story. An analysis by PolitiFact found that mentions of the Gruber affair in the following week occurred 779 times on Fox News. That’s once every fifteen minutes, 24 hours a day, for eight straight days.

Fox News Gruber Brainwashing

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Well, last night on the O’Reilly Factor, Uncle Bill delivered his Talking Points Memo to open the show. His topic was the 2016 presidential race, for which he appeared not to have much respect for the process or the voters. At one point he lamented that “The media will play a huge role and unfortunately the press has been corrupted in America by money, the Internet, and ideology.” Then he almost immediately contradicted himself, playing down the influence of the media:

O’Reilly: Informed voters will not be swayed by media coverage, but millions of Americans are simply uninformed.”

What? How dare he insult the intelligence of the people whose intelligence he was previously so upset about somebody else having insulted. How is it any different to say that millions of Americans are uninformed when it comes to the patriotic act of voting, which millions of Americans do, than it is to say that some of the American people are stupid with regard to the process of drafting legislation, which almost none of them do?

Later in the program O’Reilly brought in Monica Crowley to speak for conservatives and phony liberal Kirsten Powers to pretend to take the other side. Crowley and O’Reilly made the case that the media is predominantly liberal because “the brightest conservatives go into business and the brightest liberals go into entertainment and the media.” Setting aside that ludicrous notion, O’Reilly next turned to Powers who wavered on agreeing with that and then demonstrated why she is a flagrantly anti-liberal representative of the liberal position on Fox News:

Powers: I think there are a lot of different things that play into it and now also what’s happening is that it’s reinforced by these left-wing groups like Media Matters that harrass these media outlets every time they cover anything that isn’t positive.

That could not have been said better by Ann Coulter. Powers has long been disparaging Democrats (including President Obama) and progressive enterprises, although she has yet to provide any substantive support for her complaints against Media Matters, a watchdog group that doesn’t do much more than document the biases and dishonesty of the conservative media. And true to form, Powers had nothing to say about O’Reilly’s insult to the intelligence of the American people. I guess she agrees with that too.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Here We Go Again: The Media Needs To Stop Promoting Terrorist Propaganda

The execution of a Jordanian pilot by Islamic State terrorists has once again shown the world that they are a repulsive, inhumane band of murderers with no agenda other than inciting panic and fear. Unfortunately, it has also shown us that the media is an irresponsible purveyor of propaganda that unambiguously aids our terrorist enemies.

Fox News ISIS Flag

The first thing that people need to realize about these heinous executions is that the terrorists aim is to inflame emotions and draw western powers into a quagmire on their battlefield in the desert. And as if to validate that goal, war hawks among American conservatives are falling for the tactic and calling for an increased military presence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc. It is a pathetic and dangerous submission to the will of the enemy.

Why would anyone want to give the terrorists exactly what they are hoping for? To be sure the method of the executions is gut wrenching and stirs a desire for a visceral response with a measure of brutality that equals that of the terrorists. But succumbing to that vengeful instinct clouds our minds and distorts reality. For instance, many of the those acting on pure instinct have already appeared on television asserting that unless we escalate our military involvement we are losing the war.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

That’s nonsense. What people are forgetting (or not bothering to learn) is that there have been a total of eight executions by the Islamic State in the past six months. During that same time the United States and its allies have conducted bombing campaigns that have killed more than 6,000 ISIL fighters, including more than half of their top commanders, according to the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad, Stuart Jones. In what playbook does a 6,000 to 8 kill ratio signify a military loss?

Nevertheless, the media is hyping the death of a Jordanian that, while tragic, is in no way an incentive to escalate activities with more American soldiers deployed to the Middle East in combat roles. We are already beating the enemy by any standard and we just need to be persistent and make decisions based on reality rather than emotion. We need to steel ourselves from the enemies tactics which are devised to cause us to make faulty judgments that benefit them.

Fox News

In short we need to ignore the propaganda that the terrorists are engaging in. Likewise, we need to ignore the propaganda that the media is engaging in. When members of Congress like John McCain or Lindsey Graham tell us that we’re losing the war, we need to ignore them and continue on the path that is producing real successes. When pundits like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly tell us that President Obama is a weak and vacillating leader, we need to ignore them and stay the course. And even though news outlets like Fox News are helping the terrorists by promoting their propaganda videos, we are not obligated to watch or approve of that journalistic treason.

