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Michael Moore Could Learn From O'Reilly

by Steve Young

Talk Radio: The Lords Of Loud

In his Fox News bashing, Outfoxed, producer Robert Greenwald puts together a documentary which, in part, offers viewers an actual, unedited tape of Bill O'Reilly interviewing Jeremy Glick, whose father died in the 9/11 Twin Towers disaster. In the interview, O'Reilly berates Glick for his views, shouting him down, and ending the interview without giving Glick the customary "last word."

Although this is always a subjective thing, the tape was a pretty compelling piece of theater that showed O'Reilly at his worst -- or best, depending your side of the aisle. In the least, and different than a Michael Moore brand of edited POV, "OutFoxed" offered the facts in real time.

Pretty most, but the deft O'Reilly met the challenge with the ease of an elephant flicking away a pesky mosquito.

(Note: In the true spirit of not risking "spin," here is the entire February 4, 2003 O'Reilly interview with Glick. O'Reilly's remarks are shown -- naturally -- on the right)

O'REILLY: In the "Personal Stories" segment tonight, we were surprised to find out than an American who lost his father in the World Trade Center attack had signed an anti-war advertisement that accused the USA itself of terrorism. The offending passage read, "We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11... we too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage -- even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and a generation ago, Vietnam." With us now is Jeremy Glick, whose father, Barry, was a Port Authority worker at the Trade Center. Mr. Glick is a co-author of the book "Another World is Possible." I'm surprised you signed this. You were the only one of all of the families who signed...

JEREMY GLICK: Well, actually, that's not true.

Who signed the advertisement?

Peaceful Tomorrow, which represents 9/11 families, were also involved.

Hold it, hold it, hold it, Jeremy. You're the only one who signed this advertisement.

As an individual.

Yes, as -- with your name. You were the only one. I was surprised, and the reason I was surprised is that this ad equates the United States with the terrorists. And I was offended by that.

Well, you say -- I remember earlier you said it was a moral equivalency, and it's actually a material equivalency. And just to back up for a second about your surprise, I'm actually shocked that you're surprised. If you think about it, our current president, who I feel and many feel is in this position illegitimately by neglecting the voices of Afro- Americans in the Florida coup, which, actually, somebody got impeached for during the Reconstruction period -- Our current president now inherited a legacy from his father and inherited a political legacy that's responsible for training militarily, economically, and situating geopolitically the parties involved in the alleged assassination and the murder of my father and countless of thousands of others. So I don't see why it's surprising...

All right. Now let me stop you here. So...

... for you to think that I would come back and want to support...

It is surprising, and I'll tell you why. I'll tell you why it's surprising.

... escalating...

You are mouthing a far left position that is a marginal position in this society, which you're entitled to.

It's marginal -- right.

You're entitled to it, all right, but you're -- you see, even -- I'm sure your beliefs are sincere, but what upsets me is I don't think your father would be approving of this.

Well, actually, my father thought that Bush's presidency was illegitimate.

Maybe he did, but...

I also didn't think that Bush...

... I don't think he'd be equating this country as a terrorist nation as you are.

Well, I wasn't saying that it was necessarily like that.

Yes, you are. You signed...

What I'm saying is...

... this, and that absolutely said that.

... is that in -- six months before the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, starting in the Carter administration and continuing and escalating while Bush's father was head of the CIA, we recruited a hundred thousand radical mujahadeens to combat a democratic government in Afghanistan, the Turaki government.

All right. I don't want to...


I don't want to debate world politics with you.

Well, why not? This is about world politics.

Because, No. 1, I don't really care what you think.

Well, OK.

You're -- I want to...

But you do care because you...

No, no. Look...

The reason why you care is because you evoke 9/11...

Here's why I care.

... to rationalize...

Here's why I care...

Let me finish. You evoke 9/11 to rationalize everything from domestic plunder to imperialistic aggression worldwide.

OK. That's a bunch...

You evoke sympathy with the 9/11 families.

That's a bunch of crap. I've done more for the 9/11 families by their own admission -- I've done more for them than you will ever hope to do.


So you keep your mouth shut when you sit here exploiting those people.

Well, you're not representing me. You're not representing me.

And I'd never represent you. You know why?


Because you have a warped view of this world and a warped view of this country.

