Accuracy in Media

Bill O’Reilly objects to “bloviating,” which I think means giving opinions not based on fact. So what should we make of his claim that “I believe there is overwhelming evidence that the Syrian tyrant Assad did gas civilians, including children.” Where is the “overwhelming evidence?”

One day earlier, O’Reilly had claimed, “The evidence is strong that Assad violated the Geneva Convention by using poison gas to kill civilians.”

So in the course of one day the evidence had gone from “strong” to “overwhelming.” On what basis did this occur? O’Reilly doesn’t say.

I submit that O’Reilly is engaged in bloviating.

O’Reilly, who is about to begin celebrating his 18th year on the air as the host of the most popular Fox News program, is doing tremendous damage to the notion that he can be relied upon for “fair and balanced” coverage of the major issues of the day.

This is far more serious than an error O’Reilly made when he came under fire for falsely claiming that no Republicans were invited to the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington. “The mistake? Entirely on me,” O’Reilly said.

In the case of going to war, a far more serious matter than talking about invitations to a civil rights event, O’Reilly makes claims that parrot Obama’s talking points, but he offers no evidence to substantiate them.

On this issue, O’Reilly should rename his “Talking Points Memo” the “Obama Talking Points Memo.” He is one of the best allies that Obama has going for him as he attempts to persuade conservatives in the House to vote for war.

Let us recall that the Obama Administration, in its 4-page document that is the basis for war in Syria, claims to have “high confidence” that chemicals were used. It says the evidence “indicates” chemicals were used.

O’Reilly goes further than that, calling it “overwhelming.”

Beyond these unsubstantiated claims, there are suggestions of an intercepted communication which somehow proves that the Assad regime carried out the attack. But investigative journalist Kenneth Timmerman reports in The Daily Caller that “the original communication” shows “just the opposite” of what is being claimed—that the regime was surprised by the attack and acted to make sure its troops did not use the weapons. Not only has the Obama Administration “selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria,” but the report pointing to the Assad regime as being the source of the chemical attack has been “doctored,” said Timmerman.

Although The Daily Caller is a conservative publication and Timmerman is a conservative journalist, liberal Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, brought this report to the attention of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel during the House hearing on the war resolution.

“There’s been a report in the media that the administration has mischaracterized post-attack Syrian military communications and that these communications actually express surprise about the attack,” Grayson said. “This is a very serious charge. Can you please release the original transcripts so that the American people can make their own judgment about that important issue?”

Hagel said the transcripts were “probably classified” and couldn’t be released.

Asked about these transcripts, Grayson told the left-wing Democracy Now! radio and TV show: “…in fact, as far as I can tell, not a single member of Congress has actually seen the underlying document. What’s been provided to us so far is a 4-page unclassified document and, if we bother to go down to the bowels of the congressional facility here, a 12-page classified document. But that classified document cites 300 underlying intelligence reports, none of which have been released to any member of Congress, despite the fact that we all have classified clearance…”

However, Bill O’Reilly insists that “…we now have many conservative people willing to give Assad a pass because they don’t trust President Obama.”

But even members of Obama’s liberal base have their doubts.

O’Reilly’s comments are a classic case of bloviating that borders on deliberate misinformation. Conservatives are not willing to give Assad a pass; they are simply demanding to see the evidence before giving Obama the authority to go to war.

To use another example, the same 4-page document for war is quite specific on the number of people who died from the chemical attack—1,429. “Over 1,400 people were gassed,” Obama said at his Friday news conference. But where did this number come from?

Once again, my adversaries at the Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) group have stepped up to the plate, noting that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organization that monitors war casualties, said it has confirmed 502 deaths. Quoting from an Associated Press account, Peter Hart of FAIR reports that Rami Abdel-Rahman, the head of the organization, said he was not contacted by U.S. officials about his efforts to collect information about the death toll and that the U.S. figure could be “propaganda.”

It is clear in this case that FAIR represents the opinions of liberals who are not prepared to roll over for Obama and do what the White House dictates.

The media are also starting to wake up. McClatchy news service points out that death tolls released by Britain (more than 350) and France (281) were far lower than that offered by Obama.

