After dueling editorial comments about each other earlier in the week, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and CNN host Howard Kurtz finally sat down Wednesday night to hash out their dispute over whether O’Reilly got it wrong when he criticized NBC for failing to talk about Obama’s use of drones, on the very same day that NBC broke a major story about Obama’s use of drones.
O’Reilly on Wednesday refused to walk back his inaccurate claim, insisting he was actually just talking about NBC’s political “analysis,” not NBC’s coverage in general, when he remarked to Fox News host Bob Beckel on Feb. 6, “You haven’t heard anything over there about this, neither have I, neither has my staff.”
“Bill, I’ve already won this round on points,” Kurtz said. “Because on your show the other day with Bernie Goldberg, you said, ‘Yes, I guess I should have mentioned [the NBC story].’ The NBC scoop was the elephant in the room that kick started this debate.”
“I said to Goldberg I should have mentioned it only because it would have avoided all this nonsense,” O’Reilly replied. “Not because it was done in a journalistic way. We weren’t talking about reportage.”
While Kurtz agreed with O’Reilly’s “broader point” that many liberal commentators give the president a pass on using drones to kill people in countries the U.S. is not at war with, he stuck to his guns on O’Reilly’s error.
“That was just a very mild, carefully chosen critique of your performance,” he said. “I have done segment after segment going back to 2007 and 2008 on whether the media are too favorable, too sympathetic to Barack Obama. The fact that the drone issue, which conservatives of course support…”
O’Reilly cut him off, insisting it’s pure “hypocrisy” for liberals to criticize the use of waterboarding but not object to using remotely controlled aircraft to drop bombs. “You know it and I know it and so does everybody watching,” he said.
“That might be true of commentators,” Kurtz began.
“Might be true, Howard?!” O’Reilly screamed back. “Might be true?”
“Hold on, let me finish a sentence here,” Kurtz replied. “It probably is true with commentators who are marching in solidarity with Barack Obama, but it is not true for many in the mainstream media who, while very soft in the 2008 presidential campaign, have been very diligent in covering this president.”
This video is from “The O’Reilly Factor,” aired Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013.
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