On last night’s O’Reilly Factor (2/6/13), the Fox News host, along with “liberal” guest Bob Beckel, did some media criticism, wondering why NBC–which is how O’Reilly tends to refer to both the broadcast network and its cable channel MSNBC–has failed to cover the new revelations about the White House drone program.
O’REILLY: Now, remember the outcry about waterboarding?
O’REILLY: You know everybody jumping up and down.
O’REILLY: NBC News, I thought they were going to like melt down over there. You have heard anything on NBC about the drones?
BECKEL: Not yet.
The conversation went on:
O’REILLY: All right, so you haven’t heard anything over there about this and neither have I…. Neither has my staff.
O’REILLY: OK, so we haven’t heard anything. But we heard a lot about waterboarding. But nothing about drone strikes. How do you process that?
“Why would they go crazy on waterboarding and they don’t care about drones?” O’Reilly wondered–before answering his own question: “Because they are protecting the president.”
Anyone with even a minimal understand of the drone “white paper” knows the story was broken by Michael Isikoff–who is, umm, an NBC reporter. Its contents were discussed at some length on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show on February 5. The story led the NBC Nightly News on February 5. The cable channel has continued to cover it.
The divergent reactions among the hosts and contributors at the liberal cable channel has been a subject of discussion, criticism and media coverage. It has struck some critics that the network has been softer on this than they would have been if it had been happening under a Republican administration. That seems like a fair observation, but it’s very different from saying that they have not covered the story at all.
Anyone with a cable subscription or the Internet can find this out. If O’Reilly is being denied Internet access by his bosses at Fox, that should be a story. It’s either that, or he has no idea what he’s talking about.