In case you missed it, Bill O’Reilly came gunning for us last night, going off on one of our reporters, Benjy Sarlin, for saying O’Reilly said something he said. Video after the jump.
O’Reilly also, bizarrely, accused us of ‘stealing’ the phrase Talking Points Memo from him. To this I would only say O’Reilly should be more careful about lying about us on TV. I’ve explained before where I got the phrase. So Bill, stop pretending you didn’t say things you said and stop lying about us. Otherwise, great work.
Late Update: I wanted to address the substance of this a bit more closely. So here goes. It’s not even close.
Some context for the attack: O’Reilly, who is now refashioning himself as an immigration reformer, objects to Sarlin’s characterization of a 2007 segment of his show as “an on-air screaming match with Geraldo Rivera over whether to blame drunk driving deaths on illegal immigration.” You’ve probably seen the clip before (and if not, you should), which pretty much speaks for itself:
The entirety of the argument is about whether illegal immigration is tied to or not tied to crime and specifically drunk driving. If that’s not what was being discussed and what O’Reilly was arguing I’m sure Geraldo would be pretty stunned since that’s clearly what he thought O’Reilly was saying. Geraldo says the guy’s status is irrelevant to the story; O’Reilly says it is relevant. This is the basis for Geraldo’s rising anger and the two make this connection specific at various points. But if you want to go really close to the text, all you need to do is zoom in on this one back and forth.
GERALDO: There’s no cause and effect between his illegality and his drunkenness.
O’REILLY: Sure there is! He’s irresponsible!
O’Reilly’s explanation today is that he was somehow only singling out “illegal alien crime.” But that’s nonsensical. So he’s talking about “illegal alien crime” as opposed to illegal status having some causal relation to crime? Really? The clip is a guy raving about how open borders, the irresponsibility of those who cross them, and “sanctuary cities” that don’t do enough to deport them all bear some ultimate responsibility for an innocent American death. This is why we politely declined the request for a correction. Because we don’t correct things that are already correct. O’Reilly may be changing his tune now on immigration. But that doesn’t change what he said in 2007.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.