Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

Lynne Cheney on CNN: 'Why Are You Running Terrorist Propaganda?' --10/30/2006


1. Lynne Cheney on CNN: 'Why Are You Running Terrorist Propaganda?'
During an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer aired twice on Friday's The Situation Room and again on Sunday's Late Edition, Second Lady Lynne Cheney turned the tables on the cable network and bluntly asked if Blitzer wanted the U.S. to win in Iraq: "What is CNN doing running terrorist tape of terrorist shooting Americans? I mean, I thought Duncan Hunter asked you a very good question and you didn't answer it. Do you want us to win?" Blitzer replied: "The answer, of course, is we want the United States to win. We are Americans. There's no doubt about it. You think we want terrorists to win?" AUDIO&VIDEO

2. CNN Promotes Bush Assassination Flick -- for Free
CNN's American Morning devoted four minutes of air time, and free advertising, to a faux documentary that includes a digitally created assassination of George W. Bush. The network, which has refused to air commercials for the controversial Death of a President movie, instead featured the film's director on the Friday edition of its morning show. Anchor Miles O'Brien opened the interview with some free promotion in the form of a 13 second clip of the movie. The film's director, Gabriel Range, certainly understood the benefit of what a CNN appearance offered him. He explained late in the interview: "I think the distributor, New Market, are keen to -- they've got the film out in a lot of theaters. And they're very confident that it will reach a wide audience. I hope the fact you and I are talking about it today will mean that a lot of people will want to see the film. I would say, it's not what you think. Judge it for yourself."

3. Geraldo Rivera Delivers Rambling Rant Against Republicans
On Thursday night's syndicated Fox show, Geraldo at Large, Geraldo Rivera went on a rambling rant on issues meant to motivate Democrats to the polls and then urged his viewers: "Don't forget to vote." Rivera railed against the President's signing of the "dumb" and "dishonest," immigration bill, the "outrageous" RNC ad against Harold Ford, "meant to stir up racist fears," and even repeated his charge about a Big Oil price conspiracy.

4. Nets Ignore Webb Novel Sex, But Giggled at Steamy Gingrich Lines
For those people with short memories who think the passages, in Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb's novels, with lusty or just strange sexual episodes have no place in political news, clearly do not remember the Newt Gingrich Bodice-Ripper as it broke to liberal media jokes in December of 1994. Webb's strange passages drew no attention on the network morning shows Friday (nor the evening shows), unlike the liberal Gingrich fun in 1994.

5. O'Reilly's Round Two with Letterman Centers on Iraq War
FNC's Bill O'Reilly returned to the Late Show on Friday night for round two with David Letterman over Iraq. In the show taped on Monday but not aired until Friday, Letterman expressed disgust with the war: "So we've made a mistake in war, so we stay there and kill as many Americans as we possibly can? That's the way you get out of a mistake?" At another point, Letterman fretted: "It's all about oil. That's why we're there. Big deal." When O'Reilly asserted that "it isn't 'We're a bad country, Bush is an evil liar.' That's not true," Letterman retorted that "I didn't say we were a bad country. I didn't say he was an evil liar" and charged: "You're putting words in my mouth just the way you put artificial facts in your head." AUDIO&VIDEO


Lynne Cheney on CNN: 'Why Are You Running
Terrorist Propaganda?'

During an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer aired twice on Friday's The Situation Room and again on Sunday's Late Edition, Second Lady Lynne Cheney turned the tables on the cable network and bluntly asked if Blitzer wanted the U.S. to win in Iraq: "What is CNN doing running terrorist tape of terrorist shooting Americans? I mean, I thought Duncan Hunter asked you a very good question and you didn't answer it. Do you want us to win?"


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Blitzer replied: "The answer, of course, is we want the United States to win. We are Americans. There's no doubt about it. You think we want terrorists to win?"

The Vice President's wife was referring to an October 23 segment with Congressman Duncan Hunter, in which he criticized the network for airing footage of insurgents killing Americans. Mrs. Cheney, who appeared live during the 5pm EDT hour of the October 27 edition of The Situation Room (a segment re-run in the 7pm hour), continued her harsh analysis of CNN. "Why," she wondered, "are you running terrorist propaganda?"

