Papa Bear Roars
Anyone with a YouTube account knows by now that Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly has a bit of a temper.
When NBC news anchor Brian Williams falsely claimed that his helicopter was nearly shot down, as he covered the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, O’Reilly unleashed a fusillade of righteous anger against a national media that he said, “isn’t half as responsible as the men who forged the nation.” Lamenting the “culture of deception” in the “liberal media,” O’Reilly said the Williams affair should prompt questioning of other media “deceptions.”
It did, but not in the way O’Reilly probably imagined. Late last week, Mother Jones’ David Corn and Daniel Schulman reported that “for years, O’Reilly has recounted dramatic stories about his own war reporting that don’t withstand scrutiny.” Here are a few:
- “War Zone” Reporting. O’Reilly has claimed over and over that he was a war correspondent during the Falklands war in 1982, and even face combat. Thus, when “Papa Bear” speaks of war, he does so with the understanding of one who’s seen it up close.Except that O’Reilly was never a war correspondent, nor did he experience combat. O’Reilly was 1,000 miles away, in Buenos Ares. He covered one protest that turned violent, endangering his cameraman in the process, and getting himself yanked out of Argentina. CBS released O’Reilly’s 1982 footage, which confirmed that O’Reilly’s been spinning a yarn for years.
- El Salvador, Too. In 2012, O’Reilly claimed to have witnessed the Salvadoran national guard execute three nuns and a lay worker on December 2, 1980. The statement contradicts O’Reilly’s own books and previous comments, that he didn’t arrive in El Salvador until 1981. So, O’Reilly claimed he was really referring to being shown images of the murders.
- The JFK Connection. In his book, Killing Kennedy, O’Reilly claimed that he heard the gunshot when George de Mohrenschildt, a friend of JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, committed suicide at his daughter’s Florida home. “He was in Dallas,” said Tracy Rowlet, a former colleague of O’Reilly’s at Dallas station WFAA said. “Bill O’Reilly’s a phony — there’s no other way to put it.”
Meanwhile, O’Reilly claimed that criticism of his record is based on “professional jealousy,” because “We are putting tremendous pressure on the Obama administration to fight the terror savages.”
The Fox Network, which has stood by O’Reilly thus far, fell strangely quiet after the JFK revelation. O’Reilly has taken to threatening reporters. In response to the Mother Jones article, O’Reilly said, “I expect David Corn to be in the kill zone. Where he deserves to be.”
O’Reilly also threatened a New York Times reporter, because he didn’t like a Times article detailing Fox’s defense of O’Reilly, while he lied to the public for years. “I am coming after you with everything I have,” O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat.”
O’Reilly’s been in the media long enough that surely he knows this is not the way to kill a story. (The most effective method would have been to ignore it.) Maybe he just can’t help himself. He has a long history of attacking reporters.
How much trouble is O’Reilly in? Things have gotten so desperate that O’Reilly is now defending President Obama. Days after lashing out at the liberal media for smearing him, in the guise of advising would-be GOP presidential candidates, O’Reilly told his audience that the president’s policies may be “controversial,” but there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed.
It’s that time of year again. The Conservative Political Action Conference is in town. Things went awry before the conference even started, when CPAC organizers decided to open the virtual floor to questions from Twitter, via the #CPACQ hash tag.
— CPAC (@CPACnews) February 26, 2015
It didn’t take liberals long to start having some fun with it.
— ⛄️ (@E_Nasttyy) February 26, 2015
If Obama is a Muslim, what does that make Ronnie Reagan, who called the Mujahideen “the moral equivalent of the founding fathers?” #CPACQ
— Sheng Long (@ShengLong111) February 27, 2015
— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) February 26, 2015
— WesleyZ3 (@50th_President) February 27, 2015
#CPACQ Tell me again how you support “Traditional Marriage.” The voices of Gingrich, Limbaugh, Prager, and D’Souza are drowning you out.
— stephen matlock (@stephenmatlock) February 27, 2015
— Kim McCabe (@Kim_McCabe) February 27, 2015
— The Baxter Bean (@TheBaxterBean) February 27, 2015
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) February 26, 2015
— American Bridge (@American_Bridge) February 26, 2015
— DuneMyThing (@Kris_SacreBleu) February 26, 2015
— Ben Terris (@bterris) February 25, 2015
But the speeches so far show that the right-wingers at CPAC thing we are all in danger, and they’re going to save us, by leading us in to a with ISIS.
- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker assured conservatives that if he could “take on a hundred thousand” union protesters, he could more than handle ISIS. Turns out, even conservatives aren’t keen on comparing American protesters with terrorists.