As I wrote last September after the terrorists executed Steven Sotloff, an American-Israeli journalist…

“The only way to react to these events is to acknowledge that they occurred and then stop obsessing over them. Then we can conduct our retaliatory response calmly and decisively. But by no means should we panic, tear out our hair, and give the enemy the impression (and satisfaction) that they have crushed our spirit and won a victory.”

That remains true today. It’s a shame that we have to undergo the trauma that is inflicted by horrific terrorist acts. But it doesn’t help that our media is advancing the goals of the terrorists. Hopefully they will eventually wise up and realize the harm they are doing by failing to put the whole of this battle into proper context. Seriously – 6,000 to 8.

[Update:] Fox News has posted the full video of the execution of the Jordanian pilot by ISIS. It is the only national TV network to do so. A terrorist expert consulted by the Guardian newspaper said that Fox News is “literally – literally – working for al-Qaida and Isis’ media arm … They might as well start sending them royalty checks.”

[Update II:] Since Fox News posted the ISIL propaganda, more conservative websites are joining in to help the terrorists promote their message of fear. So far Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, Breitbart News, and Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller are now on Team ISIL. They claim that showing the video is the only way that people will be able to grasp the true horror of the execution. That is obviously an idiotic argument, but if they believe it, then why don’t they also post the beheadings of the Americans that ISIL murdered?

Bill O’Reilly Responds To Vermont High School Students By Calling Them Pinheads

A couple of weeks ago a class at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington, Vermont, took on the awesome power of America’s top rated cable “news” network, Fox News. Using a segment from the Bill O’Reilly show that featured his stalker Jesse Watters, they expertly demonstrated how Fox systematically breaches the code of ethics as stipulated by the Society for Professional Journalism. [See this article for the back story and the students’ video]

Anyone who follows Fox News knows that they do not take kindly to criticism. In fact, they react aggressively and with a viciousness that is generally associated with aberrant behavior like road rage. That appears to be the case even when their victims are high school kids. So it is not particularly surprising that last Friday Bill O’Reilly teased his response to the kids by calling them “pinheads” and Watters promised a “vigourous defense of my journalistic integrity point by point” would be delivered on Monday.

Fox News Jesse Watters

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So today O’Reilly brought Watters back for his defense (video below), which did more to prove the original case made by the students than to exonerate Watters or O’Reilly. The segment was an embarrassing mash of childish attempts at humor, but worse, it was filled with lies and misrepresentations.

Beginning with a claim by the students that Watters made generalized assertions about the state of Vermont after visiting just one small town, Watters rebuttal was a joke (?) that didn’t address the point at all:

“Hold it! Bennington is my town now. I just bought a little hemp farm there this past weekend. Hey neighbors.” […and later added…] Did your nutty professor write this script for you?

Apparently Watters has decided to employ the most juvenile tactics in his defense. Perhaps he thinks these high schoolers are seven or eight years old, because that’s the level to which he is stooping. His “nutty professor” remark insulted both the teacher and the students by implying that they were not responsible for their own work. Then, following a clip wherein the students criticized Watters for predetermining the outcome of his story, Watters tried to shift responsibility elsewhere saying…

“Actually Gallup predetermined the outcome. Now I’ll be waiting to watch that anti-Gallup video.”

Watters then displayed a graphic of a Gallup poll showing that Vermont was the most liberal state in the country. However, that is not what the students were referencing with regard to predetermined outcomes. The actual topic at that point was how Watters’ inserted his opinion in a question about whether Vermonters should apologize for voting for President Obama, as if there were something for which to apologize (i.e. a booming economy? Ending two wars? Access to health insurance? Cutting unemployment in half? Cutting the deficit by two-thirds?).

So Watters deliberately lied in that response by pretending that the students were referring to something else that better suited his agenda. Even worse, he doctored the graphic for the Gallup poll to put Vermont at the top. If you look at the Gallup website the original graphic shows that Vermont’s liberal ranking was actually second behind the District of Columbia.

Next, Watters played a clip from the student video where they called him out for referring to all Vermonters disparagingly, including one who Watters described as a “drifter.” The students noted that Watters never authenticated his assertion about whether or not he was a drifter, or even if he was from Vermont. To that Watters’ replied incredulously…

“So before I do an interview you want me to ask a guest to show me their papers?”

