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The Gross National Debt

Friday, February 24, 2006

(Originally posted at Daily Kos and now cross-posted here and at my blog)

Redheadedwoman has a diary at the top of the Daily Kos recommended list about O'Reilly circulating a petition to remove Keith Olbermann from the air.  The reasons he seems to cite are the lower ratings earned by Olbermann compared to his predecessor, Phil Donohue.

Well, after the fold is our own Daily Kos petition to the Chairman of FOX News demanding O'Reilly be removed.  Many examples are provided.  Grounds for removal are that FOX News is not serving its shareholders when it leaves itself open to lawsuits due to either the lies or the total incompetence of O'Reilly.

Make the jump, use the comments to "sign" the petition, and have a little Friday afternoon fun.  ;-)

Mr. Roger Ailes
Chairman and CEO
FOX News Network, LLC
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
212-556-2500

Dear Chairman Ailes,

It pains me to be the one to bring this to your attention, but one of your marquee FOX News personalities is willfully distributing inaccurate information.  Although I don't live "the fast life" like people such as yourself in New York City, I do possess common sense.  "Inaccurate information" results either from idiocy or lying, and your FOX personality, Bill O'Reilly, is distributing "inaccurate information" with alarming regularity.  Here are just a few examples from 2004 and 2005.  If you want more specific details you can visit Media Matters:

June 17, 2004:

O'Reilly distorted 9-11 Commission findings, blamed the press

On both his TV and radio shows, Bill O'Reilly distorted the findings of a recent 9-11 Commission staff report in order to defend the Bush administration's rationale for invading Iraq.

-snip-

Contrary to O'Reilly's claim, the report does not address the September 11 plot at all, let alone the question of Iraq's involvement in it. Rather, the report "focus[es] on al Qaeda's history and evolution," tracing the origins and maturation of al Qaeda through the 1980s and 1990s.

June 30, 2004:

O'Reilly cited phony stats to argue that taxes on rich are excessive

On his June 30 radio show, FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly tried to "blow off" the argument that wealthy Americans ought to pay more taxes by citing phony statistics about the tax burden the rich currently bear.

-snip-

O'REILLY: Just some stats. The top 5 percent of American wage-earners pay 57 percent of federal income taxes, so that blows off the thing that the rich are getting away with it, and they're not paying their fair share. All right? That this is from the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. Again, 5 percent, the richest five percent pay 57 percent of all federal income taxes.

-snip-

According to the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, the richest 5 percent of taxpayers will pay a more modest 40 percent of total federal taxes (including the payroll tax, income tax, corporate income tax, and estate tax) in 2004.

July 14, 2004:

O'Reilly lied about his French boycott ... again

O'REILLY: [H]ere's the update on the boycott. ... French exports to the USA have fallen by more than a billion dollars from 2001 to 2003. That's according to the U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Division.

-snip-

As Media Matters for America has documented not once but twice in the past, the Census figures prove that O'Reilly's alleged boycott has had no measurable effect on French exports to the United States. Though O'Reilly is correct that Census figures show French exports were about $1.2 billion less in 2003 than in 2001, the decline in that period is unrelated to O'Reilly's supposed boycott.

July 20, 2004:

O'Reilly lied about his own ratings; blasted WSJ for reporting the truth

FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that his nightly TV program, The O'Reilly Factor, attracts "about five million viewers inside the United States." O'Reilly also called a July 20 Wall Street Journal article, which reported the program's ratings accurately, "a lie."

-snip-

Though Nielsen Media Research releases ratings to the public only for the top ten cable shows for each week, the fact that The O'Reilly Factordoes not appear on this list is enough to prove that the show does not attract five million viewers. For the week of July 12 through July 18, Nielsen reports that the tenth highest-rated program on cable television was USA's The Dead Zone, which attracted just under four million viewers.

The Wall Street Journal article (subscription only) that O'Reilly mentioned reported that "Fox News's top-rated program, 'The O'Reilly Factor,' only attracts about two million viewers on an average night." While Media Matters for America does not have direct access to Nielsen's data on The Factor, previous news reports have consistently cited data that roughly matches the Journal's estimate.

November 11, 2004:

O'Reilly falsely claimed all Guantánamo detainees are Al Qaeda

FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly argued that the Geneva Convention does not apply to detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by claiming that "[a]ll of the Guantánamo guys are Al Qaeda. All of 'em!" In fact, according to the Defense Department, a significant number of Guantánamo detainees are Taliban fighters, and even President George W. Bush has taken the position that unlike Al Qaeda detainees, the Geneva Convention does apply to Taliban fighters held at Guantánamo.

December 21, 2004:

Led by O'Reilly, conservative pundits claimed Washington school "banned" A Christmas Carol

FOX News host Bill O'Reilly and his guest, Anthony R. Picarello Jr., said a public school "banned" a stage production of A Christmas Carol because the school feared it would violate the constitutional separation of church and state. In fact, Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, Washington cancelled one performance of the play because the private theater company putting on the play planned to charge admission, a violation of school policy, and because the principal had not approved the event. In a statement, the principal wrote: "The cancellation of this daytime production had nothing to do with religion."