- Former Texas governor Rick Perry donned his “smart kid” glasses to tell the CPAC audience, “ISIS represents the worst threat to freedom since communism.”
- Donald Trump offer his stragegy for dealing with ISIS: “Hit them so hard and so fast that they wouldn’t know what happened.”
- Ben Carson was a bit more specific about how he would defeat ISIS: Tell the military to do it!
- Newt Gingrich warned the audience of extremists at CPAC that Islamic extremists were trying to “penetrate” America by supporting Hillary Clinton.
Looney Tunes Legislators
In what may become a regular part of “Wingnut Week In Review,” here are the week’s nuttiest laws and lawmakers:
- Idaho Republican state Rep. Christy Perry said the state had no right to protect children whose parents deny them medical care on religious grounds. “Children do die,” said Perry. “If I want to let my child be with God, why is that wrong?” Perry also claims to be an ardent supporter of a “right to life.”
- Idaho Republican state Rep. Vincent Barbieri asked a doctor if woman could swallow a camera to help a doctor conduct a pregnancy exam. The doctor explained that if a woman swallowed a camera, it would not end up in the vagina.
- Tennessee Republican state Rep. Matt Krause proposed legislation to give fetuses legal representation, when the mother is brain-dead.
- Republicans on Wisconsin’s Senate Labor Committee walked out of hearing on the proposed “right to work bill,” rather than hear from 180 witnesses, most of whom were opposed to the measure.
- North Carolina’s state Senate voted to allow state officials to refuse to marry same-sex couples without fear of being fired.
- Next week, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee will answer this question: “Do you think Idaho should be classified as a Christian state?”
- Texas Republicans had a party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the state’s same-sex marriage ban, complete with what can only be called an “anti-wedding cake.”
- Texas Republican state Rep. Debbie Riddle proposed a bill mandating up to a year in jail for anyone over 13 caught using the bathroom of “a gender that is not the same gender as the individual’s gender.”
- Now that it’s legal to toke up in the nation’s capital, Republicans are threatening to put Washington, DC’ mayor in jail — for enacting a voter-approved law.
Here’s the best of the worst in wingnuttia this week:
- Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R, Georgia) had a lot to say this week. In one town hall meeting, Loudermilk: said that House Republicans looked into arresting attorney general Eric Holder at the State of the Union address; boasted about not vaccinating his children; opposed using IED’s to stop illegal immigration, “because there’s a lot of Americans who work [there] and kids around the border as well.”
- After ranting last week that America “deserves to be destroyed” if it enacted net neutrality, this week Glenn Beck proved a bit of a sore loser. “You morons! You useful idiots! That’s all you are,” Beck bellowed at net neutrality supporters who were almost certainly not watching his show. “You’re a useful idiot. Read Joe Stalin. You moron!”
- Rush Limbaugh figured out that the arrest of ISIS sympathizers in New York City was really just a ploy to push net neutrality.
- She’s back! Proving that leaving Congress doesn’t mean leaving the spotlight, former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann told Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg that the shooting of two NYPD officers in December was linked to ISIS.
- Rep. Aaron Schock has hired a PR firm and a lawyer to help him manage the fallout of his fabulous life, after coming under fire for his “Downton Abbey”-themed office, and for using taxpayer and campaign funds to travel on private jets owned by his key donors. Shock’s habit of posting images and videos of his fabulous life on Instagram is what got him busted.
- It snowed in DC again, so Sen. James Inhofe threw a snowball on the Senate floor to “prove” that climate change is a hoax.
- Rep. Sheila Butt (R, Tennessee) wrote in a Facebook post, “It’s time for a Council of Christian Relations and a NAAWP in this Country.” But Rep. Butt assured us that it wasn’t racist, because the W stands for “Western.” The Tennessee Black Caucus wants an apology. So far, House Republicans are standing behind Butt.
- Former congressman Ron Paul told libertarian Lew Rockwell that the Congressional Black Caucus is “really against war because they want all of that money to go to food stamps for people here.” Because of course it’s un-American to prioritize feeing people over killing people.
- Rep. Glenn Grothman (R, Wisconsin) advised constituents to “keep an eye on” the kinds of things people are buying with food stamps.
- Eagle Forum president Phyllis Schlafly complained that there are too many females on college campuses. Her solution? A quota.
- Pat Robertson said women who fantasize over “50 Shades of Gray” are helping fuel sex trafficking.
- Robertson also warned “700 Club” viewers that yoga tricks people into speaking “in Hindu.”