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O’Reilly: Abu Ghraib Scandal Was ‘Blown Out Of Proportion’

By Amanda Terkel on October 16, 2007 at 12:19 pm

"O’Reilly: Abu Ghraib Scandal Was ‘Blown Out Of Proportion’"

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Last night on The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly did a segment criticizing the media’s coverage of the war in Iraq. He and Fox News analyst Monica Crowley claimed that the media don’t cover enough of the “good news.”

Crowley added that the media have a habit of “taking a small story about something small that happened in Iraq and amplifying it.” Her example of a “small story”? Abu Ghraib. Even O’Reilly had to admit, “That wasn’t small. … That wasn’t big.” Eventually though, O’Reilly came around and agreed, “Well, I think we all agree that that was blown out of proportion.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/10/crowleyghraibsmall.320.240.flv]

The right wing has consistently tried to downplay the atrocities at Abu Ghraib. In June, Fox and Friends host Greg Kelly said Paris Hilton’s jail time sounded “like Abu Ghraib.” In May, that same show said that a detainee was “taking advantage of being tortured” by getting media attention. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) once equated the torture at the prison to nothing more than “hazing,” and Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) compared it to a “sex ring.”

But as former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell has noted, the abuses at Abu Ghraib had a “terrible impact” on America’s international image and the Bush administration’s torture policies have made people around the world start to “question whether we’re following our own high standards.”

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Transcript:

HOST BILL O’REILLY: But look, you’re a Democrat, and you know the world. It’s hate Bush. Get him at any term.

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS ANALYST: I don’t know if that’s true, Bill.

O’REILLY: Do you think that’s true?

MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS ANALYST: I think that members of the elite mainstream press have an ideological agenda that they have put out on the front pages and on the broadcast news and the other channels and the news weeklies since this president was inaugurated in January of ’01.

They hated this guy. They hated this war. They still do. They are invested in this narrative that the war is a failure. Because look, it…

O’REILLY: The Washington Post put it on the front page.

CROWLEY: … it’s bad for them.

O’REILLY: OK. That’s right. If you’re looking at it from a purely political point of view, but The Washington Post put it on the front page yesterday, Sunday, that things are going better militarily in Iraq.

CROWLEY: One story. Maybe a handful of stories in about a year of things starting to get better in Iraq. I mean, after years of them bombarding the military.

You know, and I thought General Sanchez’s point about them taking a small story about something small that happened in Iraq and amplifying it. For example, Abu Ghraib, which happened on his watch.

O’REILLY: That wasn’t small.

CROWLEY: That should have been reported.

O’REILLY: That was big.

CROWLEY: But his point was that they amplified the story.

O’REILLY: Front page story. Right.

CROWLEY: They made it to smear the entire United States military and what they were doing there in the country.

O’REILLY: Well, I think we all agree that that was blown out of proportion. But it again comes back to getting Bush.

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