[This item is adopted from a Friday night posting, with video, by Scott Whitlock on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The audio/video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media clip or to listen to the MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]

An October 24 CyberAlert item recounted:

Feeling the heat from critics in Washington and across the country over airing sniper video handed to it by an Iraqi terrorist group called the Islamic Army of God, CNN offered air time to Congressman Duncan Hunter on Monday's 5pm EDT edition of The Situation Room. Wolf Blitzer interviewed Hunter, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and CNN military analyst Gen. David Grange, but if the General was brought in to debate Hunter, it backfired. Grange ended up agreeing with Hunter that the U.S. media helps the insurgents: "They are winning the information warfare front. You can argue that our -- our -- the media in the United States supports that somewhat." Blitzer framed CNN's Sniper Theatre by asking Hunter "Do the American people have a right to know what war is like?" Hunter replied: "Wolf, the American people aren't made out of cotton candy. They understand, when you see 2,791 battlefield deaths, that people are killed, and they are killed in bad ways."

For more: www.mrc.org

A transcript of the October 27 Cheney/Blitzer exchange:

Lynne Cheney: "I'm hear to talk about my book. But if you want to talk about distortion-"
Wolf Blitzer: "We'll talk about your book."
Cheney: "Right, But what is CNN doing running terrorist tape of terrorist shooting Americans? I mean, I thought Duncan Hunter asked you a very good question and you didn't answer it. Do you want us to win?"
Blitzer: "The answer, of course, is we want the United States to win. We are Americans. There's no doubt about it. You think we want terrorists to win?"
Cheney: "Then why are you running, why are you running terrorist propaganda?"
Blitzer: "With all due respect, with all due respect, this is not terrorist propaganda."
Cheney: "Oh, Wolf!"
Blitzer: "This is, this is reporting the news which is what we do. We're not partisan."
Cheney: "Where did you get the film?"
Blitzer: "We got the film, look, this is an issue that has been widely discussed. This is an issue that we reported on extensively. We make no apologies for showing that. That was a very carefully considered decision why we did that. And I think, and I think that if you're-"
Cheney: "Well, I think it's shocking."
Blitzer: "-If you're a serious journalist, you want to report the news. Sometimes the news is good, sometimes the news isn't so good."
Cheney: "But Wolf, there's a difference between news and terrorist propaganda. Why, why are you giving the terrorists a forum?"
Blitzer: "And if you put it in context, if you put it in context, that's what news is. We said it was propaganda. We didn't distort where we got it. We didn't distort anything about it. We gave it the context."

Amazon.com's page for Cheney's new book, which she and Blitzer did eventually get around to, Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America: www.amazon.com

CNN Promotes Bush Assassination Flick
-- for Free

CNN's American Morning devoted four minutes of air time, and free advertising, to a faux documentary that includes a digitally created assassination of George W. Bush. The network, which has refused to air commercials for the controversial Death of a President movie, instead featured the film's director on the Friday edition of its morning show. Anchor Miles O'Brien opened the interview with some free promotion in the form of a 13 second clip of the movie. The film's director, Gabriel Range, certainly understood the benefit of what a CNN appearance offered him. He explained late in the interview: "I think the distributor, New Market, are keen to -- they've got the film out in a lot of theaters. And they're very confident that it will reach a wide audience. I hope the fact you and I are talking about it today will mean that a lot of people will want to see the film. I would say, it's not what you think. Judge it for yourself."

[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For a movie that centers around the murder of the President of the United States, O'Brien's tone throughout the October 27 interview was extremely mild and genial. His first query during the segment, which aired at 8:53am EDT, seemed to fit the definition of a softball question: "A controversial new film, a faux documentary, portrays the fictional assassination of President George Bush. The Death of a President opens in U.S. theaters on Friday. But some theater chains are refusing to show the film."

After a 13 second video clip from the film, O'Brien picked up: "Gabriel Range is the director of the film. He joins us now. Good to have you with us, Gabriel."
Range: "Good to be here."
O'Brien: "Why did you make this movie?"
Range: "I think imagining the assassination of President Bush just struck me as being a very potent and very striking way of posing some questions about the way the war on terror has been handled, about some of the consequences of, of the last five years, really."

