O’Reilly keeps pouring it on: Last night, Bill O’Reilly just kept pouring it on. With the apparent help of Jon Stewart!
On a typical evening, roughly 5 million people watch one of O’Reilly’s three broadcasts on Fox. (His program airs at 8 PM, 11 PM and 4 AM Eastern.)
Last night, in O’Reilly’s opening monologue, those five million people saw Jon Stewart used to advance a bogus claim about the IRS. O’Reilly just kept pouring it on, helped along by edited tape of Stewart!
Here’s how this gong-show came down:
On Monday evening’s Daily Show, Stewart opened with a segment about the IRS. In the course of the segment, he played some tape of O’Reilly from last Thursday’s O’Reilly Factor.
During the excerpt which Stewart aired, O’Reilly made a bogus factual claim two separate times. Stewart let the misstatement go, although he mocked O’Reilly on another basis.
Last night, O’Reilly played a tightly edited version of the tape from Stewart’s program. Here’s what O’Reilly’s viewers saw at the start of last night’s show:
O’REILLY (6/4/13): Many honest liberal people, liberal people clearly see the danger of having a powerful government agency treating Americans unfairly based upon political beliefs. That's what fascist and communist governments do.In that way, O’Reilly got to restate the claim that Shulman visited the White House 157 times, with Stewart seeming to lend support to this factual statement. In the process, O’Reilly even got to described himself as “a fact guy!”
My pal Jon Stewart said this last night:
(Begin videotape from Monday’s Daily Show)
STEWART: Oh no. Poor babies, the IRS, facing scrutiny! People getting all up in their business!
O'REILLY (earlier videotape): There is disturbing information. This man, former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, visited the White House, ready? 157 times! What the heck was Mr. Shulman doing at the White House with that kind of frequency?
STEWART: Whoa, whoa, clear the ladies from the room. IRS, your tomfoolery almost made Bill O'Reilly say “H-E-double toothpick.”
O'REILLY (earlier videotape): You must explain under oath what you were doing at the White House on 157 separate occasions.
STEWART: Yes that is a lot, Shulman. Especially since having the president tell you to use the power of the IRS to destroy his political enemies on the right should really only take about one meeting, two tops.
(End videotape from the Daily Show)
O'REILLY: You know, as a satire guy, Stewart can say that. As a fact guy, I can't.
What I can say is that the White House still has not told the nation what the hell—there you go, Stewart—Douglas Shulman was doing in the White House all those times.
Did Shulman visit the White House 157 times? Did he visit the White House with anything like that frequency?
Almost surely, he did not, as became clear last Friday morning. But O’Reilly has persisted with this unfounded claim, disinforming millions of voters in the process.
This creates an obvious question: When is the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler going to fact-check O’Reilly? Second question: When will Politifact tackle this prime assignment?
Based on past history, never! In January, we noted that these famous fact-checking sites have almost never fact-checked Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh. In an especially clownish manifestation, this was Hannity’s record at Politifact, dating back more than three years:
Record of Hannity’s statements at PolitifactGeorge Washington couldn’t tell a lie. At Politifact, Hannity had been issuing a steady stream of true statements!
January 25, 2013: False
November 30, 2011: Half true
September 15, 2011: True
November 11, 2009: True
November 11, 2009: True
September 25, 2009: Half true
September 23, 2009: Mostly true
Simple story: Our major fact-checkers give free rein to big, high-profile conservative talkers. Will Glenn Kessler fact-check O’Reilly?
Tonight, Rachel Maddow should get up on her hind legs. Addressing Brother Kessler by name, she should request a response.
For the record, it wasn’t just that tape: O’Reilly also mentioned the 157 visits in two separate interviews last night.
O'Reilly just keeps pouring it on. When will our fact-checkers fact-check?