Predictably, the far left is going nuts over the dismissal of Don Imus because he gave some of them a platform. So now the far-left loons are targeting broadcasters they hate — like me.

New York Times columnist Frank Rich, the ultimate smear merchant, says I called Mexicans "wetbacks." He got that from a dishonest far-left Web site and reported it was fact.

But the truth is that on February 6, 2003, I said this in a discussion about putting the National Guard on the border and saving Mexican lives:

"I've talked to the commanders and they tell me, look, you deploy us down there, we stop the drug traffic dead, we stop it dead. They're not even going to try. We'd save lives because Mexican wetbacks — whatever you want to call them, the coyotes — they're not going to do what they're doing now, all right, so people aren't going to die in the desert."

That analysis was specifically about dealing with drug and people smugglers and a plea to stop needless death. But Frank Rich will never tell you that, because he is not intellectually honest. This stuff is also disseminated by Washington Post TV writer Howard Kurtz, whom I spoke with today on "The Radio Factor":

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: In the context of what this is, and you know, obviously I misspoke I was look for the word coyotes. Is that a slur to you, Howard Kurtz?

HOWARD KURTZ: I did not think that you were deliberately trying to insult the Mexican people, if that's what you're asking.

O'REILLY: Thank you for your honesty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Frank Rich and other gutter snipes who are peddling this garbage know what Howard Kurtz just said is true. But they don't care because they are haters. Rich is the poster boy for the decline of The New York Times. But even worse is the shameful Rosie O'Donnell, a first rate hater, whose anti-American diatribes put her and her employer, the Disney Company, in a disgraceful position. Here's what O'Donnell said Monday in conversation with Barbara Walters:

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALTERS: Bill O'Reilly has not made racist remarks. Political opinions…

O'DONNELL: Bill O'Reilly has not made racist remarks? He called Mexicans wetbacks. It's a racist remark. Wetbacks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OK. Now in my opinion, O'Donnell is single-handedly besmirching ABC's reputation. And it is sad to watch. It is also instructive to note that O'Donnell, Frank Rich and other far left propagandists have no criticism at all of Al Franken and his bankrupt Air America crew, which spewed hate 24/7.

If the defamation is directed at traditionalists, who are conservatives, left-wing smear merchants are all for it.

As for Imus, he shouldn't have been fired. He should have been suspended for six months. America is a country that believes in redemption. The man apologized. He should have been given another chance.

The cold truth is that extremists on both sides are much more dangerous to this country than people like Don Imus. That is the cold truth.

And that's The Memo.

Most Ridiculous Item

An update on a very absurd situation: When we last left Denver Post TV critic Joanne Ostrow she was telling "The Factor" producer Porter Berry in the parking lot of a grocery store that I, your humble correspondent, am a racist because I used the term "illegal alien."

Well, today on the front page of the New York Times there is this paragraph, quote:

"With the tax deadline approaching, illegal immigrants are sending in federal returns in what appear to be record numbers."

Ahem.

So we look forward to Ms. Ostrow describing the New York Times as racist very soon. To not do so might be ridiculous.

—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 and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com