Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.
Dissent or dishonor? That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." America was founded on dissent, that is loyal opposition to government policies. And that's a good thing. But now some Americans are confusing true dissent with dishonesty and dishonor.
"Talking Points" believes the Bill Clinton situation is a good example. While president, Mr. Clinton did a number of questionable things. Conservatives especially were angered that Mr. Clinton used the Oval Office in an unseemly way and then lied about it. The dissent over that was absolutely appropriate, but some right-wingers went overboard and began accusing Mr. Clinton of all kinds of deeds that were unproven and sometimes even defamatory.
That kind of behavior is simply dishonorable. Just because you don't like a politician doesn't give you the right to lie about them. Dishonor is defined as treating someone in a degrading manner, trying to injure them personally. There's no place for that in America.
So, flash forward to President Bush, who's being accused of many things, some of them flat-out untrue. For example, the Senate Intelligence Committee (search) did not find any evidence that the Bush administration attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgment on WMDs in Iraq — so reads conclusion 83 of the Senate report.
Thus, all the bomb-throwers who accuse Mr. Bush of lying about WMDs have been dishonorable. They were wrong and had no proof to begin with.They are guilty of a slander, a dishonorable act.
Other examples, Whoopi Goldberg (search) made crude jokes about Mr. Bush's name. Is that dissent or dishonor? Whether you like him or not, Mr. Bush is the president. It is dishonorable for Ms. Goldberg crudely to mock him without purpose. There's no dissent in that and it reflects poorly on her.
Meryl Streep said, "If you're going to invite Jesus on the campaign bus and ask him to stump for you, you'd better listen carefully to what he has to say first. He did not say 'blessed is the preemptive strike.'"
Dissent or dishonor? In this case, Ms. Streep is dissenting. She's objecting to a policy matter and that's legit. See the difference? Goldberg is disrespectful. Streep is entitled to her opinion about an issue, although I'd love to talk to her about it.
Michael Moore's movie is dissent, but his dishonesty within the film is dishonorable. Also, when he runs around Europe bashing America, he's giving comfort to our enemies, totally dishonorable and disgraceful in a time of war. You have to be careful where you utter anti-American statements. What's OK in Berkeley is not OK in Paris.
Finally, let's take a look at conservative Ann Coulter (search). She writes,"Kerry picks a pretty-boy milquetoast as his running mate, narrowly edging out a puppy for the spot."
Dissent or dishonor? Well, it's dissent. She's simply making fun of John Edwards (search). Although to be fair, short of Newt Gingrich (search), Coulter would have been displeased by anyone Kerry picked.
Once again, dissent must be protected, but dishonorable behavior must be condemned.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
No "Most Ridiculous Item" on Monday, July 12.