Unethical Quote of the Week: Fox News


“Bill O’Reilly has already addressed several claims leveled against him. This is nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far left advocates Mother Jones and Media Matters. Responding to the unproven accusation du jour has become an exercise in futility. Fox News maintains its staunch support of O’Reilly, who is no stranger to calculated onslaughts.”

—-Fox News, in a statement announcing that it was standing behind its beleaguered cash cow and star, Bill O’Reilly, who has been shown convincingly to have misrepresented his exploits on several occasions.

What an awful, slimy, deceitful statement. Yecch. It must have taken a veritable pack of weasels, plus some lawyers, to draft that. Let’s unpack it. Hold your nose:

“Bill O’Reilly has already addressed several claims leveled against him.

Sure he has, mostly by screaming insults and spinning his words. Bill Clinton “addressed” accusations about Monica too. Addressing isn’t disproving.

“This is nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far left advocates Mother Jones and Media Matters.”

Sure it is. The Left is mad that Brian Williams, one of its most prominent liberal mouthpieces in the media, got caught lying , which Mother Jones and Media Matters don’t mind as long as it advances the glorious revolution. So it put out a hit on one of the “other side’s” darlings. I’m sure O’Reilly wasn’t the only conservative commentator they were seeking dirt on, aren’t you? The point is, they found what they were looking for. The motive of the diggers shouldn’t matter to Fox. Fox should care that Bill O’Reilly misleads its audience. Instead, it uses the ad hominem fallacy to disprove the accusation by attacking the messenger. To Fox viewers, “far left advocates” is the equivalent of “consorts of Satan.”

“Responding to the unproven accusation du jour has become an exercise in futility…”

But they are not unproven. The discrepancies are real. It’s an “exercise in futility” because O’Reilly is caught, and Fox knows it.

“…because Fox News maintains its staunch support of O’Reilly, who is no stranger to calculated onslaughts.”

To conclude, a grand finale featuring another version of “everybody does it”: “this is insignificant, because it happens all the time.”

Media Matters broke the latest O’Reilly tall tale (we have already learned about his falsely stating that he was “in a war zone” when he was in fact covering a riot, and his published claim that he was outside the door when a man shot himself with a shotgun, when in fact he had flown to the locale because of the suicide). He implied on more than one occasion that he witnessed the execution of four nuns during El Salvador’s civil war in 1980, while at other times said he arrived after the executions.  Media Matters included documentation of O’Reilly saying he’d seen “guys gun down nuns in El Salvador” and “was in El Salvador and I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head” while serving as a CBS correspondent.  In his book The No Spin Zone,  though, O’Reilly said that he covered the civil war in El Salvador a “few weeks” after he began at CBS in 1981. The well-documented execution of the nuns occurred in December of 1980. Media Matters also says there is a recording of a 2009 interview on WVVH-TV in which he said he arrived in El Salvador “right after” the murders.

Now O’Reilly has “responded” to that in the following ridiculous fashion. He says that when he said, “I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head” he was referring to having seen photographs of the nuns who were executed in El Salvador in 1980, and not claiming he actually saw the murdered nuns. Ah. So if I tell you that I saw mobsters “get gunned down by a rival mob,” it’s perfectly reasonable and honest because I saw pictures of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Here…


…now you can honestly say you saw the massacre too, according to Bill.

Bill O’Reilly is an embarrassment to Fox, and Fox is disgracing itself.


Facts: Deadline Hollywood


18 thoughts on “Unethical Quote of the Week: Fox News

  1. Fox is embarassment-proof.

    It’s not alone though, it would be misleading to imply that others have not been guilty of the same thing. That doesn’t excuse the ethical lapses though, it exacerbates them.

  2. “What an awful, slimy, deceitful statement. Yecch. It must have taken a veritable pack of weasels, plus some lawyers, to draft that.”

    You are giving them too much credit. They probably just altered something one of Obama’s press secretaries said about a Fox news complaint. “Replace Hillary Clinton with Bill O’Reilly, replace ‘Republican mouthpiece Fox News’ with ‘far left advocates Mother Jones and Media Matters’. Replace President Obama with Fox News (he he!), replace his with its, replace Clinton with O’Reilly (see, we did it again!). Done!”

  3. I’ll not weep if FOX does O’reilly in, and it’s looking like it’s time he was put out to pasture. I will say it’s frustrating to give so much weight to counter-accusations when it will quickly simply spiral out of control with pointed finger after pointed finger until there are no untainted journalists left. If I may let my bias out for a moment, I’m reminded of the old saying that it’s so easy to catch a conservative being hypocritical because they actually have morals they espouse and fail at. Really looking more in Mother Jones’ direction on that one that O’Reilly’s.

