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How the Networks Are Handling the Ward Churchill Story

How the networks are handling the Ward Churchill story, that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." For every day folks, the Churchill story's big. Has emotion, free speech implications, taxpayer involvement, a villain. It's very interesting on a number of levels, but not for the nightly news broadcasts.

CBS and NBC News both ran just one short report, focusing on the speech angle. Peter Jennings (search) has not reported the story at all.

So here again is the difference between the elite world and the real world. Radical Professor Ward Churchill (search) has insulted thousands of American families who lost loved ones on 9/11. And the guy is being paid nearly $100,000 of taxpayer money by the University of Colorado. And other colleges were paying him to speak as well.

This is not an important story — that a guy who hates America is profiting from thathate and inflicting pain on the 9/11 families? This is not worthy of some exposition? Come on. This goes right to the heart of our liberties, right to the moral fabric of America. This is huge.

But not to the national news TV people on the broadcast side. If ever there was an explanation of why they are a losing audience and FOX News is gaining, this is it.

"Talking Points" has been considering the lack of interest. And I don't have an answer. Yes, Churchill makes the radical left look stupid. But while the network news generally tilts left, it has little use for radicals.

Howard Dean, for example, was not embraced by the network types. So I don't think they're covering up for Churchill. Perhaps the story's too controversial.

"The New York Times" is covering Churchill, saying it's the dreaded conservatives that are driving the sentiment against him. Of course, "The Times" does that all the time. And of course, it's not true. Americans of all political persuasions are condemning Churchill.

The far left Web sites simply don't know what to do. So some of them are attacking me. One consistently foolish site even posted that if Churchill was fired, it would mean O'Reilly would be running college campuses. Beyond dumb.

"Talking Points" can say two things with certainty: The rantings of Churchill do not help the far left cause in this country at all. And it's mighty strange that Dan, Peter, and Brian [Williams] have avoided a great story that has all America talking. Beyond that, who knows?

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

By the way, I am looking for ridiculous right-wing media stuff, so, if you see any, please send it to us.

But, back to the left, you may remember that liberal "Philadelphia Inquirer" columnist John Grogan chastised me over the Villanova (search) controversy. We then invited Grogan on the program. He sent back this reply: "Thank you for the invite. Unfortunately, I am unable to do this tonight."

OK. We get rejections like that all the time, and our standard reply is the person is hiding under his or her desk. You've heard me say that. Well, Grogan writes today that I was lying, he was not hiding under his desk, he just had something else to do. I'm lying? Another example of a complete distortion by a writer who should know better.

By the way, we've invited Grogan on next week. Hopefully, his desk will not be an issue because that would be ridiculous.

This lying stuff is used to marginalize people and try to hurt them, and it's bad.

I—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: oreilly@foxnews.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