Fox’s Gibson Brushes Off O’Reilly Remark: “I’m Sure That’s Not What He Meant”

Yesterday, Fox News anchor John Gibson appeared on San Francisco Fox affiliate KTVU to promote his new book, “The War on Christmas.” It was bad timing — the San Francisco Chronicle had just published remarks by fellow Fox host Bill O’Reilly approving of a terrorist attack on the city.

Asked about the comments, Gibson claimed he was “sure” that O’Reilly had been taken out of context, and offered this defense: “He goes to San Francisco all the time. … I know he loves the city.”

ANCHOR: You don’t have to make any excuses for your colleague Bill O’Reilly, but on the front page of the Chronicle today, he talks about if al Qaeda comes into San Francisco and blows it up, in essence, who cares? Go al Qaeda, blow up Coit Tower. That’s hateful talk. It’s irresponsible. You can make fun of voting on a gun issue. You can make fun of San Francisco for keeping the military out of recruiting. But you can’t say al Qaeda, go get them.

JOHN GIBSON: I can’t imagine Bill meant that. He goes to San Francisco all the time. He does shows from there. He has a good time there. I know he loves the city. I’m sure that’s not what he meant.

Gibson couldn’t even bring himself to criticize right-wing televangelist Pat Roberton for telling residents of Dover, Pennsylvania, “if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city.” Rather, Gibson claimed that “what a lot of this [criticism] comes from” is “animosity towards Christians because of political considerations.”

ANCHOR: You have Pat Robertson yesterday talking to the people of Dover, Pennsylvania, and saying that disaster may strike you because you voted God out of your city by ousting the school board members who favored teaching intelligent design. That’s hateful talk.

GIBSON: Well, I think what he said was, when disaster strikes you, don’t turn to God, ask your Darwinians for help.

ANCHOR: Well, I have a quote here, but maybe he did say that as well. (Ed. note: Robertson: “Don’t wonder why He hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city.”)

GIBSON: Well, but the point is, Pat says a lot of things. And that’s Pat Robertson. You talk to him about why he said a certain thing. I think that what a lot of this comes from, especially this declaring ordinary signs of the Christmas season to be religious symbols, and, therefore, have to be out of the public view, is animosity towards Christians because of political considerations. Because Christians are making arguments against abortion, or for intelligent design, or against gay marriage, and people are angry at them about those political positions, and they tend to transfer that over to the practice of the religion.