UPDATE - 2-26-04 -- Bill O'Reilly's "Apology": Still Spinning in the 'No Spin Zone'
by Peter Hart
Viewers of ABC's Good Morning America saw something very unusual earlier this month: Fox News Channel's star host Bill O'Reilly admitted he was wrong about something. Sort of.
Right before U.S. forces invaded Iraq, O'Reilly made a bold promise on ABC about Iraq's WMDs: "If the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush Administration again, all right?"
Last week, thanks to persistent needling from ABC host Charlie Gibson, O'Reilly mustered a half-hearted apology: "Well, my analysis was wrong and I'm sorry.. I was wrong. I'm not pleased about it at all." As to the promise to "never trust the Bush administration again," he was considerably less forceful: "I am much more skeptical of the Bush administration now than I was at that time," he explained, before blaming CIA chief George Tenet for Bush's troubles.
But the day after his climbdown, O'Reilly was back on more familiar turf, telling his Fox audience that the controversy was cooked up by the "left-wing press" who "used my words to hammer the president." The liberal media, he reminded his audience, "has made dozens of mistakes itself and continues to deny that the world is a better place because Saddam is gone." This from a guy who promises his show is a "no spin zone."
Deception and doubletalk are nothing new on The O'Reilly Factor, where O'Reilly struggles to maintain the fiction that he isn't conservative-- while regularly inveighing against the "secularists," the "liberal media," National Public Radio, the ACLU and an assortment of Bush critics. Bush himself, meanwhile, is described by O'Reilly as "the closest modern president to what the Founding Fathers have in mind."
But if O'Reilly's in the mood to issue more apologies, he has his work cut out for him. He could start by explaining his comments three days after the September 11 attacks, when he fingered Saddam Hussein as an accomplice: "I believe that you're going to find out that money from Iraq flowed in and helped this happen." Or he could explain how he concluded that long-time nemesis Rev. Jesse Jackson wanted to see Rush Limbaugh in jail on a drug rap. O'Reilly quoted a truncated passage from a Jackson interview on another cable network to prove his point-- but conveniently skipped over the part where Jackson said, "I hope Rush Limbaugh does not go to jail."
O'Reilly could also explain why he hyped a year-end battle of book sales between himself and Hillary Clinton. O'Reilly would eventually accept defeat, but not before claiming his competition was cheating: "We're doing this the old-fashioned way. Regular folks are actually buying the book, not the DNC and other ideological organizations." That's funny-- if you visited a website called the Conservative Book Club, you could buy a copy of O'Reilly's latest hardcover for a dollar. O'Reilly also later admitted that Clinton's book was not being purchased in bulk by Democratic organizations, telling the Washington Post the whole thing was "just for sport."
O'Reilly could also explain where he got this idea: "According to analysis done by the San Diego Union-Tribune, illegal immigrants cost the taxpayers $20 billion every year," he told his audience last month. But there's no such "analysis" in that newspaper's archives-- only a conservative columnist using the figure in an opinion piece. My call to Fox News to sort out the matter was never returned.
UPDATE - 2-16-04 -- O'Reilly makes top 10 conservative idiot list at www.democraticunderground.com over the so-called apology for not finding WMD's in Iraq. I believe this is O'Reilly's 12th appearence on the list in the last 2 years. Ask yourself why a guy who claims to be an independent has been on the top 10 conservative idiots list 12 times.
10) Bill O'Reilly
And finally: Bill's such a big man - after months of silence in which he refused to acknowledge his promise to apologize to America and never trust Bush again if WMDs were not found in Iraq, he finally broke down on Good Morning America last week. O'Reilly was cornered by GMA anchor Charles Gibson who played a tape of Bill's promise, and that was that. "Wellmy analysis was wrong and Im sorrysaid he. am much more skeptical of the Bush administration now than at time.Ha ha! coursethis apology strictly for GMA camerasbecause OReilly spinning like a top very next day on his show.
"I go on 'Good Morning America' yesterday and say that I'm personally sorry my analysis on WMDs before the war was wrong and I'm angry about the CIA mistake. I mean, any honest commentator would say that, but the left-wing press sees my admission as some kind of liberal policy vindication and is using my words to hammer the president. Well, that's dishonest. I still believe removing Saddam was the right thing to do and that history will prove it. And there's also the possibility that WMDs will be found, so I might have to apologize for my apology. I don't mind. I still hope they find WMDs.
But at this point, President Bush should retire George Tenet, the CIA chief... I don't think President Bush lied about WMDs, but he should be stronger in fixing U.S. intelligence. That's the bottom line here. My mistake was not being skeptical enough about the CIA's reporting on WMDs." So I guess when Bill said he'd never trust Bush again he was just talking out of his fat ass.
UPDATE - 2-12-04 -- Just as I thought O'Reilly backed off his WMD apology on his show last night. I believe he only made the sort of half-hearted apology on GMA because Charlie Gibson played the tape. He played the tape of Bill saying he would apologize to the nation, this put Bill in a bad spot, it basically embarrassed O'Reilly into the apology.
But then on his show last night he virtually backed off the entire apology. I knew any apology we would get would be a joke.
He was forced to apologize, so he sort of did it. But then on his show last night he virtually backed off the entire apology.
Talking Points - February 11, 2004
By Bill O'Reilly
The left-wing press really amuses me.
2-11-04 -- I removed the O'Reilly Iraq apology countdown clock, even though his apology was forced and very late. We have known for months that Iraq does not have WMD's and Bill is just now giving his apology. On GMA Gibson made O'Reilly watch the tape where he said "If nothing is found, I will apologize and I will never trust the Bush administration again". Bill did not volunteer the apology until after Gibdon played the tape on national TV and basically embarassed him into the apology.
Even then he gave a lame ass sort of apology and stepped back from his other statement about trusting the Bush administration, then he blamed Tenet and the CIA. But he did not say we should never trust the Bush administration again. Plus he may have never said anything if Gibson did not play the tape.
This was not the apology he promised to give, he said he was much more skeptical about the Bush administration now. That is not saying we can not trust the Bush administration again. I give him credit for the half-hearted apology, it was good enough to get the clock stopped, but it was a borderline and very late apology.
So all you idiotic right-wing morons can stop e-mailing me about the clock, I was not home last night and I did not have time to remove the clock until this morning. I got at least 20 e-mails telling me I have no credibility because I did not remove the clock. Sometimes people are busy at their jobs, working on home care or their personal budget or not home, I removed the clock as soon as I could. Not to mention his apology was so lame it was barely even an apology. I just wonder if Gibson had not played the tape on national TV if O'Reilly would have ever apologized.