Florida Pilot

A compendium of random thoughts from a former Washington Beltway insider who is now having a lot more fun flying small airplanes in Central Florida.

Monday, November 29, 2004

O'Reilly in the twilight zone

Media bad-boy Bill O'Reilly was most recently in the news for a multi-million dollar payoff to a woman who claimed he repeatedly pressed her for phone sex.

Now, O'Reilly moves straight to the twilight zone of reality when he concludes that Dan Rather was smeared relative to his use of forged documents in an attempt to attach George Bush.

O'Reilly's column starts out by noting that Kitty Kelley's attack on Bush, relying primarily on anonymous sources, was featured prominently by the media. So far, so good.

Then, O'Reilly turnes to the Swift Boat Veterans for truth. He points out that "some of the Vietnam vets had valid points" but then states that "more than a few of the accusations against Kerry were simply untrue". and concludes that "[i]t didn't matter though - his war record became a negative." In this case, partly true but the claim that any significant number of the allegations were "simply untrue" is an ongoing fiction created by the liberal media.

O'Reilly then turns to Dan Rather "Right-wing talk radio in particular ... bludgeoned Dan Rather for his role in another smear incident - the charges against President Bush about his National Guard service. Again, Rather was found guilty without a fair hearing. Charges that he intentionally approved bogus documents that made Bush look bad were leveled and widely believed. It was chilling."

These three items are somehow linked in O'Reilly's view of the world. The reality is quite different. As almost everyone else have figured out, the mainstream media were over-the-top in this election cycle to support John Kerry. If that meant publicizing Kitty Kelley's latest output of trash, that was fine. It also included ignoring the Swift Vets as much as possible. Mainstream media coverage of the Swiftees was completely negative and, in many cases, based on attack stories planted by Kerry partisans. The stories of the Swift Vets only gained credibility because they were believable and because Kerry had no adequate response. As far as Rather is concerned, he did himself in by not only attempting to pass off obviously forged documents as real but attempting to cover up the actual facts of the story and attacking his critics.

While the pajama bloggers discovered Rather's documents were bogus within hours, it took Rather over a week and a half to admit that there was anything untoward and, even then, all he would concede was that the documents had not been adequately authenticated before being used in the story. This about documents that had already been proved to be obviously forged to anyone with even marginal eyesight. Rather has never withdrawn his claim that the underlying allegations against Bush are true, regardless of the use of forged documents to make the case and the absence of any credible evidence whatsoever to support it.

And far from smearing Rather, his competitors, Brokaw and Jennings in particular, made statement supporting him showing a continuation of solid liberal bias by the major networks.

With Rather, it gets back to that he either knew the documents were bogus or he should have known it. If he was so unperceptive that he was not aware of his producer's bias, he is a total idiot. But the facts suggest that Rather was aware of the explosive potential of the story and cleared it with his boss (another anti-Bush liberal) before broadcasting it. This is the sign of someone who knows exactly what is going on and is simply covering his a**.

But O'Reilly shouldn't feel sorry for Dan Rather being caught and perhaps lightly punished for using bogus documents in a story and then covering it up. After all, even if Dan is sent packing tomorrow, he will have made a very substantial sum of money and will certainly want for nothing. In fact, I'm sure he would be a shoe-in for a big position in a Kerry administration if, God forbid, Kerry runs in 2008 and wins. Instead, he should look into the case of Steve Gardner who was subject to harassment because he spoke out again John Kerry. And Gardner spoke out based on his personal experiences and his convictions and not, as Rather did, as an attempt to "get" someone he just didn't personally like.

Shame on you, Bill O'Reilly.


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