On Saturday, in Washington, D.C. outside the White House, various Christian organizations are protesting Obama’s proposed war on Syria in part because they don’t think the evidence is conclusive. “While the loss of life due to the recent use of chemical weapons in Syria is mourned, there are conflicting reports as to whether rebel groups or the Assad regime used them,” they point out.

The coalition of groups behind the rally includes the Coptic Solidarity International, the World Maronite Union, and the Middle East Christian Committee, as well as several Middle East Christian organizations. They “unequivocally oppose a U.S. military intervention in Syria without a strategy to crumble the regime and defeat the Jihadists at the same time.”

One purpose of Obama’s proposed military intervention is to deter chemical attacks. Of course, it will take much more than missile strikes to actually locate and remove those chemical weapons. A British paper, The Daily Mail, reports that a secret Pentagon report says 75,000 troops are needed to secure them.  

During the Senate hearings on going to war, Secretary of State John Kerry did not rule out troops in Syria for that purpose, although he said he was just “thinking out loud.”

O’Reilly seems to be thinking out loud as well, without regard to the facts of the case. For some reason, perhaps to curry favor with the Obama White House and demonstrate his independence from conservatives, he has abandoned critical thinking about this war policy.

Although “The O’Reilly Factor” has been the highest-rated cable news show on television, his bloviating on the road to war in Syria can only further undermine his credibility. Those who want “fair and balanced,” and accurate information, should turn elsewhere.

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  • OldmanRick

    I watched that night when Billy O shilled, bloviated, and pontificated for the brat. It appears that Billy who has never been in the sh** feels we should back Obama just for the fact that he is allegedly the president. I don’t believe it for a moment. If someone said Valarie Jarrett was the real power behind the throne, I would agree since she seem to give the brat, Holder, and Scary Kerry their marching orders.

  • speakez6

    Oreilly is just a step below Obama in the narcissism scale. Oreilly always has been about Oreilly and his ratings. His ratings are dropping…he’s lost conservatives and is looking to the “middle” for a boost. He sounds like a Democrat boot licker. I hope his ratings crash to the floor, arrogant prick. Quite dumb too.

  • Helen

    For and against, for and against, depends which day it is that Oreilly decides which position to take on anything Obama.. Bill, it is time to retire. You are becoming irrelevant!

  • RevIdahoSpud3

    The first two comments, Speakez6 and OldmanRick say it all. End of story.

  • az

    Old news, Oreilly came out along time ago, socialist.

  • amyshulk

    I gave up on BOR long ago – every once in a while, he catches on, but mostly he just self promotes.

  • semus

    I would never accuse O’Reilly of critical thinking.

  • freeinaz

    I am still not convinced some of these rebel groups were able to obtain gas from the regime stockpiles in areas they have overrun and deployed it in an effort to gain favor of the international community to help them take the dictator down. Either way I do not think the U.S. should be the lone country to do something about it. This should be turned over to the useless UN for them to act.

  • freeinaz

    I’m with you, I think Valerie Jarrett is the real power behind the throne and Obama won’t do anything until he consults with her.

  • semus

    Should we be surprised at this? Bloviating is a common occurrence for him admittedly with an occasional good point. I have a hard time watching him for any length of time and generally avoid him all together. I really can’t understand the following he has.

  • 0jr

    He (msm) is controlled by the zionists like the republicrats

  • Gene

    No surprise. Bill O’Reilly is a Catholic and all his fellow Catholics and Zionists in Washington are doing what they can get away with because we kept these old timers in office who know who runs things and they would rather go along with the system than fight it. and like McCane , they want to enjoy the fruits of their treachery, they think.
    Our military is the “sic dog” of the global elitists and when they are done with them will turn them on us or make our military a part of the NATO or One World Army
    And unless our leaders rebelled, this controlling government may make our military stand down , lock their weapons up or seize their ammo to make them unable to resist whatever agenda the Globell-
    ist have in mind.

  • IrishColleen

    I bet if this was a republican president every single one of you would be behind going to war in flash. You always have.
    Bill O is guilty of one thing and one thing only. He is smart enough to know the truth.
    There is NO WAY that the rebels got into those stockpiles…smarten up!!!!!!
    Put your political garbage aside and use your heads. ASSAUD IS GUILTY AND YOU KNOW IT!
    This is being written by a Tea Party Patriot..all the way down the line. I however do think..try may like it.
    Therefore..what Bill O said is most likely the TRUTH.
    The problem here is..we do not trust Obama…AT ALL.
    Therefore we can not have him conducting any war!
    Bill O however is right. Try ‘thinking’ everyone instead of hating so much that you are blind…use your heads!

