Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight and happy new year from everybody here at “The Factor”. We wish you happiness, good health, and prosperity.

Well, it is showdown time for the Bush haters — that's the subject of the year's first "Talking Points Memo". As you may know, President Bush is taking a more aggressive posture towards critics of his administration. And they are legion in the media. My column posted on billoreilly.com pinpoints the problem. Some media are no longer just scrutinizing the Bush administration as we do. They are now actively trying to undermine it.

The New York Times may be suspect number one, with four rabid anti-Bush columnists, including the hateful character assassin Frank Rich. The Times has staked out a very tough position for itself. Its own public editor, Byron Calame, wrote yesterday that the paper's reporting of the NSA eavesdropping situation is questionable said, "For the first time since I became public editor, the executive editor [of the Times] and the publisher have declined to respond to my requests for information about news-related
decision-making.I e-mailed a list of 28 questions to Bill Keller, the executive editor.He promptly declined to respond to them. I then sent the same questions to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the publisher, who also declined to respond."

Now the controversy is over why The New York Times held the NSA story for more than a year, and why it published said story despite requests from President Bush not to.

But far more dangerous to The Times and criticism is the new Justice Department investigation into just who leaked the NSA story. If the Valerie Plame guidelines are followed, Times reporters and editors might have to give up sources or go to prison, just as Times reporter Judith Miller did in the Plame fiasco.

"Talking Points" understands the NSA story is exceedingly difficult. And it deals with your right to know about how the Bush administration is waging the war on terror versus national security.

In the weeks to come, we'll cover the story in a fair and balanced way, even giving the benefit of the doubt to The New York Times.
But there is no doubt, ladies and gentlemen that The Times has been unfair in its coverage of the Bush White House. And the paper also routinely uses personal attacks to hurt people with whom it disagrees. If that does not stop, Bill Keller and Frank Rich to name the two main culprits, will not have a happy new year. As they say in the auction world, fair warning.

As far as the NSA story is concerned, there seem to be valid arguments on both sides. And I don't know at this point who's right. I do know the debate is important.

So summing up for 2006, robust debate is in, personal attacks are out.

And that is "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

As you know, my bloviation quotient is off the chart. I do three hours of analysis every week day: two on the radio, one on TV. With that much verbiage I'm going to make mistakes and misstatements. And when I do, the far left smear Web sites are going to headline them. That's the game they play. But mistakes are mistakes, and they must be corrected. A couple of weeks ago I said the unemployment rate in Mexico is 40 percent. That's wrong. The poverty rate is 40 percent. I misspoke.

Now, The New York Times was kind enough to point out the mistake and then reporter Simon Romero wrote the Mexican unemployment rate is, "closer to four percent". That, of course, is nonsense.

The Mexican government puts that [statistic] out, neglecting to define any standards of the stat. The truth is, the Mexican economy is a disaster, with per capital income a quarter of what it is here in the USA, which is why millions of Mexicans are willing to come here illegally and work brutally hard.

Mr. Romero printed Mexican stats without context. Might be ridiculous but so was my mistake.

—You can catch 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

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