by Scoobie Davis
Confronting Bill O’Reilly about Journalistic Misconduct by Two Fox News Analysts
I tuned into Bill O’Reilly’s radio show this morning. The topic for the first hour of O’Lielly’s show was Bernard Goldberg’s book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America:(and Al Franken Is #37). O’Reilly wanted callers to make their suggestions about who should be on the list. I called in (I gave my name as Irv):
O’REILLY: . . .Let’s go to Irv in Los Angeles. What’s going on, Irv?
SCOOBIE: Hello, Bill. I have a few people to add to the list; they would include Ann Coulter, Christopher Ruddy, as well as your boss Roger Ailes.
O’REILLY: Now, you’re a left-wing guy, right?
O’REILLY: Alright, now, what’s the matter with the Fox News Channel? Why don’t you like that?
SCOOBIE: Well, how about the term “journalistic misconduct”?
O’REILLY: You want to give me one example of that?
SCOOBIE: Yes. Fox News hired Bill Sammon of The Washington Times, the Moonie-run newspaper, and he lied in his book about the 2000 election [At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election] in which he--
O’REILLY: How did he lie in his book?
SCOOBIE: What? [I didn’t hear his question because he was talking over me]
O’REILLY: How did he lie in his book?
SCOOBIE: Yes, The Daily Howler, the journalistic research group, looked at a quote he [Sammon] did of Ceci Connolly—who also works for the Fox News Channel—and found that he had taken it completely out of context--
[Around this time, O’Reilly hit the mute button. I could hear O’Reilly but when I tried elaborating on Sammon’s libel and Fox News Analyst Ceci Connolly’s journalistic misconduct in the case, but the radio audience couldn’t hear me. What a chickenshit.]
O’REILLY: You’re taking one oblique example from the Daily Howler—which nobody’s ever heard of—alright, and attaching it to a Fox News contributor--a guy named Bill Sammon, who I think is a good reporter—and therefore drawing a conclusion that the Fox News Channel is not worthy. Hey, Irv, that’s a stretch, man. If you can’t come up with more than that, you’re going to get laughed out of any court in the country. You gotta--look, I don’t mind your opinion, Irv. I mean, I disagree with you obviously. I work for Fox and I think that Fox News has added to fairness in this country more than any other media organization in my lifetime, because before Fox News, you had no counter-voice to the left-center or far left media that dominates. You just didn’t have anything on television at all. You did have talk radio. You did have The Wall Street Journal but nothing on television. Nothing. So, you know, I’m glad you called, Irv, and I’m glad you made that point: Daily Howler, 2002 [sic], Ceci whatever-her-name-is, and all of that—because if that’s all you‘ve got, Irv, you don’t got a lot.
REALITY: O’Reilly’s stacked-deck methods he used with me illustrate the Fox News mentality. He mutes me after I give one example of why Fox News is bad for America and then gives the “is-that-all-you-got?” defense. That is pathetic.
Sammon’s libel is just one of dozens of examples of why Fox News is bad for America. I could have given more had Mr. Loofah given me the opportunity.
The reason I gave the example of Sammon because his conduct was so vile, so unbecoming a reporter, that I felt someone should confront O’Reilly about it. Sammon is the type of person whom Roger Ailes would hire. He is a lowlife and a disgrace to journalism. What he did to Al Gore was libel. Fellow Fox News contributer Ceci Connolly’s silence on the matter also is egregious.
Although O’Reilly didn’t give me much of a chance to talk, the call was an overall success because it allowed me to mention Sammon’s misconduct and the Daily Howler’s discovery of it. It was also good that O’Reilly mentioned Sammon and the Daily Howler at the end of the call. Hopefully, many radio listeners will do a Google search of Sammon + Daily Howler. If they do, the Daily Howler article and my article on the controversy pop up first.