Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight.
Don't be a Kool-Aid (search) person. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" memo. In 1978, more than 900 people committed suicide in Guyana (search) by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at the behest of a religious nut named Jim Jones. Thus the term "Kool-Aid people."
They are folks who do not think for themselves. They are true believers committed to a political ideology or other belief system. And no matter what evidence is presented to them, they are incapable of change.
You see, Kool-Aid people most often in the political arena on both the right and the left. Don't be one. Think independently.
That brings us to some of the 9/11 people, who have chosen to use the tragedy that befell them to promote their ideology. About 100 of these people, less then 1 percent of the folks directly affected by 9/11, have joined a group called Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. The group's goal is "to promote a safe, open dialogue on alternatives to war" and is an avowed left-wing organization.
Peaceful Tomorrows is partially funded by the Tides Foundation, an activist non-profit group that gives big money to liberal organizations. Tides has donated more than $300 million to groups "working for social change."
Peaceful Tomorrows is also associated with the Fentons Communications PR firm, which books people on radio and TV and generally provides their clients with national media exposure. Fenton also represents moveon.org and the new lib radio deal.
It is Fenton which advises the Peaceful Tomorrow folks, who have become increasingly involved in high-profile situations like protesting President Bush's terrorism ads and criticizing Condoleezza Rice and other Republicans at the 9/11 Commission hearings.
The problem is that few, if any, of the news programs identify these 9/11 people as belonging to a left-wing cabal. dedicated to defeating President Bush for ideological reasons. Most Americans thought and still think that these people who booed and applauded during the commission hearings were just plain folks.
Now you know. "Talking Points" believes that using dead relatives to advance ideology is very disturbing. If conservatives were doing this, we'd say the same thing. There's something tawdry about it. And the deception that's been going on in the media is staggering. To be fair, some editors and producers didn't know, but some did and chose not to honestly identify this Peaceful Tomorrows bunch.
Now we contacted a number of these people to come in here and tell their side of the story. They all declined, even though it was this program who went to their rescue during the 9/11 charity debacle.
Constitutionally, these people have a right to support any ideology they want and I respect that right if it were done independently of the terror action. But to use dead Americans in a stealth attempt to influence a presidential election is flat-out immoral in my opinion. The families for Peaceful Tomorrows should be ashamed.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
I don't single people out for personal criticism very often, but tonight I'm making an exception because it's important for you to know the truth about people who can influence public policy.
Richard Ben-Veniste (search) has been the most partisan of the 9/11 commissioners, with the possible exception of Bob Kerrey. Now I like Ben- Veniste's tough questioning. What I don't like is the fact that he is selective in doing it. He only goes after Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE (D), 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: Did you tell the president at any time prior to August 6 of the existence of Al Qaeda cells in the United States?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: First, let me just make certain...
BEN-VENISTE: If you could just answer that question because I only have a very limited time.
RICE: I understand, Commissioner...
BEN-VENISTE: Did you tell the president?
RICE: ... but it's important that I also address -- it's also important, commissioner, that I address the other issues that you have raised, so I will do it quickly, but if you'll just give me a moment.
BEN-VENISTE: Well, my only question to you is whether you told the president...
RICE: I understand, Commissioner, but I will -- if you'll just give me a moment, I will address fully the questions you have asked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: But he cupcakes the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN-VENISTE: I just wanted to say that having sat in on two days of debriefings with you, Mr. Clarke, and having seen excerpts from your book, other than questions you weren't asked, I have not perceived any substantive differences between what you have said to us and what has been quoted from your published work. Having said that, I'll cede my time to Congressman Roemer, if he'll give me his time with Condoleeza Rice.
RICHARD CLARKE, FMR. WHITE HOUSE COUNTERTERRORISM CHIEF: That may not be a good deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
All right, so I want to ask Ben-Veniste about this. I mean, he thinks it's cute. I don't. But his people said his schedule did not permit it. He was far too busy. However, last night he somehow made time for "Larry King." Talk about cupcakes. Ridiculous? Richard Ben-Veniste qualifies.
Hey, you are afraid to come on here, Counselor. You are afraid to come on this program, sir.