There's no question that cable news is changing the way stories are being covered in America, and that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.
Twenty-two years ago this month, Senator Edward Kennedy made worldwide headlines in the Chappaquiddick incident where a young woman named Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in a car the senator was driving.
Ms. Kopechne worked for the senator. Some investigators believe the relationship went further than that. Kennedy was never charged in the incident, and what exactly happened remains unclear to this day.
The big three networks reported the story back then, but no pressure from them was put on Senator Kennedy. In fact, some of the coverage was even sympathetic to him.
Can you imagine if that story happened today? The cable outfits would go crazy, including Fox News Channel. Things would be much different for Senator Kennedy.
The Condit story is similar to the Chappaquiddick situation in that we don't know exactly happened to Chandra Levy, and we have a member of Congress right in the middle of it.
As we reported yesterday, Nightline and the CBS Evening News have ignored the story entirely, and ABC's World News Tonight has only done one report. So if the cable news networks did not exist, the pressure on Congressman Condit and the D.C. police would be at a minimum.
Talking Points believes the elite media is out of touch with the American people. The Condit story is about abuse of power and shoddy behavior by an elected official.
Most Americans understand the validity of the situation and see the bigger picture here. Apparently, some in the elite media don't see that picture.
As you know, the Fox News Channel and The Factor have come under fire from critics who understand our power is growing but don't understand why.
For example, in the Vanity Fair attack piece on Fox, James Wolcott disputes my contention that most Americans want the government out of their lives.
Wolcott writes, "Folks could get a might upset if a flood or tornado tore through their hamlet and federal assistance was slow to arrive while they were snoring on cots in the high school gym. The might flip their John Deere caps or pop their hair curlers if their Social Security checks or tax refunds failed to make it to the mailbox."
Notice the condescending tone. And, of course, Americans do expect the government to provide services the people have paid for in advance. What? The feds are going to do us a favor paying Social Security? Hasn't Wolcott ever heard of the payroll tax?
The belief that we poor schmoes are waiting for the government to rescue us or for the media to explain life to us is extremely prevalent among the elite media. They really believe that, and their news coverage is shaded by that belief.
But the truth is that most Americans are smart enough to know what is important and industrious enough to make it on their own. That's what we believe, and that's why the The Factor has risen to the top.
The American people need solid information so they can decide how best to make important decisions. They don't need media outlets censoring the Gary Condit story or pushing various agendas.
And that's the memo.
Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for the "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." Our pal Madonna is on a concert tour. Some of the tickets cost 125 bucks each. I know I will be getting a couple of dozen. Yeah.
Anyway, Madonna has decreed no freebies. Even her friends can't get them. According to "The New York Post," people like Elton John and Mick Jagger were stunned when they found out they had to pay for tickets. "The policy is simple," says Madonna's spokesperson Liz Rosenberg. "If you want a ticket, you have to pay."
Ridiculous? Not to Madonna. She's cleaning up $125 a pop.
— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points weeknights at 8 p.m. ET. And send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org