The CNN anchor then shifted the discussion to one of the film's plot points, a subplot which seemed to implicate Dick Cheney in some nefarious act:
O'Brien: "In this case, for example, there is a suspect who is a Syrian national, who is singled out, arrested and put on death row. As part of this, Vice President, in this movie becomes the President, Cheney, tries to focus blame on this person for other reasons. Explain that, that little plot line there."
Range: "Well, there's certainly a sense in which, in the last few years, many of the terror suspects have certainly been held up by the current administration as poster boys for terrorism. That, in part, has been out of a desire to create the sense that the war is here in America, that we are fighting this war, that it's a war that is being fought in every American city. And so in a way, the, the experiences of this particular character in the film, the Syrian character, are in some way inspired by the experiences of some real life terror cases. The film is fictional. But pretty much every twist and turn is inspired in some way by real life events."

Again, O'Brien didn't appear to have a problem with the fact that these are real people and the film apparently implicates Vice President Cheney with some sort of a smear against a Syrian character. Remember how enraged the media became over Ann Coulter's comments about the 9/11 widows? And yet, the CNN host was positively serene in discussing this film's fictional murder of President Bush and other twists.

O'Brien followed up by challenging the movie in a very mild way, wondering if the director thought he was being "fair" and "responsible."

O'Brien: "All of it put together, along with the combination of trying to weave this altogether, some voice interpretations makes it all seem very real. Is it, is it fair to do that to people? To, to take things completely out of context, rework them, pop them into a fictional thing like this?"
Range: "Well, I think I wanted to make a film that absolutely felt like a world that you would recognize, a world that we live in. It was very important, for example, to make the film about the assassination of President Bush, rather than about the assassination of a fictional President. Precisely because I wanted the film to feel like a world we recognize. Although it is set in the near future, and although it is fiction, it is very much, I hope, about some of the issues that really have come to the fore in the course of the last five years. So, I, I think, I think it's telling a story in this particular style, I think is, makes the audience react to it in a very different way to, you know, a regular narrative piece of drama."
O'Brien: "Do you think what you're doing is responsible? Does this inspire, perhaps, somebody who might wish to do harm to the President?"
Range: "I think anyone who sees the film, there is no way in which this film can be seen as an incitement to commit an act of violence. The assassination is portrayed as a horrific event, with terrible consequences. And I really, really think the film explores, more than anything, the sort of pernicious effects of violence. I don't think it could inspire anyone to commit this, this act."

O'Brien did not follow-up with any of his questions. Range said that it is fair to take existing quotes and audio clips out of context. Shouldn't O'Brien have pressed the filmmaker a little more on this issue? We are, after all, talking about a realistic looking "documentary" that features footage of the murder of a sitting President.

O'Brien closed his interview by questioning whether theaters that pull the movie will ultimately end up helping its cause:
"Some of these theaters that have said no to your film, in the end all the buzz surrounding this, I guess that might be good for business, huh?"
Range: "Well, I think the distributor, New Market, are keen to -- they've got the film out in a lot of theaters. And they're very confident that it will reach a wide audience. So, I hope the fact you and I are talking about it today will mean that a lot of people will want to see the film. I would say, it's not what you think. Judge it for yourself."
O'Brien: "Gabriel Range, the director of the film. Thank you very much for your time."
Range: "Thank you."
O'Brien then acknowledged: "And we should tell you, CNN has decided not to air commercials for Death of a President because of the extreme nature of the movie's subject matter."

Geraldo Rivera Delivers Rambling Rant
Against Republicans

On Thursday night's syndicated Fox show, Geraldo at Large, Geraldo Rivera went on a rambling rant on issues meant to motivate Democrats to the polls and then urged his viewers: "Don't forget to vote." Rivera railed against the President's signing of the "dumb" and "dishonest," immigration bill, the "outrageous" RNC ad against Harold Ford, "meant to stir up racist fears," and even repeated his charge about a Big Oil price conspiracy.

See the October 27 CyberAlert item, "Geraldo Rivera Fuels Gas Price 'Pimping' Conspiracy," online at: www.mrc.org

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following is the entire October 26 commentary from Rivera that, with the exception of his reference to Madonna, focused on anti-Republican themes:
"With the election just two weeks away and Republicans in danger of losing their control of Congress, President Bush buckled today, holding his nose and signing a really dumb, maybe even dishonest, bill, authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border. That meaningless and inflammatory legislation is just one of the things really bugging me today."
Clip of Jay Leno: "Actually they were testing this virtual fence along the Mexican-U.S. border. In fact we have footage of them testing the virtual fence. Ellen turn on the camera, okay now watch. You see, now you see, there, now see there's the guy. He's trying to get in."
Rivera: "Leno's right Mr. President, it's a bunch of bull. This bill is nothing more than a desperate grab for the Minuteman vote. It doesn't even authorize a single dime to actually build the damn fence, which I consider an insult to every Hispanic person in the country. It's just a ploy to give anti-immigration candidates a meaningless accomplishment to brag about. What happened Mr. President to your much more humane and balanced immigration reform policy? Did your advisers convince you that compassion doesn't pay? And speaking of compassion."
Clip of Madonna: "I feel like the media is doing a great disservice to all the orphans of Africa, period."
Rivera: "Another thing bugging me today is the fury over Madonna's adoption of the little African kid. How many critics really gave any though to children like David before Madonna stepped up to the plate? The only critique I have is her phony accent."
Madonna: "And because I'm financing a documentary about orphans in Malawi-"
Rivera: "Does having a British husband make all blue-collar chicks from Michigan sound like Princess Di? And talking about chicks, did you check out the slutty bleached-blonde with the bare shoulders hired by the Republican National Committee to smear the Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford down in Tennessee?
Woman in ad: "Harold, call me!"
Rivera: "The outrageous ad is obviously designed to stir up racist fears about black men and white women as Congressman Ford campaigns to become Tennessee's first black Senator since Reconstruction. And finally it's gas prices again. Hyped up during the summer to over $3.00 a gallon. Well today ExxonMobil, which last year reported the biggest annual profit of any company in U.S. history reported the second highest quarterly profit in American history. I ask the same thing I did yesterday, if you owned a Big Oil company wouldn't you sacrifice a little short-term profit to get politicians friendly to Big Oil elected two weeks from now?"
Unidentified man: "Profit is not a dirty word."
Rivera: "Don't forget to vote. That's it for us, until next time, thanks for watching."

Nets Ignore Webb Novel Sex, But Giggled
at Steamy Gingrich Lines

For those people with short memories who think the passages, in Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb's novels, with lusty or just strange sexual episodes have no place in political news, clearly do not remember the Newt Gingrich Bodice-Ripper as it broke to liberal media jokes in December of 1994. Webb's strange passages drew no attention on the network morning shows Friday (nor the evening shows), unlike the liberal Gingrich fun in 1994.

For a peek at Webb's novels, check this CNSNews.com story: www.cnsnews.com

[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

A look back at 1994 media interest in Newt Gingrich's novel:

-- CNN ended its afternoon show Inside Politics on December 1, 1994 with this exchange between anchors Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff on the enterprising New York Times:

Shaw: "Well, Gingrich is taking a sense of history into a new surprising realm. He's co-authoring a novel about World War II at its aftermath. Gingrich describes it as 'historical science fiction,' but others might categorize it as a sexy potboiler, at least based on an excerpt obtained by the New York Times. Now one passage reads -- and let me emphasize I'm quoting now -- 'Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress. She rolled onto to him and somehow was sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. 'Tell me, or I will make you do terrible things,' she hissed.' What are political watchers to make of this offering from the speaker-in-waiting and a proponent of family values? Well, incoming Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole was asked for his comments today."
Sen. Bob Dole: "I haven't had a chance to read the book. Is it out?"
Journalist: "It's not. He's working on it."
Sen. Dole: "Oh. Well, I better let him work on it."
Journalist: "But you think '€" do you think it's the proper thing for someone to be doing in his capacity?" [laughter]
Sen. Dole: "Well, a lot of people write books. I've written one or two. They never sold. Not novels but- I don't have any comment on that. I'm not even certain I'll have time to read it."
Shaw: "For the record we should note that though Gingrich acknowledges writing the book, we could not get him to confirm or comment on the steamy excerpts."
Woodruff: "Historical science fiction."
Shaw: "Athwart."
Woodruff: "No comment. That's all for this edition of Inside Politics. I'm Judy Woodruff."


