Jewish World Review Feb. 17, 2004 / 25 Shevat, 5764

Bill O'Reilly

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Press getting their jollies off my admission | Life is hard, and then you go on "Good Morning America." A few days ago, I told Charles Gibson that my analysis of the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction situation was wrong. Well, you would have thought I had endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, the left-wing press was so overjoyed.

Take this passage from the Reuters News Service: "Popular conservative television news anchor Bill O'Reilly, usually an outspoken Bush loyalist, said on Tuesday he was now skeptical about the Bush administration ..."

An outspoken Bush loyalist?

How about this from The New York Daily News, which in its wisdom, carries this column: "When even Bill O'Reilly starts snapping at him, the president has difficulties."


Even the London Telegraph got into it: "A cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq apologized to Americans yesterday ..."

Give me a W! Give me an M! Give me a D!

All I did was admit that my analysis was wrong and guys like U.S. weapons inspector Scott Ritter were right. And I placed the blame for the faulty intelligence right where it belongs: on CIA chief George Tenet. Not on Bill Clinton. Not on Tony Blair. And not on President Bush, although I do believe all of those men were not skeptical enough about the WMD intel in the run-up to the war.

Anyone who reads this column or listens to my commentaries on television or radio knows that I think independently. President Bush has done some good things and some not so good things. Likewise President Clinton and every other chief executive.

But the ideological press has a hard time with commentators who don't fit a predictable mold. In the world of the partisan you are either with 'em or against 'em. In the foggy world of committed ideology, facts are things to be used to advance various causes.

I have been critical of the Bush administration for its lax border policy, for its failure to encourage fuel standards for American vehicles and for its secrecy, among other things.

I have praised Mr. Bush for lowering taxes, aggressively fighting terrorism and for confronting a corrupt United Nations, among other things. My job is to look out for the folks and call 'em as I see 'em, not sink into the morass of partisan politics.

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The good news is that the nation's most powerful news service, the Associated Press (AP), covered my "apology" fairly. The AP pointed out that I still support the removal of Saddam because the world is a safer place and terrorists have lost much opportunity in the Middle East.

Once again I will tell you that much of the nation's press is far too ideological and hard news coverage is being twisted in the process. In many cases you are getting only part of important stories, and you are being misled by ideologues masquerading as journalists.

We are living in dangerous times when information is critical to the well being of you and your family. Fanatics overseas want to kill us, and fanatics at home want to manipulate us. Every politician, journalist and, indeed, every person makes mistakes. Owning up to them is the mark of an honest individual.

I made a mistake on my analysis of the WMD threat in Iraq. I acknowledged said mistake. But that's all there is to it. There is no need for joy in Mudville.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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© 2003 Creators Syndicate