Um, yes. A responsible journalist will at least make an effort to identify their subjects, especially if the journalist intends to draw conclusions about them. Watters seems to think he can put anyone on the air without any vetting and then make slanderous comments at will. Does Watters actually believe that a real journalist wouldn’t verify who they were talking to before putting them on the air? Is that how Fox News selects their “experts” on economics, foreign policy, etc.?

Watters and O’Reilly spent the closing minutes of the segment ridiculing the students for taking Watters seriously. They attempted to justify their rank dishonesty by saying it was all just satirical. That’s an ironic defense since O’Reilly, and most other right-wingers in the media, are constantly bashing people like Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, and Bill Maher, and whining about the impact they have on the nation and on the news. O’Reilly once called Stewart “a key component of left-wing television.” Conservatives regard political humorists as part of the so-called liberal media conspiracy, and they take them very seriously. But here they are attempting to excuse their own faulty reporting by dismissing it as humor. Why is it a heinous act of propaganda when others do it, but when they do it’s benignly entertaining?

The truth is that Watters, besides being remarkably unfunny, is just as much a part of the propaganda crusade that makes up the Fox News mission. He uses his allegedly entertaining bits to advance a right-wing message, just the same as O’Reilly or Megyn Kelly or Bret Baier use their allegedly newsy bits. He is deliberately derogatory against liberals exclusively. And if you don’t think that he’s part of the messaging on Fox, you are terminally naive. Even Fox News has observed that Jon Stewart is more fair and balanced with his satire.

The embarrassing rebuttal to the student project just emphasizes the lengths that Fox will go to promulgate their disinformation. It also shows their utter disregard for the truth or journalistic ethics. But most notoriously (and hilariously) it shows that they can’t even defend themselves against valid criticisms made by intelligent amateurs who are still in high school.

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High Schoolers Scorch Bill O’Reilly/Fox News For Lack Of Journalistic Ethics

[Update 2/2/2015: Fox News has responded to the students’ video]

Fox News has been proven repeatedly to be a purveyor of disinformation and outright lies presented as facts. Knowledgeable observers long ago ceased to take their reporting seriously. However, it’s one thing to be called out for shoddy journalism by experienced media analysts and news professionals. But when a high school class can demolish the highest rated cable “news” network with ease, the folks responsible should reconsider their career choices.

Fox News

Last July O’Reilly sent his stalker/producer Jesse Watters to Bennington, Vermont in order to malign the residents of the city and the state as liberal, pot smoking, ski bums. It was a purely vicious exercise in childish insults that had no news value of any kind. But it is the sort of mean-spirited filler that Watters has made his specialty. Watters is also the founder and editor of Fox’s community website, Fox Nation, mangling the truth is the primary objective. [Note: don’t miss this epic and hilarious take down of Watters by Stephen Colbert]

The students at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington happened to be studying journalism when they came upon this piece. So they used it as a case study to conduct a “professional integrity audit” based on the ethics codes of the Society of Professional Journalists. What they discovered was that O’Reilly’s program violated the ethics codes so many times they lost count.

The video produced by the students systematically took apart the Watters segment revealing O’Reilly, Watters, and Fox News to be blatant propagandists with no regard for journalistic integrity. In one short segment they found examples of stereotyping, distortions, manipulation, questionable sourcing, and predetermining outcome.

The students presentation was not what you would call polished. But, hey, they are high school students. They have plenty of time to sharpen their camera skills. The main thing is that the construction of their reporting and their adherence to high standards still makes them more watchable than the arrogant, blow-dried, FoxBots who stare down their noses at decent folks in small Vermont towns.

The video closes with the students articulating their conclusions based on a thorough analysis of the O’Reilly segment as it holds up to ethical scrutiny. The verdict was not something that a reputable journalist would relish:

“Based on our studies about the field of journalism, we have determined that you’re not practicing journalism. You’re practicing rank propaganda.” […]

“By watching Fox News, we have learned buckets about journalism – what to do and, more importantly, what never to do. It is our hope that Fox News can learn the very same from watching us.”

You have to admire their youthful optimism. It is unlikely that Fox will ever acknowledge the complete lack of ethics in their reporting. That’s mainly because they don’t regard it as a flaw. It is deliberate and in keeping with their mission to advance a partisan political agenda, even when it is merely ridiculing innocent victims of their juvenile pranks.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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Addendum: After reading some of the comments below, it is clear that right-wing trolls have descended on this article to attack young people for speaking their mind. What’s sad is that the conservative critics can’t even form coherent arguments to rebut the students on substance. They rely on insults and rhetorical misdirection.

Bill O’Reilly’s Shameful Suck-Up To White Supremacist David Duke

The brand new Republican Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, is still sweating out the controversy over his having spoken to a white supremacist organization as a candidate for office in Louisiana. The tale has taken some twists and turns with criticism coming from both Democrats and Republicans. Sean Hannity of Fox News even went so far as to call for the resignation of GOP Speaker John Boehner for defending Scalise.

The worst thing that can come of this melodrama is for it to lead to an increased media presence for David Duke, the overtly racist leader of the group to which Scalise spoke. But that is precisely what is happening. Duke first appeared on CNN with Michael Smerconish in a debate that provided little to no news value. And now, Bill O’Reilly added to Duke’s PR campaign by inviting him on to participate in a typical O’Reilly shouting match aimed more at producing ratings rather than knowledge. (Video below)

Bill O'Reilly - David Duke

However, what really made the O’Reilly segment disturbing is that O’Reilly spent most of it agreeing with Duke and took great pains to avoid calling him a white supremacist. Each time that the conversation provided an opportunity for O’Reilly to properly label Duke, O’Reilly seemed to chicken out in mid-sentence. For instance, there was this cowardly utterance by O’Reilly:

“Don’t sit there and tell me you’re not a white … your organization isn’t looking out for the white European race.”

What made O’Reilly stop short just as he was about to say “white supremacist,” and instead use the very words that Duke uses to describe himself? Duke’s entire phony persona is one of an advocate for the rights of European Americans who is not opposed to anyone else’s rights. Of course, the historical record, rampant with bigotry against blacks and Jews, shows that he is lying. So why did O’Reilly help to advance that facade? It gave Duke the opportunity to respond saying…

“I’m looking out for the rights of all Americans. I also believe that European-Americans shouldn’t be discriminated against in jobs or scholarships or any other way.”

To which O’Reilly responded “Yeah, alright,” in effect agreeing with Duke. That shouldn’t surprise anyone because it is a position that O’Reilly has taken himself as a long-standing opponent of affirmative action.

And that wasn’t the only time in the interview that O’Reilly agreed with Duke. Later Duke tried to make a derogatory association between the late Nelson Mandela and President Obama, implying that the President had affiliated himself with communists. There also, O’Reilly agreed and even bragged that he had reported that. Then Duke complained that the media had not reported Mandela’s alleged communist ties (which is false), which O’Reilly also agreed with saying “That’s because there’s sympathetic (sic) in the mainstream media for the left.” Duke replied “Exactly.”

If it isn’t bad enough that O’Reilly continually agreed with Duke, he made things worse by demonstrating a profound ignorance of culture and history. Duke asserted that he loved his (white) people and wanted to preserve his heritage. This confused O’Reilly and led to this idiotic exchange:

O’Reilly: Preserve your heritage? What does that mean?
Duke: You don’t know what European heritage is? You don’t know what Mozart is, and Bach, and Beethoven?
O’Reilly: They’re people. They come from different countries.

Indeed, they are people. O’Reilly nailed that one. However, they are all European people, and Mozart and Beethoven are both from the same country, Germany. Bach was from neighboring Austria (as was Hitler), but spent most of his professional life in Germany (as did Hitler). Duke did not raise these particular people accidentally, and O’Reilly managed to embarrass himself by his ignorance. Furthermore, O’Reilly didn’t bother to repudiate Duke’s closing comments that illustrated his antisemitism. However, he did take another opportunity to weasel out of calling Duke what he is:

“The one thing you said – I wanna get everybody on board with this – is that Congressman Scalise was scheduled – I’m not gonna say white supremacist – but he was scheduled to speak to your group.”

What is that O’Reilly finds so difficult about calling Duke a white supremacist? Why even bother to have him on the program if you’re going to let him off the hook? And how could O’Reilly find so many areas of agreement with him? The real question that all of this raises is: What does this say about Bill O’Reilly?

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