'I Don't Fear Them. I Loathe Them'

J$P Instant Transcript! Jed Babbin and David Kline (author of Blog!) discuss political smear websites with Mr Bill O'Reilly.

From The O'Reilly Factor, October 4 2005:

BILL O'REILLY [FOX NEWS]: In the Unresolved Problem segment tonight, political smear sites. They operate on both sides of the political spectrum. There are no rules. These people will do and say pretty much anything to harm people with whom they disagree politically. The trend started back in the Clinton-Lewinsky days, and now thousands of bloggers are operating, throwing dirt all over the place. Now they're not all bad. Some of these bloggers are good, accurate watchdogs. But there are plenty of awful ones. Joining us now in Portland Oregon is David Kline, author of the book Blog! How the Newest Media Revolution Is Changing Politics, Business, and Culture. In Washington, Jed Babbin, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, who was slimed recently by the vile Media Matters outfit. I think they're the worst, although Smoking Gun is awful. But Media Matters, this is a George Soros funded thing. They got a lot of money. They have no ethics or scruples. And what did they do to you, Mr Babbin?

JED BABBIN: Well it was fairly typical of what they always do. They disagreed with something I said on television that was about the Iraq War, and the fact that we did not find Saddam's weapons of mass destruction proved absolutely nothing about whether he had them before the war. Because we gave him six months to fiddle and diddle with them, and Charles Dulfur's report probably shows that they were taken somewhere else, perhaps into Syria. Basically, by the time that I got home, they had somehow found my email address and posted it on their website saying that I was a liar. And I'd gotten, I don't know, 100, 150 emails, all on the basic eloquence level of liar, liar, pants on fire.

O'REILLY: Yeah, I get that. So they violated your privacy by putting out your personal email address. And then the zombies that feed off the trough of these people, wrote pretty much the identical email. Because I get identical emails, that's what I get. So they pretty much identical--these zombies can't even think for themselves. They have to tell them what to write, correct?

BABBIN: Exactly. It's kind of a, it's a little boy's Lord of the Flies kind of atmosphere in some of these things. And they don't want to be civilized, so they aren't. But they're really not very efficient or effective, and they're more of a nuisance than anything else.

O'REILLY: Well no, I have to disagree with you. I think Soros, his money that goes in and hires these assassins--

BABBIN: Oh sure.

O'REILLY: --does damage. I mean, these are the people who damaged Bennett, and they tried to damage me. I just want, before we get to you Mr Kline, I'll tell you a funny story. I had Phil Donahue on the air a couple weeks ago; I had a shootout with him. And I come in the next day and I've got a big stack of email, of course. And you can tell the ones that were generated by the crazy left-wing websites, because the wording was all the same. Here's the wording: we really like you, Bill, and are big fans of The Factor, but your treatment of Phil Donahue was-- Every one was worded the same. And even the misspellings were the same. Now I don't know what crazy website it came from, but it did come from one. Now how do you see it, Mr Kline? Are we overstating this?

DAVID KLINE: No. I think there are a lot of nut cases out there. I mean you have websites and political bloggers that believe that President Bush orchestrated the 9/11 attacks in order to deflect--

O'REILLY: Oh, you mean he didn't? That's what I've been hearing from Phil Donahue and Jeremy Glick and Michael Moore--

KLINE: Well there are also--

O'REILLY: --that he orchestrated it. You mean he didn't? That's not true?

KLINE: Well there are also bloggers out there who believe that President Clinton had Vince Foster assassinated.

O'REILLY: Oh absolutely.

KLINE: These people, five years ago, they would meet in a local Marriott hotel conference room somewhere and order pizza. But now with the internet, they've got reach, they've got access to thousands, thousands of people.

O'REILLY: But here's the dangerous thing. They also have access to the major newspapers like the New York Times, the LA Times, the New York Daily News, Newsday, Washington Post. They have certain columnist that they are friendly with, and they spit this stuff right into those columnists Mr Babbin, do they not?

BABBIN: Oh absolutely. I mean, we're really in a situation now where, Bill, five or ten years ago we had what was called a news cycle. And people waited an hour or two or twelve before putting something in print or on the air. Right now there is no news cycle. Everything is instantaneous, whether it's on television, on the internet, or anywhere else. And reporters in some cases get pretty lazy. They take uncorroborated stuff right off of a website and put it out on the air or in a newspaper, and it's garbage.

O'REILLY: Absolutely. And they print it. And you know how they get around it? Then they call you for comment. They print the slander and they print all the defamation, and then they call you for comment.

BABBIN: Oh of course, and it's all--

O'REILLY: Then it's, that makes it OK. Go ahead, Mr Kline.

KLINE: Well I think maybe we should take a different tack on this. I mean, let's not be babies about the partisanship. The kind of partisanship that you see on the web with these blogs, yeah some of it's vicious. Some of it's just loony. But it's not all that different than what used to go on in the media before the advent of corporate media. I mean, most people before World War II grew up with 10, 15, 20 newspapers, all with different points of view. And what's interesting about those times, and I think we're going back to those times with a very partisan media, is that the electorate was much more engaged. And people were much more involved in the democratic process. They argued, but they were at the same time more civil.

O'REILLY: Here's the danger. You know, you're making a good point. You've got a big variety of voices out there. It's better than just the New York Times and the network news strangling people and ramming this stuff down their throat.

KLINE: That's right.

O'REILLY: Absolutely valid; excellent point. But here's the problem. These people are so vicious and the media is so corrupt in taking their uncorroborated, as Mr Babbin pointed out, defamation, that most people now won't run for office, sir. They won't do television and radio commentary. They won't put the--when we had to book this segment, I couldn't get people to come on and say what you guys are saying, because they were afraid that Media Matters would go after them. I couldn't--I had people turn down this segment, a bunch of them. What are you crazy? I'm going to criticize these assassins? They'll come after me. And that's a chilling effect.

KLINE: Well you notice I'm not naming names here, right? I mean, I don't want to get stalked.

O'REILLY: You see, you don't want to get stalked either. So put yourself in a position of somebody running for office, or somebody trying to do an honest analysis of the news, and they don't want to do it. Go ahead Mr Babbin, take the last word.

BABBIN: Well basically, you can't be afraid of these people, because the facts are what they are, and they're easily answered whenever they take these cheap shots. I mean, I'm not scared of those guys; I don't think anybody else should be.

O'REILLY: Nah, they can make stuff up. Look, they make up stuff about me every day.


O'REILLY: Every day of my life. And believe me, I've got to have bodyguards, I've got to have security wherever I go. And it's because of them. I don't fear them. I loathe them. Gentlemen, thank you very much.

posted: Tue - October 4, 2005 at 09:16 PM       j$p  send