October 13, 2009

Bill O'Reilly was helping lead the chorus of whining that erupted on Fox News yesterday in response to Anita Dunn speaking the truth about their right-wing propaganda operation.

He opened with a Talking Points Memo segment attacking Dunn and the White House. He wrapped it up with a series of claims that could only have been uttered by someone who's pathologically delusional:

Finally, Ms. Dunn is seeing the world through the prism of the other media, like NBC News and CNN. By all accounts, those networks favored Barack Obama over John McCain, and NBC actually promoted the president's candidacy and continues to give him excellent coverage.

So by that measure, Fox News is indeed troublesome to the White House. But our hard news coverage is fair and balanced. Again, if somebody doesn't believe that, let's see the evidence because bloviating walks.

Oy. Where to begin. Over the years, there's been a mountain of evidence amassed -- both here at C&L as well as such sites as Media Matters and ThinkProgress -- demonstrating Fox News' extraordinary right-wing bias, and its utter lack of anything approaching fairness or balance. Indeed, Fox's adoption of the phrase "fair and balanced" has transformed it into a popular reference to up-is-down Newspeak.

The fact that O'Reilly blithely dismisses this mountain as the product of a "far left bias" by those groups is itself clear evidence of his own bias: It's clear he a priori dismisses any facts produced by such groups, regardless of their actual validity.

O'Reilly wants evidence of an utter lack of "fairness and balance"? OK, let's try a single sample out of that mountain: Griff Jenkins' reportage from the "Tea Party Express" in which he not only blatantly led the teabaggers in their anti-Obama chants, but where a Fox producer was caught exhorting the crowds to cheer.

Of course, O'Reilly will never accept such evidence simply because it disproves his claim. Yeh, that's the Fox brand of "fair and balanced."

But O'Reilly really severed any tie with reality in the following part of the segment, where he talked over the White House meanies with fellow Foxite Brit Hume. Reaching his apotheosis when the subject of Fox's treatment of George W. Bush came up, O'Reilly claimed:

O'Reilly: And I have to say that when President Bush was in trouble in Iraq, this network and this program, and your program as well, routinely, routinely hammered President Bush. On Iraq.

Hume: Well, we certainly -- we, we were very faithful about covering all the bad news that came out of Iraq for a very long period of time. The criticisms that were made of him were reported and discussed at length on Fox News. Um, now, he had his defenders, the war had its defenders, there was commentary on Fox --

O'Reilly: But there was no cheerleading -- There was no cheerleading of President Bush on this network when his administration ran into trouble. There was no cheerleading, you know -- it was skeptical coverage, Iraq's going south, when the economy started to wobble last September, we were right on that.

OK, done with that long belly laugh? Good. Because we all remember how Fox not only fawned over every move made by the Bush administration, but how it viciously attacked anyone who dared criticize Bush or Dick Cheney or their incompetent gang of cronies.

Recall how it attacked war critics as the situation worsened in Iraq? (It also transformed proponents of the war into "critics" when it became convenient to do so.) How it openly cheerled for Gen. Petraeus?

Remember how O'Reilly routinely attacked anyone who criticized the Bush torture regime?

Then there was the way O'Reilly consistently dismissed the Abu Ghraib scandal as unimportant.

Remember how it routinely attacked Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, and sturdily defended Scooter Libby?

And those are just a few examples of how Fox didn't merely cheerlead for the Bush administration, but also acted as its propaganda arm by viciously attacking its critics. And there's no shortage of evidence of that reality at all.

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