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Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

The New York Times versus Mel Gibson part two.  That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

It's safe to say that The Times is obsessed with trying to discredit Mel Gibson's (search) upcoming movie about the death of Jesus.  Even though the film will not be released until next year, it made the front page over the weekend and also was the subject of a vicious column [on Sunday, August 3] yesterday, where The Times writer accused Gibson of "Jew baiting."

Off course, the writer has not seen the movie and neither have I.  So I'm not going to comment on the film.  Also, since I am doing some business with  Gibson, I can't really be objective in the matter, but I do understand what's in play, the bigger picture, and it's very important to you.

A few months ago, The New York Times ran a piece in its Sunday magazine, quoting Gibson's elderly father, who has some very strange ideas, no question about that.  The story also pointed out that Gibson himself is a conservative Catholic who rejects the modernizing of the church.

So The Times connects some dots and presto, the anti-Semitism charge.  But the real agenda is that the secular "Times" and its allies simply do not want Gibson's film to have any credibility at all.  They've been trying to mount anger against it.

While the historical tension between Jews and Christians is a very serious subject, there is no way anyone can produce a film about Jesus without mentioning that some in the Jewish hierarchy at the time saw him as a threat.

There are two historical accounts of the execution of Jesus, one by the Jewish historian Josephus and the other by the Roman historian Tacitus.  Both confirm that Jesus was ordered crucified by the Roman Pontius Pilate.

Australian historian Barbara Thiering (search), an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls writes, "Pilate made sure of the will of the Jews, ascertaining several times over that they really wanted these three (Jesus and two others) executed.  Then, at 9 a.m., he ordered that the crucifixions be carried out."

American historian John Meyer (search), who intensely researched Jesus for a book, writes, "Arrested in Gethsemane on the night of April 6-7, he [Jesus] was first examined by some Jewish officials and then handed over to Pilate."

There's no question among most historians that Jesus had run afoul of some very powerful Jewish interests because of his preachings, but so what?    That's history.  Jesus himself and his apostles were all Jewish.  Many of the people who helped him were Jewish.  There are Jewish heroes and villains in the saga.

Criticizing Mel Gibson for producing a film on the execution of Jesus without first seeing the movie is intellectually dishonest and an example of witch-hunting that we've been talking about here on The Factor.  Gibson has been smeared and convicted without any sense of fairness whatsoever by The New York Times and others who fear his film.

I wonder when the first movie is made about 9/11 if The Times will  condemn it because it may put some Muslims in a bad light.  Certainly "The Times" has had a field day with the Catholic church scandal caused by a very few criminals embedded in the organization.

The big picture here is that secular interests like The Times simply do not want a spotlight on Jesus, who advocated a strict moral code.  The secularists are making the big gains these days, abortion for minors without parental consent in Florida, gay marriage initiatives, and a well-funded drug legalization lobby, just to name a few.

The more the secularists can hammer anything to do with religion or spirituality, the better it is for their non-judgmental agenda.  This whole campaign against Mel Gibson is disgraceful.  This is not the way a responsible press and society is supposed to behave.  Questions about the project are fine.  Demonizing attacks are not. 

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

Those who live by the press often die by the press.  That seems to be the case with Jennifer Lopez (search) and her boyfriend, Ben Affleck (search), whose new movie Gigli is an atomic bomb.  The $50-million flick opened to just $4 million at the box office its first weekend, which is abysmal, to say the least.

Critics say the movie is awful, but there's something else in play here.  Ms. Lopez and Mr. Affleck are overexposed, and Americans can just take so much, proving once again that being too famous can be ridiculous.

--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: oreilly@foxnews.com