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O’Reilly Defends Cherry-Picking Comments To Attack Blogs

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"O’Reilly Defends Cherry-Picking Comments To Attack Blogs"

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On Wednesday, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly attempted to demonstrate that the blogosphere is full of extreme hate-mongers. To do so, he pulled random comments from both ThinkProgress and Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air blog. However, he never noted that they were comments. Instead, he attributed them as official posts by the blogs:

ThinkProgress, another crazy website on the left: “It will be so funny seeing a bunch of old white guys questioning her during the Senate hearings.” Nothing racist about that. You know, these people — as I said on the conservative guy — they don’t think that they’re racist. They don’t think that they’re bigoted. But you know, it’s so obvious they are.

Malkin went on Fox and Friends the next day and responded that her site was “smeared” by O’Reilly.

Last night, O’Reilly responded to the criticisms, saying that he “should have been more precise” and identified that the remark was made by a “civilian” not by Hot Air’s staff. (O’Reilly never acknowledged that he similarly smeared ThinkProgress.) However, he then went on to defend his actions:

O’REILLY: Wow. Miss Malkin is upset, because I did not identify the Hussein comment was made by a civilian, not her or her staff. And that’s true. I should have been more precise.

But we often cite hateful civilian comments on blogs and say they should be edited, as we do on BillOReilly.com. That’s the point. The Daily Kos traffics in hatred all day long. It’s not enough to say, “I didn’t do it.”

And pointing out hateful things on any Web site is not a smear.

Watch it:

As ThinkProgress editor Faiz Shakir explained yesterday, “The comments policy of this blog — like most blogs on the Internet — is to allow postings from people with whom we agree and disagree. … Those comments do not always reflect the positions and views of the site’s editors and authors. As long as commenters abide by our terms of use, they are free to post whatever they’d like, even things which offend Bill O’Reilly’s sensitivities.”

But by O’Reilly’s logic, he himself should be held responsible for hoping that Hillary Clinton falls “into a moat filled leeches and (gulp) rats” and speculating that “it’s time to burn down the capitol building like Hitler did with the Reichstag building.” As Hot Air writer AllahPundit noted, “if the O’Reilly Factor can’t figure out the difference between a blog post and a comment, they have no business opining about the Internet at all.”

If O’Reilly is sincere in his belief that he “should have been more precise” in identifying the source of the comment on Hot Air, we expect that he will do the same next time he highlights something written on ThinkProgress, DailyKos, or any other liberal blog.

Transcript:

O’REILLY: “Back of the Book” segment tonight, “Reality Check,” where we spotlight the truth and expose the falsehoods. A good recipe, indeed.

“Check” one, last night we annualized how both right- and left- wing Web sites were handling the Sotomayor controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O’REILLY: This comes from HotAir.com. “Unqualified militant and socialist. Next, please. The GOP has to block any of Hussein’s” — that’s the president — “extremist picks.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O’REILLY: Well, HotAir’s Michelle Malkin’s Web site, and this morning, she said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE MALKIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think there’s this attitude about the blogosphere that, “Oh, they don’t know what they’re talking about.” There’s denigration. Hot Air was smeared, unfortunately, by “The O’Reilly Factor” last night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O’REILLY: Wow. Miss Malkin is upset, because I did not identify the Hussein comment was made by a civilian, not her or her staff. And that’s true. I should have been more precise.

But we often cite hateful civilian comments on blogs and say they should be edited, as we do on BillOReilly.com. That’s the point.

The Daily Kos traffics in hatred all day long. It’s not enough to say, “I didn’t do it.”

And pointing out hateful things on any Web site is not a smear.

By the way, we also heard from Jim Robinson, who runs the right- wing Free Republic, and he said some personal comments can get through their filter, which is understandable. It happens to us, too.

Jim then went on to call me an elite gas bag. I guess that’s better than a run-of-the-mill gas bag.

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