We talked yesterday about Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who told his audience on Wednesday night that NBC News hasn’t reported “anything” on the drones story. It was, of course, a deeply odd claim – NBC broke the drones story, which was then amplified right here on msnbc.
We learned yesterday afternoon that O’Reilly intended to “address” his error, which I hoped meant he’d issue a correction. He didn’t.
At the very end of his broadcast, O’Reilly complained about “more deceit from the far-left.” It went downhill from there:
“I put forth that over at NBC News and other media places, they were hysterical over water-boarding but muted over President Obama’s drone attacks, at least until yesterday.
“Immediately, the far-left machine cranked up, ‘O’Reilly didn’t say that NBC News broke the drone memo story. He’s a deceiver.’ True, I didn’t say NBC broke the memo story because we weren’t talking about that. Water-boarding versus drone strikes. Well, once again, we have a propaganda campaign designed to make ignorant people on the left, even more ignorant.
“Factor Tip of the Day: don’t deal with loons. I have to. You shouldn’t have to. And that is it for us tonight.”
Look, I don’t want to belabor the point. How O’Reilly chooses to correct his own errors is between him, his employer, and his audience.
But there’s no ambiguity here or room for interpretation. O’Reilly spent several minutes complaining – on the air, live and on camera – insisting that NBC News didn’t report “anything about the drones.” He and his staff, he said, “haven’t heard anything over there about” the drones story. O’Reilly added that journalists at NBC News “don’t care about drones,” and he concluded that all of this is part of a larger scheme to “protect” President Obama.
Reality shows otherwise. It’s not a matter of opinion or spin or subjectivity. Pointing out basic, demonstrable facts is not evidence of a “propaganda campaign designed to make ignorant people … more ignorant”; it’s the opposite.