May 10, 2005:

O'Reilly misleadingly claimed Real ID Act passed Senate 100-0

As proof that "politicians are finally feeling the heat on the illegal [immigrant] issue," Fox News host Bill O'Reilly misleadingly claimed that the "the Real ID Act passed 100-0 in the Senate." In fact, the Senate never held a vote specifically on "the Real ID Act," which requires states to verify that an applicant is a legal resident of the United States before issuing the applicant a driver's license. Rather, the legislation was attached to the emergency supplemental appropriation bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only way to vote against the ID measure would have been to vote against the entire funding bill.

June 7, 2005:

O'Reilly's tax falsehoods: 50 percent "don't pay any federal income tax," estate tax "unconstitutional"

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly falsely asserted that "50 percent of Americans don't pay any federal income tax" and that therefore "the other half is waging the whole war on terror." He also claimed that the estate tax is "unconstitutional," an assertion the Supreme Court rejected in a 1921 decision that has been repeatedly upheld over the years.

While O'Reilly claimed that half of all Americans do not pay income taxes, figures from the Tax Policy Center show that only 37.2 percent of total tax units -- single people or married couples -- pay either zero or negative taxes, or do not file at all, leaving 62.8 percent who do pay taxes.

July 25, 2005:

O'Reilly wrongly accused Cyrus Kar of possessing bomb timers

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly wrongly attacked American Cyrus Kar, an aspiring filmmaker detained for seven weeks and later released by the U.S. military in Iraq for suspected links to the Iraqi insurgency. O'Reilly falsely claimed that Kar possessed bomb components when he was captured by Iraqi police. In fact, the Pentagon determined that the components -- washing-machine timers typically used by Iraqi insurgents to detonate bombs -- did not belong to Kar, but instead belonged to the driver of the cab he had hired. Kar was eventually cleared of any connection with terrorists.

August 31, 2005:

O'Reilly falsely accused La. governor of not requesting more National Guard troopsFox News host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco "failed to ask for more [National Guard] troops from the feds, knowing she only had about 6,000 to control a city of 1.3 million" and that "[i]t was not until Wednesday, August 31st, three days after the storm hit, that Blanco admitted she didn't have enough security in the city." But according to Department of Defense officials, Blanco and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour had requested additional Guard personnel before the storm hit.

September 26, 2005:

O'Reilly falsely claimed he retracts his false claims

On the September 26 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "if we make a mistake ... we will retract, and we will apologize, and we will put it up."

Media Matters for America has identified and corrected hundreds of O'Reilly's falsehoods, made both on his radio show and on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor -- the vast majority of which he has yet to retract. Rather than correct his own falsehoods, O'Reilly lashes out at those who expose them or simply denies that he erred.

October 5, 2005:

O'Reilly wrongly claimed that "about 50 percent of the country's pro-life"

On the October 5 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "about 50 percent of the country's pro-life." In fact, less than 40 percent of Americans identified themselves as "pro-life" in a recent Gallup poll, and more than 60 percent of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that established the right to abortion.

Ocober 13, 2005:

O'Reilly: Planned Parenthood "encouraging" abortion among teens because they "get paid for every abortion"

On the October 13 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly suggested that Planned Parenthood "would be encouraging" young women to get abortions because "Planned Parenthood gets paid for every abortion that they're involved with."

Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, with a policy of providing services irrespective of income. Many Planned Parenthood clinics offer services on a sliding scale based on ability to pay; the organization's website states that it is committed to "ensuring that financial concerns are not a barrier to necessary health care." These policies and rates extend to all services provided by Planned Parenthood.

December 9, 2005:

O'Reilly falsely claimed a Texas school district banned red and green clothing, called move "fascism"

On December 9, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed on both Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor and the nationally syndicated The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly that the Plano Independent School District (Texas) "told students they couldn't wear red and green because they were Christmas colors." He labeled the alleged ban "fascism." On December 12, the school district released an official statement by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Doug Otto refuting O'Reilly's contention.

I have only scratched the surface for two years.  I can provide you with even more examples if you require.

Chairman Ailes, your situation is dire.  You have either a total buffoon or a loose-cannon-pathological-liar in Bill O'Reilly (possibly both).  You owe it to your shareholders in your fiduciary responsibilities to minimize the risk of marginalized profitability due to excessive liability, defamation and slander lawsuits.  I and the undersigned all demand that you protect our investment in FOX News LLC by removing Mr. O'Reilly from the air forthwith.

Sincerely,
RenaRF
Not New York City, USA

Add your signature and a personal note to Chairman Ailes in the comments and I will send it to FOX on Monday.  ;-)

Update [2006-2-24 14:51:21 by RenaRF]: Maxomai made the great suggestion that I use a petition engine online to post a more official version. I have done so, though I had to cut it down to length limitations. My Fire O'Reilly iPetition. Cheers!



posted by RenaRF at 3:47 PM 4 comments links to this post

4 Comments:

Blogger Jake Nelson said...

I totally support this! Fair and balanced, my [heinie]!!

8:45 PM  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

Congrats! Your DKos version of this diary was featured on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show tonight!

11:16 PM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

I saw that - I'll be posting about it tomorrow!!

11:20 PM  
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10:25 PM  

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