O’Reilly Defends His Lack Of Iraq Coverage: Explosions In Iraq ‘Don’t Mean Anything’

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"O’Reilly Defends His Lack Of Iraq Coverage: Explosions In Iraq ‘Don’t Mean Anything’"

A recent study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that in the first three months of 2007, Fox News devoted considerably less coverage to the Iraq war than did CNN and MSNBC, but almost twice as much time to the Anna Nicole Smith story:

Today on his radio show, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly derided the group behind the report as the “Project for Excellence in Left-Wing Journalism,” but then said he wouldn’t dispute their findings. He defended his lack of Iraq war coverage, stating that the only reason CNN and MSNBC “do so much Iraq reporting is because they want to embarrass the Bush administration”:

ooooside.jpg Now the reason that CNN and MSNBC do so much Iraq reporting is because they want to embarrass the Bush administration. Both do. And all their reporting consists of is here’s another explosion. Bang. Here’s more people dead. Bang. […]

They’re not doing it to inform anybody about anything. The terrorists are going to set off a bomb every day because they know CNN and MSNBC are going to put it on the air. That’s a strategy for the other side. The terrorist side. So I’m taking an argument that CNN and MSNBC are actually helping the terrorists by reporting useless explosions.

Do you care if another bomb went off in Tikrit? Does it mean anything? No! It doesn’t mean anything.

The explosions in Iraq have killed over 3,500 U.S. troops since 2003. Journalists stationed in Iraq stress that coverage of the violence is necessary to ensure that the American public understands soldiers’ sacrifices:

CBS News Correspondent Lara Logan: When you see an American kid get shot and friends come to his aid and risk their lives, and see how they live day after day, you realize it is very hard for people far away to understand just how great are the sacrifices being made.

CNN International Correspondent Michael Ware: Clearly, it’s very hard to distill into one story the reality of life on the ground. Many of the soldiers I was with recently in Ramadiyah feel that people back home are turning off to an extent. They feel they’re fighting this war in a vacuum. That’s where you see the true strength of these men. They continue to do their jobs professionally and bravely.

O’Reilly constantly claims that he supports the troops. For O’Reilly, supporting the troops means ignoring their work and saying that the explosions killing them don’t “mean anything.”

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Transcript:

O’REILLY: So let’s call it the Project for Excellence in Left-Wing Journalism, and then you label it correctly.

Alright, now they came up with a study of how Iraq is covered by the three cables. And Fox News covers it less than CNN and MSNBC. Okay, I’m not going to dispute that. I can’t talk for Fox News and what they do during the day. E.D. Hill might be able to, but I can’t.

But on my program, I don’t do a lot of Iraq reporting because we don’t know what’s happening. We can’t find out. Now the reason that CNN and MSNBC do so much Iraq reporting is because they want to embarrass the Bush administration. Both do. And all their reporting consists of is here’s another explosion. Bang. Here’s more people dead. Bang.

Alright, now we know that. We don’t have to report. It’s like Vietnam. Did you report every fire fight? No. The reason that CNN and MSNBC put it on is because they want to give the impression that the war is a loser and Bush is an idiot. That may be true. The war is a loser and Bush may be an idiot. Okay, that’s for you to decide. But that’s why they’re doing it.

They’re not doing it to inform anybody about anything. The terrorists are going to set off a bomb every day because they know CNN and MSNBC are going to put it on the air. That’s a strategy for the other side. The terrorist side. So I’m taking an argument that CNN and MSNBC are actually helping the terrorists by reporting useless explosions.

Do you care if another bomb went off in Tikrit? Does it mean anything? No! It doesn’t mean anything. You can’t put it in any perspective. We don’t know if the surge is working, if security is better. We can’t find out. Why? Because our correspondents can’t give you that kind of breadth, no correspondents could.

Now we don’t believe — “we” being The Factor — that the war in Iraq is going well. And I’ve said that over and over. Am I going to bring you every explosion? No. Kicker on this? Fox News creams CNN and MSNBC in the ratings all day, every day. At 8:00 The Factor beats every single — not only MSNBC and CNN — but CNBC and Headline News, combined. Because we bring you stuff that is new, that is relevant to your life, and I’m not going to cover every bomb that goes off in Tikrit.

Now the Associated Press writes this article, kicks it out there, like Fox is in the tank, and doesn’t want to give you bad news. That’s a lie. And it comes off a guys-that-hate-Fox Project for Excellence in Journalism. Come on. This guy Jurkowitz — I’m not going to get into the personal realm, but it’s just ridiculous.

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