Mud and the media part two.
CBS (search) has already lost the public relations battle over 'memogate.' As we told you last night, the controversy over the Bush National Guard (search) documents has eclipsed the original "60 Minutes" story and even engendered sympathy for the president in some quarters.
So far, the best reporting on memogate has been done by The Washington Post. And today's piece by Michael Dobbs and Howard Kurts is instructive because it methodically goes through the evidence. The Post has been trying very hard to be fair lately, although it did do a pup piece
on Kitty Kelley, which was embarrassing.
On that same note, "The New York Times" continues to embrace defamation. Today, the paper published the Kelley dirt. While The Times book reviewer was skeptical, the deed is done. This is the game The Times plays. It often publicized left-wing tracks which whack people the paper doesn't like.
For example, out of 26 major books critical of the Clintons, The Times reviewed just six of them, but that paper gave the 26 anti-Bush books 30 percent more exposure, panning only one of them outright.
My book "Who's Looking Out for You" spent a whopping 23 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, but the paper ignored it, even though it's about you, not about politics.
Times also did not review Sean Hannity's two bestsellers. "Who's Looking" is out today in paperback. And I expect little mention of it in the elite media, which generally despises me. By the way, I am proud of that.
Enter the Democratic Party, which is making an enormous mistake by thinking the liberal media's infatuation with anti-Bush stuff is a plus. According the Associated Press, Democratic strategist Howard Wolfson is urging the Kerry campaign to keep hammering the president over the Guard issue.
Wolfson says, "This is not about George Bush's service. It's about who he is and why he lied and continues to lie today. These guys are knee- deep in the big muddy."
Well, here's a memo to Senator Kerry. If you take that advice, sir, you will lose the election. President Bush showed class during the height of the swift boat controversy when he said, "I think Kerry going to Vietnam was more heroic than my flying fighter jets. He was in harm's way and I was not."
Independent voters will decide the election, of course. And I firmly believe they've had enough mud. If you bog down the stuff that happened 35 years ago, you're not going to come out clean.
CBS News is learning that lesson right now. And if John Kerry is smart, he'll do what Mr. Bush did. He'll congratulate the president on his Guard service and move to the real issues.
If the senator doesn't do that, all the liberal media in the world will not be able to help him. And that's the memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Jane Fonda's (search) becoming politically active again, so watch out.
In an event sponsored by some far left organizations, Ms. Fonda appeared with feminist Gloria Steinem and playwright Eve Ensler, among others, to raise awareness on the importance of voting liberal. All well and good until we showed up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jane, Bill O'Reilly wanted to invite you on "The Factor." Would you like to come on and join us someday?
JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: Oh, he's far too rude.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even I wouldn't go on Bill O'Reilly.
FOX CORRESPONDENT: Even you wouldn't go on...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why bother?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why go on assault TV?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you really think it's insult TV? We'd love to have you on the show, all of you, actually.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Maybe you should get another job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jane, Jane, Jane, why don't you like Bill O'Reilly? We'd love to have you on the show.
FONDA: Don't hold your breath.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Notice the little t-shirts. Now, just for the record, Gloria Steinem has appeared on The Factor, was treated with respect, so she's not telling the truth. As for Ms. Fonda, well, Jane, if you could cozy up to the North Vietnamese, you can certainly cozy up to me. To not do so would be ridiculous.
—You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.