  • Gringo_Cracker

    ‘Zactly. Which nicely explains the flip-flop on retaliating against Syria.

  • IrishColleen

    BIGOT…have any others you want to spew your hate on? You should be ashamed and thrown off this site!

  • IrishColleen

    That’s a lie.

  • IrishColleen

    Do you really think those stockpiles are not secured like they were gold?
    Think again!

  • Gene

    G.W. bush and O ‘Bama are both “Sissy Man” Presidents . Proof our leaders are chosen for us.
    G .W .Bush got his war in the first term to make sure it got going and they accomplished their goals with him. and they made sure he got a second terrm to not look like a failure. O ‘Bama , a The first Black and most worthless President ever who got the President’s office given to him and accomplished almost nothing with Congress gets his war in the second term for a Republican to get elected in 2016 and carry out the agenda thereby no one party being able to be called war- mongers.
    We ought to be able to see now that all thes eleaders and events are deliberately planned.
    Isn’t it funny that 9/11 , the emergency call number for police and fire aid is the same as 9-11, the tile given to the date of the World trade center bombings.
    And conveniently September is two days away when the most worthless President we’ve ever had is going to get a congressional vote to support his war, and if they don’t follow through on whatever method these One Worlders have planned because they are attempting to bully the world to support them or to keep their mouths shut.
    Some one has said: “The United States is Israel’s bitch” and they know.

  • Gringo_Cracker

    Before the winds of public opinion began blowing in the other direction, Bill. O. Reilly agreed there was overwhelming evidence Saddam Hussein had WND and thus supported our Iraq adventure. Before 9/11, he was 100% onboard with gun-control. He was a huge cheerleader for Anthropogenic Global Warming until the East Anglia email revelations, but nowadays only pimps this hoax when ranting against the despicable evil greedy oil companies. All too often, he bends so far backward to avoid spin, his head winds-up where sunshine doesn’t reach.

  • Oathkeeper

    In the early years O’Reilly’s popularity was attributable to the fact that he gave voice to millions of Americans who recognized and were fed up with the constant drumbeat of the leftist spin being pumped out through the MSM and Hollywood. However, as O’Reilly frequently notes, he is not a conservative. By giving voice to conservative views, he attracts conservative viewers, but then he promotes collectivists “solutions”. For example, he often calls for national legislation (such as with gun control) when passions are high.

    I’ve stopped watching him.

  • Gene

    If these worthless, trouble making , rabble rousing , good for nothing unemployed CIA gun loving, murderous thugs who have nothing more worthwhile to do is to go from Middle East country to Middle East country for an AK-47 all the ammo they want or an RPG or the fun of killing all the innocent people you can get away with peppering everything with a machine gun because the American government supports you , than it shows the stupid rebels used the gas because they are too dumb and disorganized to make it , handle it and use it properly.
    And Assad has no reason to use it on his people when they know the United States is the cause of ALL the TROUBLE in the Middle East.
    WE can now see that our government has been infiltrated by traitorious One World, resource stealing, and money greedy and gold hungry thugs going back hundreds and thousands to even the beginning of recorded time.

  • 12wlw12

    IrishColleen: IF you are a member of the TEA Party, I sincerely hope there aren’t many members like you… frankly I doubt you are.
    First, you attack the GOP as a whole. Then you declare Assad guilty with no substantiation what so ever. Then you insinuate TEA Party members don’t have the ability to think (but you do!). Then you accuse those disagreeing with you of “hating”….. typical Leftist rhetoric! Actually, more like tactics used by islamist brainwashing.
    BTW… Assad has two pluses in my book: One; to my knowledge, he is against Sharia Law… and second, although he is under siege, he sent his troops to protect that CHRISTIAN town which was under attack by Al Qaeda, AKA: the muslim Brotherhood…..WHY ISN’T ANY ONE TALKING ABOUT THAT?! It was reported as just a tiny blip on the news!….wonder why!

