Well we’re way past feud status this week. Round 3 (or 4 depending on what day you started counting) of the war between O’Reilly and NBCMSNBCBrokawEngelOlbermannScarboroughMatthews happened tonight starting with The Factor’s Talking Points Memo.
…again dissent about the war? Fine. Rooting for America to lose? Disloyal. And then there’s the press. Unfortunately many in the media now have a vested interest in seeing the U.S. fail in Iraq. No doubt about it. If Iraq were to turn and go America’s way, President Bush would rise in the polls and Republicans would have a better chance in 2008. The Left wing media does not want that to happen. NBC News is leading the way in that regard. Listen to this question by Chris Matthews…
What would justify sending 30,000..40,000 GIs into the streets of Baghdad to kick down doors and kill Sunnis? What would convince you that was the right policy?
Kick down doors and kill Sunnis….very nice. Listen to this comment by Tom Brokaw about Saddam’s execution…
He was a goddawful man Saddam Hussein and he did have a trial. But uh to not have control of the execution and to have it really just fuel more sectarian violence at a time when we’re trying to dampen that is…is not helpful. Which is an understatement.
Well Brokaw was wrong. There has not been a rise in violence since Saddam’s execution according to Stratfor, a non partisan group that analyzes Iraq.
One final thing about NBC News. The Center for Media and Public Affairs study concluded that network favored John Kerry more than any other network in the 2004 election.
(If it was this study which does say that the gap between favorable towards Kerry than towards Bush was greatest at NBC, O’Reilly neglected to mention that the same study concluded that FNC was far more negative towards Kerry than Bush. But O’Reilly didn’t specify which study so we don’t know for sure. And I did look for other studies.)
So next week when the President announces his new Iraq strategy expect overwhelmingly negative coverage from NBC News and others. I hope I’m wrong.
O’Reilly then segued to an interview with Andrea Mitchell…
O’Reilly: Now I want everybody to know that you’ve been a correspondent over there for thirty years at NBC and we checked you out thoroughly…we couldn’t find any bias in your reporting. None. Okay? So, I don’t have a problem with you. I do have a problem with NBC News. Tell me where I’m going wrong.
Mitchell: You’re wrong because things are taken out of context. Tom Brokaw said it’s not helpful. I think he’s absolutely right. It wasn’t helpful.
O’Reilly: No he said flat out that it was going to lead to a rise in more violence. He was wrong.
Mitchell: And we’ve only had about a week.
O’Reilly: It’s been wrong.
Mitchell: We don’t know what the timeframe is for that.
O’Reilly: So far he’s been wrong. Would you give me that?
Mitchell: No. Because what you took was five seconds out of what was a much longer conversation.
O’Reilly: It was much worse. What Brokaw said…Do you want me to run the whole clip? We did it last night. What Brokaw said was much worse. I mean he condemned every part of that execution as a fiasco…a wild west hanging.
Mitchell and O’Reilly continued back and forth on this a bit longer. Mitchell gave a passionate defense of NBC News and all its ancillaries including MSNBC. O’Reilly brought up the Kerry study and wanted Mitchell to comment. Mitchell disputed the conclusions.
O’Reilly did admit that he had it in for NBC News…
O’Reilly: …like, I have it in for NBC. I’ll admit it. I don’t like you guys. I like you. I like the Today Show. But I think your management made a conscious decision to go to the left…
Mitchell: That’s not true.
O’Reilly: That’s my opinion. Based upon reems of material
O’Reilly returned to the 2004 election study and hammered the point home. Mitchell did however parry and say…
Mitchell: I don’t think that any of our reports…yours, mine, CNN’s…any of…CBS, ABC…I don’t think you can take that kind of a statistical analysis to the textural and contextual work that we do.
O’Reilly: But then there’s no reality. See if you can’t analyze what was actually said and written in any journalistic enterprise, there’s no reality.
O’Reilly then tried to pin down Mitchell to name one Conservative at NBC. Mitchell sort of balked at the question and said that there are probably privately conservative and liberal people at NBC. O’Reilly continued to press about everybody being Liberal naming off Curry, Lauer, Vierra, and Couric when she was there. They then argued over whether Chris Matthews was liberal. Then O’Reilly let up…
O’Reilly: I’m giving you way too much of a hard time. I am. And I apologize. It’s not your fault.
Mitchell: I don’t think it’s fair to describe journalists as liberals or conservatives.
O’Reilly: I do. Because I think that it’s filtered through a prism. But I want to apologize to you. I’m giving you way too hard a time. It’s not your fault. And your book is excellent. And I have to tell people to buy your book because you are fair. You are balanced. You are accurate. And you have had a window on history for the last thirty years that none of us have had. And you can learn a lot from reading your book. But I am distressed…and I am…about what’s happening over where you work. And I’m sorry that I had to take it out on you.
Mitchell: Well I appreciate your comments but I have to tell you that I don’t feel that there is bias in what we do at NBC News. And I don’t think there’s bias at CBS or ABC.
O’Reilly: What about Fox?
Mitchell: I don’t think…look I think that Fox News is a terrific organization.
O’Reilly: Are we biased?
Mitchell: There are commentators that are biased and I don’t think that the newscasts are biased.
O’Reilly: Shepard Smith will be thrilled.
Meanwhile over at MSNBC, in the same hour (!), the rapid reaction force at Countdown returned fire for the earlier O’Reilly/Mitchell interview by putting O’Reilly in the WPITW segment…
A Bronze tonight…for BillO.
His paranoia about NBC tonight reaching the stages of tertiary syphilis; attacking Chris Matthews and me by trying to push around Andrea Mitchell on the air. Then telling her, “We’ve checked you out. You’re ok”…like some twenty five cent edition of Joe McCarthy…or like you could carry Andrea Mitchell’s pencil.
Listen big boy, if you want to hit Matthews or me come on down and do it like a man. Not like a Bill O’Reilly…
Let the record show that O’Reilly never mentioned Olbermann. He mentioned Matthews but not Olbermann. In the past there have been times when O’Reilly would imply Olbermann and not name him but in this particular case it’s very apparent that O’Reilly never named nor implied Olbermann at all in either segment. Olbermann was incorrect saying that O’Reilly attacked him. He did not.
Let the record show that Olbermann incorrectly quoted O’Reilly. O’Reilly never told Mitchell “You’re ok.”
Let the record also show that O’Reilly blasted NBC News and beat Andrea Mitchell over the head with a study which also named FNC as being more negative towards Kerry than Bush than any other network. That study cuts in two directions but O’Reilly, for whatever reason (which I am not privy to), only highlighted the part critical of NBC.
Once again, neither side came out smelling like a rose. They should both just stop it. But given the recent heat, that ain’t happening any time soon. We’re nearing critical mass territory on this though…
UPDATE 2: After thinking it over I’ve decided that Mitchell didn’t tip off the Countdown crew to the contents of the interview. More likely someone was watching the interview and they then prepared a response. Unfortunately for them it had errors in it. So I removed that Mitchell guess from the blog entry.