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Bill O'Reilly: The Cliven Bundy controversy

By Bill O'Reilly

When the story broke about the feds going to Nevada, to make a rancher pay grazing fees, my staff did what it always does. We researched and found out the facts and those are these. That rancher Cliven Bundy broke the law for many years by not paying the fees, that the federal government owns the land and that the State of Nevada readily admits the feds have jurisdiction in the grazing controversy. Those are the facts.

So, we presented them to you and then mildly criticized the feds for overreacting. You may remember, Judge Napolitano and I basically said it's a waste of taxpayer money to conduct a raid and seize cattle. You simply use the legal system to eventually make Bundy pay up.

Now, most of you agreed with our analysis. A few threw in with Mr. Bundy but not very many. However some commentators including a handful on Fox News rallied to Mr. Bundy's side. But most Fox News people did not. And that's why we're successful. We have a wide variety of opinion expressed in a vibrant way.

Now, we know that Cliven Bundy is a man who does not see things clearly. He made very offensive ignorant remarks about African-Americans and was roundly condemned for doing so. But here is something interesting. Mr. Bundy is also sympathetic to Hispanics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLIVEN BUNDY, NEVADA RANCHER: Now, let me talk about Hispanic people. You know I understand that they come over here against our Constitution and cross our borders but they are here and they are people. And I have worked side-to-side a lot of them. Don't tell me they don't work. And don't tell me they don't pay taxes. And don't tell me they don't have better family structures than most of us white people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Now, Mr.Bundy might just be covering his butt with that statement but because he is getting hammered, I thought it was fair it play the sound bite.

For those who continue to sympathize with Cliven Bundy, here is how wrong you are. The man foolishly asked whether blacks are better off being dependent on government as opposed to being victims of slavery -- an insane and outrageous question. The institution of slavery allowed murder, rape, child abuse, child abandonment, whippings and other horrors beyond description. Those things were done by Americans who brutalized black human beings for decades.

Millions of other Americans were killed or wounded to end slavery during the Civil War. So the anti-American loons who disparage the entire country to this day are misguided as well.

But Cliven Bundy has no clue, none. And what he said should be condemned by every good person in the world. Bundy should also pay his rightful taxes and he should thank God that he and his family were never subjected to what millions of black families have been subjected to.

Now on to another subject in this controversy -- the dishonest media. Leading the league is a man named Brian Stelter, former "New York Times" media writer who is a committed left wing zealot. Over the years Mr. Stelter has often slanted his reporting in outrageous ways trying to make conservatives and Fox News in particular look bad. Unfortunately he now works for CNN and weighed in on the Bundy situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: I can't think of any parallel to this case. I can't think of MSNBC taking equivalent story on the left and spending weeks covering it the way Fox News has and Sean Hannity chief among them talking -- I'm talking about the host on Fox News.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Hard to belief. So, Mr. Stelter, did you miss the months, the months of coverage about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on MSNBC? Did you miss that? Are you that dense, that uninformed that you make an outrageous assertion that MSNBC would not overdo a story for ideological reasons? MSNBC has convicted -- convicted Governor Christie of crimes over and over again in the bridge gate story. And the network did for two reasons. It ramped up its liberal base for ratings and it targeted a politician who might be a threat to Hillary Clinton.

If Stelter doesn't know that, he's not qualified to do any reporting anywhere at any time. If he does know it, he lied on national TV. And that's far worse than some Fox News commentators sympathizing with an ill- informed rancher in Nevada against a big government overreach.

Now, we understand that CNN has ratings problems and it's natural they will take shots at us. That's competition. Here is what one guy said last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does it feel to be abandoned by your friends on Fox? I mean the only reason we could get you on tonight is that I'm guessing they didn't call?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Obviously the commentator baiting Mr. Bundy who was foolish enough to even engage in the conversation. Now, the lessons in all of this. Ideological commentators both on the left and the right are often way too eager to gin up controversies without knowing the facts. It doesn't matter on the Internet. It doesn't even matter in newspapers anymore because few notice them.

But it does matter on national television. And when ideological commentators make mistakes, it hurts their own cause. Listen to Howard Dean.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Huge gift to us because it falls into this stereotype that a lot of people already have about Republicans. It's not the fair. What happens is the media always picks up the most extreme example whether it's the left or the right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

DEAN: Right this is an extreme example and the right wing fell right into the trap that was set by Bundy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Governor Dean is correct. But, believe me there have been plenty of left leaning examples that parallel Cliven Bundy. Embracing and justifying the anarchists and the Occupy Wall Street Movement is just one example. And how many far left commentators did that? There comes a point when honest Americans have to step back from false idols. All of us are emotional. We often react poorly when confronted with things that stir us up.

But we're living now in a complicated age, a dangerous time and there are many charlatans peddling garbage that hurt all of us in the long run. According to polls most Americans feel the government is now intruding on their freedom. And objecting to that is legitimate. But you throw away any legitimacy when you jump to conclusions and do not investigate the overall situations. And that's what happened in the Cliven Bundy case. And it is a cautionary tale for all of us.

And that's "The Memo."

O'Reilly Factor, hosted by Bill O'Reilly, airs on Weekdays at 8PM ET on Fox News Channel.

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