-- On December 2, CBS This Morning took it up, complete with wisecrack about that liberal bane, the Contract with America, and they cited the Washington Post:

Harry Smith, co-host: "It's 10 minutes until the hour. Forget the Republican Contract With America. Incoming House Speaker Newt Gingrich has another literary effort up his sleeve, a novel that asks the question: What would have happened if Hitler had never declared war with -- had declared war with the United States? The book's not out until next year, but The Washington Post has published some excerpts."
Co-host Paula Zahn was the reader: "Wait till you hear some of these. Now this passage is just as Newt Gingrich and his co-author wrote it. 'Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the huntress. She rolled onto him and somehow was sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. "Tell me, or will I make you do terrible things," she hissed.'"
Smith added his own passage: "And there's this: 'Even though it had been only minutes since their last lovemaking, John Mayhew was as ever overwhelmed by the sight of her, the shameless pleasure she took in her own body and its effect on him. Since he wasn't sure what to say, he made a production out of lighting up and enjoying that first, luxurious after-bout inhalation.'"
Zahn: "That's the way you talk, right?"
Smith: "That's a cigarette, I think."
Zahn: "Yeah, right."
Smith: "That's a cigarette, I think."
Zahn: "And we should point out that Congressman Newt Gingrich has asked his publisher to tone down the language a bit to make it more PG 13 than R, but it's funny. The publisher is describing the sex scenes as -- on the Walt Disney level, sometimes maybe a little more."
Smith: "There is also a reference in the manuscript to Lieutenant George Bush, quite a guy in his goofy way. And Gingrich says the publisher put that in and he's asking that it be removed."
Zahn: "What a read."
Smith: "There you go."
Zahn: "Be out sometime in the spring."
Smith: "So it'll be interesting to see which ends up being the better seller, the Contract for America or the novel."
Zahn: "Oh, I think the novel probably will be. Let's see."

The passages were also a natural for CNN's The Capital Gang on December 3. This is mainly included because Mark Shields pulls out a wonkish funny:
Margaret Carlson: "Thanks, Mark. Newt Gingrich has been busy reclaiming the government for 'normal Americans', but he hasn't been too busy to write steamy passages like this in his novel. 'Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the huntress. She rolled onto him and was sitting athwart his chest.'"
Robert Novak: "Athwart."
Carlson: "You know what that means, don't you Bob? This sounds like something out of Playboy, not for Mr. Family Values, who preaches that counterculture McGoverniks have ruined the country's morals. The pouting sex kitten? What about bad writing?"
Shields: "Margaret, now in defense of Newt Gingrich, now we know what he means by dynamic scoring after you read that book."

(Let's diagram that for a second for those of you who don't enjoy tax-policy debates. "Dynamic scoring" takes economic growth into account in projecting revenue after tax cuts.)


-- A few weeks later, on December 19, 1994, CBS's Eric Engberg, the man who called Gingrich "bombastic and ruthless" before the election, was back for more sarcasm badly disguised as reporting:
"In his own writing, Gingrich has been unrelentingly serious using such topics as the future of civilization. His riveting doctoral dissertation was entitled 'Belgian Education Policy in the Congo, 1945-1960,' from which I quote, 'There has been no new synthesis, although it is conceivable that the next generation will see a tentative national culture emerge among the elite minority.' A real page turner.
"And now admirers of the Gingrich literary touch can look forward to his newest book, due out next fall. It opens in 1945 in a luxury hotel room -- actually, it's a secret love nest just blocks from the White House. 'Even though it had been only minutes since their last lovemaking, John Mayhew was, as ever, overwhelmed by the sight of her.' Gingrich, you see, is cranking out a novel, complete with a steamy bedroom scene. 'Suddenly, the pouting sex kitten' -- pouting sex kitten? -- 'gave way to Diana, the Huntress.' You get the idea. The novel, titled 1945, pretends Hitler and his Nazis avoided war with America while conquering Europe. A beautiful German spy slips into Washington, seduces the White House chief of staff and steals the secret of the atom bomb. So Hitler attacks the Oak Ridge nuclear plant, but is thwarted by the heroic Sergeant York of World War I fame. Weird? Improbable? Perhaps. But then who would buy a novel about a professor-turned-congressman who leads his party to victory for the first time in 40 years and becomes speaker of the House? Couldn't happen. Eric Engberg, CBS News, Washington."

Engberg's story was replayed on This Morning on the next day, December 20.