  • 12wlw12

    GENE seems to be able to “think” somewhat more than you… I don’t agree completely with the Catholic/Zionist bit but he’s dead on about the rest of his statement!
    And you IRISHCOLLEEN, have resorted to name calling.
    “When discussion ends, the looser resorts to insults” is such a true axiom!

  • 12wlw12

    And Jarrett doesn’t tell them what to do until she gets her marching instructions from her ‘behind the scenes’ boss’.

  • 12wlw12

    COLLEEN, unless you have something worthwhile to say, why don’t you go hang your head over the pot and try to upchuck some of that bile in your soul!

  • boysenberry

    0’Reilly still hoping for an invite to the White House.
    But I think he lost a lot of viewers with the Syria show.
    That was it for us.
    I am really sick of FOX news and other local channels showing tapes of the people dying from gas. What propaganda for 0bama! Disgusting! Why don’t they show our soldiers being blown to bits, losing their limbs.

  • boysenberry

    Funny, that the people wanting to promote socialism for the masses, the peasants, are all very well to do.
    As long as they have theirs………….

  • pawndad

    Absolutely he want’s an interview with Obama and by sucking up he believes he’ll get it.Remember the Swift boat episode by believing it he’d lose an interview with Pres.Kerry if Kerry won .Oreilly has no scruples his only interest is ratings.

  • beaujest

    They have the goods on O’Reilly and his womanizing with Laurie Dhue and others ! So the Commies own him !

  • Richard Hellstrom

    It has previously been reported that members of the al-Nusra front were caught with sarin nerve gas in Turkey – and this has been echoed by Syrian state media. Dale Gavlak, an independent journalist, has reported a belief that nerve agents used in Ghouta were supplied by Saudi Arabia.
    Syria possessed 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil as of January 2013, which makes it the largest proved reserve of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean
    according to the Oil & Gas Journal estimate, Besides Iraq.Syria still controls one of the largest conventional hydrocarbon resources in the eastern
    So what was this unfolding strategy to undermine Syria and Iran all about?
    According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to “attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years”, starting with Iraq and moving on to “Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.” In a subsequent interview, Clark argues that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.

  • karl_lembke

    Bill O’Reilly calls his show the “no spin zone”. Years ago I recognized it was the “no one else’s spin zone” and quit watching. I see I haven’t missed much.

  • 12wlw12

    We still (so far) have the right to our opinions and I respect yours… therefore, no offense intended, but….
    We have been, and are still being misled into believing Syria is the ONLY country with WMDs. Saddam used experts from Iran, Russia and China in building his stockpile…(that was reported by many news agency).. To become ‘expert’ at any endeavor, one must have prior knowledge of it… which proves those countries have WMDs. Turkey also has them. The point being, any one of them could have given them to Al Qaeda and the Brotherhood.
    It seems very few are asking what happens after obuma bombs Syria. WMDs have nothing to do with this Civil War but… it WILL put the most feared and hated groups in control of that country and a ‘few’ of the world’s WMDs.
    As for the “protect the children” drumbeat for interfering in Syria, go to Canada Free Press and read the comparison of the Clinton Waco siege and what is happening in Syria today.

  • wyatt81

    “For some reason, perhaps to curry favor with the Obama White House and demonstrate his independence from conservatives, he has abandoned critical thinking about this war policy.” Yes-and he does this with other topics as well. That, plus his over sized ego, has made him just another media talking head with his own agenda.

  • freeinaz

    I can understand your take on this too. The problem is this inept administration has no clue what they are doing or how to do it. My biggest fear is some of these WMD’s find their way into this country from the unsecured border and used against Americans. We are really at a very dangerous point in history.

  • 12wlw12

    Seems many have discovered O’Reilly pandered to the conservatives on the minor subjects but when it came to something the leftist wanted pushed, he always got behind their wagon and pushed it!

  • Tasha

    You spelt skeptical wrong. I’m very skeptical that this is a good source…

  • ImpeachObama

    I’d call O( BS) Reilly a Turd, but I’m not that charitable . He’s the South-bound part of a Jackadze Heading North and the only thing he’s good for, is cleaning your pipe. .

  • ImpeachObama

    Hey Billie, ( as your unfunny pal calls you ) hurry up , I see two of your Female Workers by the Water Cooler. Maybe they will be the two that will join you in a Threesome but you’re so old now, all you can do is watch.