    If Bill were really smart, and the shill for the right everyone says he is, he’d come clean now, step down, and let the spotlight swivel back over to Williams. I don’t think it’ll happen, though.

      • When you get to spend evening after evening ranting, and get cheered and paid $20 million a year for it, it’s not that hard for you to start believing your own press releases and become arrogant. I just heard in song lyrics that “failure keeps you humble,” and, much as these were just throwaway lyrics in a pop song, the words are still true. Power may corrupt, but success also corrupts. That’s why the most successful lawyers in this state are all assholes, most successful performers are divas, and pundits like Bill and his opposite numbers on the left are pompous blowhards.

    • I really think that it would be a good thing if conservatives and liberals go crazy tracking down lying journalists on the left, right and center, until half of them have been run out of the profession and the streets run thick with ink.

      • Great idea. Yes, time for Mr. O’Reilly to be fired. I’m amazed Fox isn’t taking the chance to grab some integrity. They could say, “see, we cleaned our house, what about yours.” I doubt O’Reilly being gone would lose them any viewers at all. I think their viewers appreciate their attempt to counter the biases of the rest of media, more than individual Fox personalities.

        Pretty funny he’s a Marist educated guy. Being one myself, I guess it sort of takes one to know one and from whence that non-stop outrage springs. Classic Mick blowhard. He needs to just let it go and get off his bar stool.

      • I’d settle for the profession having some actual standards like medicine or law, and a mechanism for sanctioning those who disregard them.

        • That sounds good, but I’d submit it is next to impossible without tons of slippery slopes that don’t look good for the 1st Amendment.

          One thing most industries who do have professional standards and mechanisms for sanctioning those who disregard them is that they often all involve licensure, certification or some other acknowledgement from the government that the practitioner is “safe” to practice.

          In an industry that is literary the face of Free Speech, and centralizing document positing standards THAT HAVE TO BE MET to be considered “one of us” can never be enforced.

          Body of reporters: “Hey, we think you are unethical for the way you reported that story! We don’t consider you a reporter any more!”

          Miscreant reporter: “So what? What are you going to do about it?”

          Body of reporters: “Nothing. We forgot, you are protected by the 1st Amendment…”

          The only sanctions this industry can have are on the market. Fire unethical guys and hope the viewing public does it’s due diligence as well.

          • It used to be the news agencies themselves who policed this behavior. Wether they really had any ethics or were just tying not to appear unethical, that is up for debate. Today, there isn’t even the pretense. They can count on blind partisan followers to ignore all transgressions.

            • That sounds like just the market policing that can be the only source of maintaining ethics in that industry. And as your last line alludes to, failure of due diligence by the consumers is the ultimate source of that push…

              But, I have my doubts about the “Golden Age” of nonpartisan reporting. I think they were quite partisan, they just didn’t have any counterbalance and so, in full agreement, they merely looked nonpartisan.

              One of the side affects of the “American High” following the WW2 victory and temporary but fleeting national unity.

              Nah, journalism and reporting is back to the same old ways it’s always been. Makes sense that Freedom of Speech is encapsulated with all the other “Freedom of Consience” Rights, since it is so tied to personal interpretation of facts and personal communication of experience.

              • My take on current slime being no worse than “Golden Age” slime is much the same as yours, Tex. I think we have entered a Naked and Shameless Ideological Age, and its “goldenness” is only beginning to shine. Since history inevitably repeats, it is natural to speculate about just what this Age is repeating – the run-up to the French Revolution, perhaps?

                There is an old sermon, titled something like “Sinners in The Hands Of An Angry God.” For some reason, I was reminded of that sermon and title, as I pondered a theme for this new era we are beginning to suffer – perhaps brainstorming a parallel. For now, I am thinking we are seeing examples of “Freedom in the Minds of a Freedom-Hating People.” Oh sure, we all want the benefit of the First Amendment for, what WE think. But, what WE think includes the judgment that certain thinking by certain others is crime worthy of punishment as if those others’ thinking itself is criminal action.

                I am not distressed. I was tiring of O’Reilly years ago. Bring a new fraud on the air. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

                • Jonathan Edwards’ most famous sermon for some reason. He’s presented in high schools as a charismatic hellfire preacher, with this sermon usually given as reading material. He should be more accurately known as a soft-spoken, humble genius and advocate for the oppressed who was a part of the movement that helped jump-start abolitionism in the U.S., and the American Revolution itself.

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