Well, explain that. Let me give you an example of a parallel...

No, I'm not going to debate this with you, all right.

Well, let me give you an example of parallel experience. On September 14...

No, no. Here's -- here's the...

On September 14...

Here's the record.


All right. You didn't support the action against Afghanistan to remove the Taliban. You were against it, OK.

Why would I want to brutalize and further punish the people in Afghanistan...

Who killed your father!

The people in Afghanistan...

Who killed your father.

... didn't kill my father.

Sure they did. The al Qaeda people were trained there.

The al Qaeda people? What about the Afghan people?

See, I'm more angry about it than you are!

So what about George Bush?

What about George Bush? He had nothing to do with it.

The director -- senior as director of the CIA.

He had nothing to do with it.

So the people that trained a hundred thousand Mujahadeen who were...

Man, I hope your mom isn't watching this.

Well, I hope she is.

I hope your mother is not watching this because you -- that's it. I'm not going to say anymore.


In respect for your father...

On September 14, do you want to know what I'm doing?

Shut up. Shut up.

Oh, please don't tell me to shut up.

As respect -- as respect -- in respect for your father, who was a Port Authority worker, a fine American, who got killed unnecessarily by barbarians...

By radical extremists who were trained by this government...

Out of respect for him...

... not the people of America.

... I'm not going to...

... The people of the ruling class, the small minority.

Cut his mic. I'm not going to dress you down anymore, out of respect for your father. We will be back in a moment with more of THE FACTOR.

That means we're done?

We're done.

Well done, Mr. O'Reilly. Well done.

But I digress.

On Sept. 18, on "The Factor" O'Reilly said Glick "accused President Bush of knowing about 9/11 before it happened."

Once again, merely brilliant. Even after a Nexis search, I couldn't find that Glick said anything like what O'Reilly said he did. Still, the "looking out for you" guy wouldn't let that little bit of missing minutia keep him from, um, looking out for you. Bill was just getting started.

On his show the next day, Bill quoted Glick somewhat differently, but even better, quoting

Glick as saying "President Bush and Bush the elder were directly responsible for 9/11."

Of course, while Glick claimed George W "inherited a legacy" that is responsible for the terrorist attacks, he never said that he was "directly responsible" for them.

During an interview last October with Terry Gross of National Public Radio's "Fresh Air," in which O'Reilly threw himself out prematurely, Bill claimed that Glick "proceeded to blame President Bush and his father, Bush the elder, for orchestrating the 9/11 attack on their own country."

Um. Again, I searched for the "orchestrated" or any other intent of the word. I'm guessing Bill had a better thesaurus than I.

Finally, immediately after "OutFoxed" debuted, here is what O'Reilly said on "The Factor."

"(Jeremy) Glick said President Bush and his father were responsible for his father's death. He said George W. Bush pulled off a coup to get elected. He implied the USA itself was a terrorist nation. And he called his father's death at the hands of an al Qaeda "alleged assassination." He said America itself was responsible for the 9/11 attack because it is an imperialistic, aggressive nation. Glick was dismissed from THE FACTOR because he was completely off the wall."

So it is that the Prince of Fox News pretty much dismissed the actual quotes, not by selected usage as a Michael Moore might, but by inventing a new and more convenient recollection. And it isn't necessary to have had been said for Bill to say it was said.

You give Bill O'Reilly black and he calls it white. Fox hands out his transcripts and Bill modifies them retroactively. Does that make him a liar or a creative revisionist? Does it matter? Not to Bill. He'll just change it to say what makes him look best.

So how does the nospinmeister get away with it?

"He is rarely held to the standards of other journalists," Outfoxed's Greenwald told me in an interview. "But this is changing. See Peter Hart's book, 'O'Reilly, Really,' or David Brock's website, and now Outfoxed. He is basically a bully but he will be soon be forced to be more responsible."

That all said, Mr Greenwald can now sit back, relax and wait for The Factor to come to find out from Bill what he actually said. Afterall, as we all know, it's not what you said as much as it is what Bill says you said.

And you thought Michael Moore was good.

The author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Success," Steve Young writes about talk radio for the Albion Monitor and has been appeared on The Factor more than once

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Albion Monitor July 30, 2004 (

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