Facing the facts is the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo. Leonard Gawlick, who lives in Buena Park, California, e-mailed me. "O'Reilly, was it me, or did Bill Press get your goat last night?"
Well, he did get my goat, Mr. Gawlick, and I hope that goat gives him a good swift kick. That interview with Mr. Press, the liberal guy on CNN's Crossfire, was one of those rare moments on television when the truth rises up like a grizzly bear and lets out a tremendous roar.
Bill Press flat-out believes that all opinion and commentary is spin, that any expressed belief is relative, that there is no fact-based opinion there is irrefutable.
Mr. Press said that on the Fox News Channel, and he said that we are shills for the right wing. And everything that is done here can be dismissed as conservative spinning.
Now, I understand what a hard-core ideologue Bill Press is, but that opinion, and he sincerely believes it, is so misguided and intellectually dangerous it makes me boil.
What Bill Press and others like him do is to attempt to diminish anyone who does not think the way they do. I've always said it is perfectly fine to be a conservative or a liberal if you are able to keep an open mind about the facts of a situation, if you allow yourself the freedom to be persuaded by a logical fact-based argument.
Americans both on the left and the right who do not do that are not advancing the cause of freedom. The scary thing is that there are legions of Bill Presses in the national media. Almost every time an article is written about me, I see the words "conservative," or "combative," or "acerbic" in front of my name. That's code for, Hey, you don't have to take this guy seriously.
On Tuesday, we presented a story that said Senator Hillary Clinton has not attended any of the funerals of everyday victims of 9/11. The critical mail poured in. You don't like Hillary, they wailed, leave her alone.
Nobody challenged the accuracy of the story. Same thing happened with Jesse Jackson when we presented evidence that he has used nonprofit money for his personal needs. Story's not being disputed, but some supporters of Jackson dismiss the situation simply because they don't like hearing about it.
Bill Press fosters that kind of narrow thinking because nothing is definite for him, everything is spin. There are no facts, no right and wrong. It's all how we should feel, not what we should know.
At the end of The No Spin Zone book, I list my positions on a variety of different issues and ask the reader to try and put a label on me. It's an interesting exercise. But I'll tell you one thing, The Factor has become an enormous success on television by holding all the powerful people in this country accountable for what they do. Nobody skates. Just ask George Pataki or Tom DeLay about my right-wing sympathies. You'll get a big laugh from them.
What Bill Press will never understand, and the reason he will never win in TV news, is that most Americans are fair people, and they think for themselves. They despise the ideological spin that Press embraces. Most Americans are ready for a no spin zone, and now they've got one.
And that's the memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."
I think Arthel covered the ridiculous item, so we'll go right to the mail.
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