Months later, on February 23, 1995, ABC's prime-time magazine show Day One took up the novel with Barbara Walters and Sam Donaldson. Notice that Barbara tries to say the plot says something disturbing about Gingrich:

Forrest Sawyer: "We're joined now by Barbara Walters and Sam Donaldson. They'll be dropping by from time to time to share their thoughts. And tonight they are offering us a sneak preview of a racy new novel that's come out of Washington. But it's not the novel that's so surprising. It's the guy who wrote it."
Donaldson: "Barbara, a publisher sent us excerpts today of a new book that's going to be out in August and I'd like to read you a little bit of it."
Walters: Why are your eyes suddenly glowing?
Donaldson: "Oh, it is the steamiest thing! Listen to this.
Walters: "Cannot wait."
Donaldson: "'Suddenly, the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana, the Huntress. She rolled onto him and somehow was sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. "Tell me or I will make you do terrible things," she hissed.' Have you ever heard anything like that?"
Walters: "Well, I would say that it was Sidney Sheldon, except he wouldn't write 'athwart his chest.'"
Donaldson: "This piece of fiction is written, as you know, by Newt Gingrich, who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Now, what do you think of that?"
Walters: "And it's fiction, right?"
Donaldson: "Well, I hope so! I mean, that's the kind of question that even I wouldn't ask the speaker."
Walters: "But you know what, Sam? You can tell a lot from fiction, don't you think? I mean, what someone writes-"
Donaldson: "Sometimes."
Walters: "Okay. The chief character, this woman who is athwart -- the line that I love -- is supposedly the mistress to the chief of staff, writes Newt Gingrich. Okay? And this is a man who talks about 'family values' and yet he's written a potboiler about someone who is a mistress?"
Donaldson: "This may just be escapism for Newt Gingrich. I mean, here's a serious man and everybody sort of takes him seriously, no matter what side of the aisle you're on. And this is the way he what, lets off steam?"
Walters: "In summary, Sam, you have read all eight chapters? Yeah? Give me your instant book review."
Donaldson: "Barbara, this is an instant classic which will be draped athwart the speaker's neck by his opponents in every election he runs in from now on."
Walters: "If he had only changed 'athwart.' Thank you. We now have, Mr. Gingrich, your first bona fide book review."


NBC transcripts are not in Nexis, and I didn't find any in our archives yet. Newsweek jumped on it in 1994, and in the March 27, 1995 U.S. News & World Report, Senior Writer Gerald Parshall uncorked a related line, which ended up in 1995's Best of Notable Quotables:
"House Republicans denied any impropriety when they approved federal budget reductions of $17 billion and outlined $190 billion more, slashing programs that largely benefit women, children, and the poor, to pay for that 'pouting sex kitten' mistress of their dreams -- tax cuts."

So let's review: Newt's racy novels, hilarious even before they're published. Jim Webb's racy novels: just not "news."

O'Reilly's Round Two with Letterman Centers
on Iraq War

FNC's Bill O'Reilly returned to the Late Show on Friday night for round two with David Letterman over Iraq. In the show taped on Monday but not aired until Friday, Letterman expressed disgust with the war: "So we've made a mistake in war, so we stay there and kill as many Americans as we possibly can? That's the way you get out of a mistake?" At another point, Letterman fretted: "It's all about oil. That's why we're there. Big deal." When O'Reilly


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asserted that "it isn't 'We're a bad country, Bush is an evil liar.' That's not true," Letterman retorted that "I didn't say we were a bad country. I didn't say he was an evil liar" and charged: "You're putting words in my mouth just the way you put artificial facts in your head."

Unlike the January 3 confrontation, however, each time it seemed to get too personal, O'Reilly would always -- and Letterman sometimes too -- interject a humorous rejoinder to try to keep the interview from becoming too hard-edged. "We're really friends. This is all an act. We're buddies. We bowl," O'Reilly proposed in an effort to cut the tension.

For a look at the January session, check the January 4 CyberAlert, "David Letterman Denounces Iraq War and Criticism of Sheehan," posted with video: www.mrc.org

In the months since January, Letterman didn't gain any admiration for O'Reilly, as evidenced by comments Letterman made on his Thursday night show. Letterman recalled: "The last time he was on the show I caught him lying. And I said to myself, well you better do something, you just can't sit here and let this guy lie, so I jumped all over him and there was a bit of a dust-up." Letterman also revealed his strategy for the interview conducted Monday which viewers would see on Friday: "He's a blowhard, I'll be a blowhard too. So when he comes out what I do is I attack him. And I just make a fool of myself and, of course, I have no idea what I'm talking about and neither does he."

[This item was posted late Friday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. The audio/video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media clip or to listen to the MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]

The Late Show Web site has posted (on its "Big Show Highlights" page) a 3:39 streaming Real video of the Letterman-O'Reilly encounter: www.cbs.com

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down some highlights from the segment on the October 27 Late Show with David Letterman:

David Letterman: "So we've made a mistake in war, so we stay there and kill as many Americans as we possibly can? That's the way you get out of a mistake?"
Bill O'Reilly: "No, what you do is you try to maximize-"
Letterman: "And do you honestly believe, irrespective-"
O'Reilly: "Are you going to let me answer?"
Letterman: "I don't care. Irrespective, irrespective of what the, oh sure, help yourself." [referring to O'Reilly drinking water]
O'Reilly: "Thank you. We're really friends. This is all an act. We're buddies. We bowl."
Letterman: "But irrespective, irrespective of what the United States, let's say, to your way of thinking, the United States prevails militarily in Iraq."
O'Reilly: "Right."
Letterman: "How long do you think stability in that part of the world will last?"
O'Reilly: "It's impossible to say, but-"
Letterman: "Well, then, would it have been worth it? If it's stable for the next thousand years, then George Bush is a genius. Is that going to happen? Is it going to be stable for another thousand years?"
O'Reilly: "How do I know? Am I Carnac here or what?"
Letterman: "What's your best guess?"
O'Reilly: "What I'm trying to tell you is-"
Letterman: "What is your best guess?"
O'Reilly: "I don't know. What I'm trying to tell you is the geopolitics in the world we live in is incredibly complicated. The reason to go into Iraq was WMDs with a mad dictator, okay?"
Letterman: "We've established this."
O'Reilly: "That was the reason. It was wrong. If we could go back in a time machine, we wouldn't do it."
Letterman: "But how does staying there killing more and more Americans make it right? How do you make a right decision out of a wrong decision? It looks to me like the country is going to fall apart anyway regardless of what people do. Do you think stability will prevail over there?"
O'Reilly: "Look, Dave, if you, if you get out of Iraq and leave it in chaos, Iran comes in, takes over, all right, and then we basically have a 10 times worse situation because the oil flow then goes under the jihadists in Iran. You want to debate geopolitics with me? Do you really?"
Letterman: "So there it is. It's all about oil? You just answered the question."
O'Reilly: "Absolutely. It's all about oil. The whole world is about oil."
Letterman: "That's right. It's all about oil. That's why we're there. Big deal."

...

O'Reilly: "Do you know what Ansar al-Islam is? Do you know what that is? You don't. All right, I'm not saying this in a condescending way. I'm really not, okay? I'm not going to call you a bonehead or a pinhead, all right? Ansar al-Islam was the al-Qaeda affiliate in northern Iraq that tried to poison the British water supply with ricin. They operated with Saddam Hussein's okay. Again, complicated, but it isn't so black and white, Dave. It isn't 'We're a bad country, Bush is an evil liar.' That's not true."
Letterman: "I didn't say we were a bad country. I didn't say he was an evil liar."
O'Reilly: "Good."
Letterman: "You're putting words in my mouth just the way you put artificial facts in your head."
O'Reilly: "All right. We're really friends. Give me one artificial fact."
Letterman: "Where are you going to be for Thanksgiving?"
O'Reilly: "At your house. We're coming over as we always do. This is an act. This whole thing is a big act."
Letterman: "But honestly, I mean, you've raised some points, but the truth of it is a reasonable person can't believe what you're saying."
O'Reilly: "No, that's ridiculous."
Letterman: "No, no, no. It is."
O'Reilly: "That's absurd."
Letterman: "No, no. It is. It is."
O'Reilly: "That's a totally absurdity. We have the highest ratings in cable for the last five years."
Letterman: "Then how come I can't find the damn show?"

...

O'Reilly: "Anyway, did you enjoy Culture Warrior, though?"
Letterman: "I haven't read the book."
O'Reilly: "You really haven't read it? Come on, you're going to love it, you're in the book."
Letterman: "I know. I looked at it, I thought, 'What is he, what is this, a book about sailing?' And then I said, I said, 'No, I don't, I don't need that.'"
O'Reilly: "You'll like the book, Dave."
Letterman: "I'm sure I will."
O'Reilly: "It's full of artificial facts. You'll love it."
Letterman: "Oh, gosh, where has the time gone? I appreciate you coming over here and indulging me because, you know, once again, I'll just end up by saying I have no idea what I'm talking about. But I don't think you do either."
O'Reilly: "You're entitled to your opinion. We're in America."

-- Brent Baker