To watch "The Talking Points Memo" in the Screening Room click here.
Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight.
I made a mistake yesterday. Can you believe it? That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.
For those of you who say I'm never wrong, I never admit I'm wrong, well, you're wrong, because I was wrong when I said that Americans who continue demonstrating against the war once the shooting begins are being un-American. I'm taking that back.
The word un-American implies some kind of lasting stigma and is a word of intimidation. Thus it is the wrong word to use in this scenario.
People who lawfully dissent should never be labeled un-American. Instead, I will call those who publicly criticize our country in a time of military crisis, which this is, bad Americans and it is my constitutional right to make that judgment and you are free to agree or disagree. You can call me a bad American for making the judgment.
If a baseball player consistently makes errors, I will call that person a bad baseball player and be accurate for doing so.
If American military men and women are putting their lives on the line for their country, they deserve our support, even if you don't agree with the cause. Think about this -- some of us actively fighting to remove Saddam Hussein don't agree with the cause themselves, but they're doing their duty.
And it is our duty as loyal Americans to shut up once the fighting begins, unless -- unless facts prove the operation wrong, as was the case in Vietnam.
Right now we have only opinions about the war. The facts will be known after Saddam is deposed and we find out exactly what he's been hiding, if anything.
So I said that a loyal American should hold on to sincere opinions but should exercise responsibility in expressing them if it hurts the morale of our troops or gives aid and comfort to the enemy.
Later on this evening, we'll report on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the right of pro-life demonstrators to block abortion clinics without being charged with a federal crime as the National Organization of Women wanted.
And the same holds true for anti-war demonstrators. They should not be punished for any legal display, even in a time of war. But I have a right to consider them bad Americans. And I will.
Sometimes loyalty is trying, sometimes the benefit of the doubt has to be given to your country or a friend, especially when all the facts are not known. We all have a responsibility to this country and to our fellow citizens, including military people.
If our government goes after Saddam, we should all come together and help any way we can.
And that's The Memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...
As you may know, your humble correspondent has been a critic of the rap industry, and, tonight, on The Pulse, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on the FOX network, not the FOX News Channel, the FOX network, I interview the mother of thug rapper Eminem. I believe you'll want to see this.
Anyway, rap mogul Russell Simmons actually said something nice about me today, which could be beyond ridiculous.
Said Simmons, "Bill O'Reilly took a good shot. You know I respect him. He says what he means. He's got an opinion, and he has every right to that opinion."
Well, hey, I appreciate that, Russell. I wish everyone understood the country the way that you do.
--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: email@example.com
Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly.