Tuesday, March 24, 2009

As Predicted, O'Reilly Airs Segment that Smears and Distorts

Last night, as expected, Bill O'Reilly aired the piece in which his producer ambushed Amanda Terkel of ThinkProgress. In my entry yesterday, I highlighted some excerpts from Terkel's account of the confrontation and mentioned that I expected O'Reilly to heavily spin the ambush, spin his own comments that Terkel criticized, and bring someone on the show to help him smear Terkel. O'Reilly, did not disappoint:

Immediately following this clip, O'Reilly brought on someone who has worked with the Alexa Foundation and with Alexa's family to help denounce Terkel, ThinkProgress, and NBC. O'Reilly's account of this scenario is heavily spun and he leaves out certain details such as:

- The initial audio clip from his radio show that Terkel and ThinkProgress initially criticized. O'Reilly mentions that the clip is on his website, but does not address the content of the clip nor does he defend this comments in that clip. Interesting considering that those comments are at the heart of this issue.

- O'Reilly fails to mention how he obtained comments from Terkel. He does not mention that he never invited her on his program to formally address the situation nor does he mention that he had his producer follow Terkel for two hours while she was vacationing in Virginia to ambush her during a time when she would be least prepared to discuss this issue. Perhaps O'Reilly doesn't mention this fact because he would then be caught in another lie. From the August 24, 2007 airing of The O'Reilly Factor:

As you may know, "The Factor" occasionally sends out producers to confront people who will not answer serious questions about controversial things they do, like judges giving child rapists probation, for example.

Now, some object to displays like these. But we feel they're a vital tool in holding public servants accountable for their actions, and we do not go after people lightly. We always ask them on the program first, or to issue a clear statement explaining their actions.

As Terkel points out in a follow-up post, she is not a public servant and she was never asked on the program first.

It seems as though if you make Bill mad enough by highlighting comments that he has made, he will send his producers to stalk you, ambush you, and then from the comfort of his studio, he will call you a "villain" while distorting the facts.

This kind of hypocrisy was outlined a while ago by Jon Stewart, but it certainly applies to this situation as well:

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