Bill O’Reilly, the host of the high-rated The O’Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, is going on a rhetorical “jihad” against those media pundits who in his opinion say “incredibly dumb stuff” about terrorism.
He’s particularly ticked at MSNBC host Alex Wagner, who claimed O’Reilly’s criticism of President Obama’s response to the Boston Marathon bombings contained a subtext suggesting the president is a “secret Muslim.”
In his “Talking Points” memo, Bill O’Reilly reacted to Wagner’s contention as follows:
“Hard to believe that person is given a national platform by NBC News — almost impossible to believe. I mean, what is Comcast thinking? The Factor‘s second rerun 4:00 in the morning now beats MSNBC’s 8 p.m. primetime broadcast — at least it did yesterday. For the record, Charles Krauthammer and I did not say that President Obama is not, quote, ‘tough enough on Muslims.’ We specifically analyze why the president will not use the words ‘Muslim jihad’ in describing the motive of the terror attack.”
Although he makes his living in the marketplace of ideas, O’Reilly tends to bristle when he is assailed by ideological opponents or even those generally on his side of the fence like Laura Ingraham. Since O’Reilly in particular (and Fox News generally) crushes the cable news competition in the ratings, the question arises as to why he would even care what is spouted on another network, however.
O’Reilly further announced that he is going to call out those who “deny reality” about acts of terror: “So ‘Talking Points’ is going on a jihad of another stripe. Every time — every time — a high profile person starts to spout gibberish about deadly terrorism I will embarrass that person on this broadcast. Public opinion is the only way to stop this madness.”
The FNC host does have a point about some of the ideologically driven media coverage, the same kind of thing that Bill Maher classified as “liberal bullsh*t.” For example, in the early hours of the Boston Marathon bombings, there were any number of pundits on MSNBC and CNN breathlessly suggesting that the perpetrators were “right wing extremists” who were protesting Tax Day, April 15. Separately, you might recall that Brian Ross of ABC News falsely claimed that Aurora shooter James Holmes was a Tea Party member.
In the time period from April 15 to April 21, during its wall-to-wall coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent police manhunt, Fox News was the highest rated cable channel in America for the first time in about 10 years.
Watch O’Reilly’s “Talking Points Memo” and decide for yourself if his approach to what he considers media misinformation or disinformation is reasonable: