Archive for the FNC Category

Why Bill O’Reilly’s “Scandal” Doesn’t Interest Me Like Brian Williams’ Did…

Posted in FNC on March 2, 2015 by icn2

I don’t remember exactly how many blog posts I put up regarding Brian Williams’ scandal. Was it ten? Fifteen? More? I don’t remember how many times I’ve written about O’Reilly but it was an order of magnitude less. There are reasons for that…

First, lets get the obvious out of the way. This is a scandal for Bill O’Reilly. It’s not a scandal that’s going to cause him to get fired. It never could be. Anybody, regardless of political affiliation, who knows anything about his show knows what they’re going to get. Whatever that may be, and it’s going to be different depending on your POV, most would agree it’s not a detached recounting of the news of the day. You tune in to O’Reilly to hear his opinions. You tune in to Brian Williams to hear the news. The bar for career ending scandal therefore is significantly higher for O’Reilly than it was for Williams. Put another way, the small number of anecdotes that have come out regarding O’Reilly would have probably sunk Williams if they had been about him.

But it’s still a scandal for O’Reilly because, opinion host or not, it goes straight to his character…but not just the details of the scandal itself but how O’Reilly has addressed the charges.

I gave him a pass on the original Falklands story. It was only one incident after all. The fact that one of his accusers had penned an anti-FNC rant on his Facebook page undermined his argument in terms of raising questions about his motivation.

But when we got to the nun shooting story, O’Reilly lost me. He lost me because of his explanation. Saying that he was referring to pictures of nuns being shot is just too big a dodge to accept at face value. If that was indeed the case O’Reilly should have said, “I was referring to pictures and I should have included that detail and that error was mine.” He did nothing of the kind. Instead his explanation did two things. First, it turned O’Reilly’s explanation from one of explaining what he meant to putting the onus on the reader/viewer to figure out what O’Reilly meant without knowing what the parameters were. That kind of defense is not one that can be sustained because it invites another round of questions. Second, it turned the story from questions regarding O’Reilly’s original reporting to questions regarding O’Reilly’s preposterous response to said questions regarding his reporting.

Then came the JFK book anecdote and all the supporting evidence which makes it extremely difficult to conclude anything other than O’Reilly’s story can’t stand up.

Now it’s no longer just an isolated Falklands incident. The Falklands, dead nuns, O’Reilly saying he was somewhere at a specific point in time when the evidence strongly contradicts it…this is a pattern. You can’t ignore a pattern. You have to pay attention.

So, I believe that the evidence paints a picture of a less than accurate O’Reilly. In my mind, he got caught. That some of the charges came from people and organizations with more than a passing interest in seeing O’Reilly in trouble is noteworthy but only to a point. That point is when O’Reilly can’t credibly shoot down the charges. We have reached that point, if not with the nun story than certainly with the Mohrenschildt suicide story.

For inexplicable reasons, some have painted this as a case of “one of theirs got it so now they go after one of ours”. That’s just plain laughable. First of all, the Right never went after Williams…the MSM did. So how “they go after one of ours” because “we got one of theirs” when “we” never “got one of theirs”…”they” did? Second, those who have been digging up stuff on O’Reilly, specifically Media Matters, doesn’t view Williams as “one of theirs”…certainly not anywhere close to the way the Right is associating O’Reilly as “one of ours”. Though even that argument that O’Reilly is considered “one of ours” by the Right doesn’t exactly square with reality either. I know a lot of Conservatives who don’t think O’Reilly is one of theirs. Either way the idea that this is a tit for tat revenge thing is just not in the realm of the believable.

But, even though I think they got O’Reilly dead to rights here, I have to ask the obvious question: What did you expect?

O’Reilly is an opinion host. Cable news opinion hosts regularly distort facts, cherry pick arguments, ignore inconvenient truths, deflect/mitigate blame, and on and on. Why is this news to anyone? It’s not to me.

So that’s why O’Reilly’s scandal doesn’t interest me…because it falls into a category which is part and parcel of the opinion host. I discount it precisely because it is O’Reilly. Now, if the scandal fell outside of the opinion realm…if it was a case of O’Reilly embezzling FNC funds or getting caught doing drugs…that would be a different matter because those are not things we associate with opinion hosts.

But this isn’t anything like that. It’s an opinion host playing fast and loose with the truth. I really could care less.

Irascable Teflon…

Posted in FNC on February 24, 2015 by icn2

Politico’s Dylan Byers does a pretty good job explaining why the Falklands story hasn’t stuck very well to Bill O’Reilly…

Had O’Reilly falsely claimed to have been on the Falkland Islands when he wasn’t, the Fox News host might be in serious trouble. But he never really said that. He has said that he was “in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands,” which can reasonably be defended as short-hand for “in the Falklands War” — especially because O’Reilly has oft described his experiences there as taking place in Buenos Aires. “I was not on the Falkland Islands and I never said I was,” O’Reilly told the On Media blog last week. That hasn’t really been disputed since.

Instead, the debate has shifted to whether or not O’Reilly was actually in “a war zone” or a “combat situation,” as he has repeatedly claimed. Well, no, he wasn’t. He was present at a violent protest — or “a riot,” or “a demonstration” — that took place immediately after the conclusion of the war. This is a major embellishment, defensible only under the most forgiving parameters of what constitutes wartime activity. Whatever the case, an embellishment is not going to lead Roger Ailes to fire his most valuable personnel asset. (The network has said that “Fox News Chairman and C.E.O. Roger Ailes and all senior management are in full support of Bill O’Reilly.”)

This was never Brian Williams Part 2. Whatever happened in Argentina with O’Reilly, it doesn’t equate to what has been documented about Williams. And that’s the fundamental problem here because O’Reilly’s antagonists were playing long ball swinging for the fences…and not making it out of the park…the equivalent of a pop-up flyball. There are legitimate questions that could be raised about what O’Reilly claimed…and his response to the charges…but they don’t appear to amount to out and out falsehoods. So by claiming them as such, O’Reilly was able to credibly defend himself to those charges…while at the same time being able to dodge any legitimate questions on the theory that the well had been poisoned. It’s a classic tactic. If you can discredit your opponent legitimately, you can then parry the discussion to your opponents credibility. Then everyone starts talking about that and not whatever legitimate questions still remain because the oxygen gets sucked up.

More O’Reilly…

Posted in FNC on February 19, 2015 by icn2

More O’Reilly

“[Corn] is going to fail, because he’s lying, and I can prove it,” O’Reilly told Deadline. “But that does not mean he’s not going to try … and some will believe him.”

Great Bill. When do you start…trying to “prove it”? So far all I’ve seen is you do is huff and puff, thump your chest, use terminology one would associate with a pending lawsuit (not gonna happen), blame MSNBC for something it had no part of, and generally make a big big stink. When will you start refuting Corn’s piece…allegation by allegation? That’s the only way you’ll make this go away…if you are indeed right.

Bill O’Reilly’s “War Record”…

Posted in FNC on February 19, 2015 by icn2

Politico’s Dylan Byers has Bill O’Reilly pushing back hard on a David Corn and Daniel Schulman report questioning some of O’Reilly’s accounts of his activities covering certain conflict zones…

Bill O’Reilly says a new Mother Jones report alleging that the Fox News host made false claims about his Falklands War experience is “a piece of garbage” and that its principal author, David Corn, is “a liar.”

In a telephone interview with the On Media blog, O’Reilly called Corn a “despicable guttersnipe” who has been trying to take him down “for years.”

“It’s a hit piece,” O’Reilly said. “Everything I said about what I reported in South and Central America is true. Everything.”

The report, published late Thursday, alleges that O’Reilly repeatedly misled viewers by claiming to have been in a war zone during the conflict between England and Argentina in 1982. In his book, in public appearances and on his television program, O’Reilly has claimed to have been “in an active war zone” in the Falklands, despite the fact that no American correspondents are believed to have reached the combat zones on the islands.

In the interview, O’Reilly said that he never claimed to have been on the Falkland Islands.

“I was not on the Falkland Islands and I never said I was. I was in Buenos Aires… In Buenos Aires we were in a combat situation after the Argentines surrendered.”

O’Reilly is going to have to do better than that. The Mother Jones article has quotes from O’Reilly that…while not explicitly stating he was “on the ground” do paint a picture of one a lot closer to the action than he apparently really was.

“It was clear that I did not say I was in the Falkland Islands. I’ve done myriad interviews over the years and I never said that,” O’Reilly told On Media.

Not good enough. That borders on a straw man argument. Certainly a Clintonian way of parsing things. Having watched O’Reilly over the years, I don’t get a sense from those quotes that he was being deliberately misleading…more like he just wasn’t being as accurate as he should have been.

FNC PR Responds to Lohan Suit…

Posted in FNC on February 3, 2015 by icn2

TV Newser’s Brian Flood has FNC’s response to the Lohan lawsuit…

We will defend this case to the fullest. The remark about which Lindsay and Dina Lohan complain was made on live television by a guest nearly a year ago. We removed the segment from our archives altogether last February and also apologized on-air. At that time, the Lohans did not make any demands for money, and we are surprised they are doing so now.

This is pretty much what I figured had happened and why I don’t think Lohan’s suit has any chance of success…

Lindsay Lohan Sues FNC/Hannity…

Posted in FNC on February 2, 2015 by icn2

TVNewser’s Brian Flood writes about the lawsuit filed by Lindsay Lohan and her mother against FNC and Sean Hannity…

Lohan and her mother, Dina, have sued FNC and host Sean Hannity, saying they were smeared last February when correspondent Michelle Fields claimed the mother/daughter duo do cocaine together. Lohan initially demanded an on-air apology and Fox News obliged.

I’ll leave it to the legal pundits out there to weigh in on the merits of the suit. I will predict it goes nowhere though…

Welcome Back Gregg Jarrett

Posted in FNC on February 2, 2015 by icn2

Gregg Jarrett returned to FNC’s anchor chair today after considerable time off to deal with personal matters.

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