by Steve Young
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 damning...to 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)
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, mediamatters.org 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.
July 30, 2004 (http://www.albionmonitor.net) All Rights Reserved. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to use in any format.
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