Mark Weisbrot vs Bill O'Reilly



This is the transcript of an interview where O'Reilly had the mic of his guest cut off again. First Jeremy Glick, now Mark Weisbrot. O'Reilly cut the guy off because he was going to make the point that polls show almost half the American people believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. And because it is false, the 75% support for the war immediately becomes a joke because it is based on false info. Notice how O'Reilly tries to keep the guy from saying it, after he finally gets it out, O'Reilly calls it propaganda. So much for the no-spin zone.

The Knight Ridder poll was taken by 1,204 americans, 44% of them said they believe most or all of the 19 terrorists on 9-11 were Iraqi citizens. Only 17% of the 1,204 poll takers knew the correct answer was none. Yet O'Reilly spun it and called it propaganda. Funny how he don't call polls that have Bush at 70% job approval propaganda. It seems a poll is only propaganda in O'Reilly's world, when he don't like the results of the poll.

Source: Knight Ridder Poll

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight. Is it right to use economic clout to forge policy? Joining us now from Washington is Dr. Mark Weisbrot, co-director for the Center of Economic and Policy Research. What say you, Doctor?

MARK WEISBROT, PH.D., CENTER OF ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH: Yes?

O'REILLY: What say you about my Talking Points Memo? What do you think?

WEISBROT: Yes, I think it's wrong. I mean, first of all, you have to remember that the whole world is against this war. Even the so-called coalition of the willing, which is really a coalition of the badgered and the threatened and the weak. You had large majorities in every one of these countries that's against the war.

And so they very much hate the Bush administration for waging this war. They see it as illegitimate, illegal, and a war of conquest. That's how the world sees us. So, many of them are blaming our government, but not us personally.

If consumers try to use another weapon, another economic weapon against them, that just makes it look like the American people are just as bad as their government and are just trying to use their economic power, as well as their military power, to try and rule the world. That's how the rest of the world would see it, and I think they're right.

O'REILLY: I think you're right. The rest of the world wouldn't like us using our economic clout. Now, 75 percent of the American people believe the war was just. So, you are in a minority, and you are not smarter than every one of those people. So, you could be wrong...

WEISBROT: But these people were given...

(CROSS TALK)

O'REILLY: But wait a minute. Doctor! All right. Doctor, Doctor!

WEISBROT: Half the people in this country believe...

O'REILLY: Cut his mike!

All right, Doctor. Now, you either going listen to me, or you are going to get knocked off the air right now. Ok? That's the deal.

Put your mike back on. All right, Doctor? I talk, you talk. That's the way we do it.

You say we've been given false information. That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. I don't believe that. And I'm as smart as you are. And 75 percent of the American people disagree with you. So, if 75 percent of the American people come to the conclusion that Saddam Hussein is a threat to them, or was a threat, and they resent the fact that other countries are putting they and their families in danger, i.e. France, all right? Don't they have the perfect moral right not to buy French goods?

WEISBROT: Well, it would be a moral right in certain circumstances, but again, half the people in this country believe that Saddam was responsible for September 11th. So, they're basing this decision on false information.

O'REILLY: That's propaganda, and you know it. They say he might have had something to do with it on a peripheral level. Look. He was training terrorists. They just found Abu Abbas there. Abu Nidal, you know, was discovered there.

WEISBROT: He was living there.

O'REILLY: They have the guys in the north. You could do it all day long. Now look, Americans have boycotted governments in the past like South Africa.

WEISBROT: That's a good example.

O'REILLY: We helped bring that government down. Now you would say that would be a legitimate action, correct?

WEISBROT: Yes, because in that case, first of all, the people there were asking for the boycott, and we were helping them to remove an oppressive government, a government that did not give the majority of the people the right to vote.

Here it's the opposite. In this case, we have all these countries where democratic elections and majority pressure was telling these governments not to support this war. And they responded to the pressure. In Europe and all over the world. In Chile and Mexico, everywhere, people refused to support this war. They were against it.

O'REILLY: And you think that they got all the...

WEISBROT: And the governments responded to that pressure.

O'REILLY: And you think, Doctor, that in Chile and Mexico and Russia, and in all of these countries, they've got all the information, too? Their press wasn't tilted in any way or controlled, right?

WEISBROT: They got both sides unlike us.

O'REILLY: Oh, they did. Yes, the did. Sure they did. And didn't you say they were perfectly accurate, right?

WEISBROT: More accurate information than we've gotten from our media here, absolutely.

O'REILLY: So, we've distorted things purposely here on the media, have we?

WEISBROT: Our media has -- I wouldn't say it's purposely. But what they tend to do is report the administration's point of view and then very occasionally, as on this show, they give...

O'REILLY: ABC News is reporting the administration's point of view? And CNN? ABC and CNN are reporting the administration's point of view?

WEISBROT: Absolutely. Over and over again they gave all the reasons why the Bush administration said they were going to war including false ones like the story about...

(CROSS TALK)

O'REILLY: That's the information. And we have the other side as well. All right, you're basically saying, in your opinion, if the government's oppressive, i.e. South Africa, then it's ok to use your economic clout.

WEISBROT: Especially if the people...

O'REILLY: But in my opinion, if I feel that France is undermining the United States, has sent -- has sold missiles in violation of the UN mandates against Saddam Hussein, as we know they have now because we captured them, then I don't have a right, in my opinion, to boycott France. You're saying that, right?

WEISBROT: Well, also there you have to remember the French government was responding to an overwhelming majority of their people.

O'REILLY: No, no. They sold missiles in violation of the UN mandate. So, I don't have a right not to buy their stuff now?

WEISBROT: Oh, you have a right. You cannot buy anything you want.

O'REILLY: Yes, and I'm morally right in that, am I not?

WEISBROT: I think anybody should not buy whatever they don't want to buy. But you have to remember the other side can do that, too. They are going to be deciding whether to buy Microsoft or have free open-source software. Open-source software, for example...

(CROSS TALK)

O'REILLY: All right. I'm willing to take that chance. I'm willing to take that chance. See, I think the American consumer, number one, isn't as stupid as you think he is because we don't have the information here, a bunch of crap.

WEISBROT: I didn't say they were stupid. I said they were deceived by bad information.

O'REILLY: Yes, I know. But I say that you're crazy, that this is the most open society in the world. They weren't deceived about anything. They got both sides, and they made up their mind, which was opposite from your point of view. So, now you say they're deceived. That's ridiculous.

But anyway, Doctor, we respect your point of view. Thanks for coming on.

WEISBROT: Thank you.