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Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: Hurting Ben Carson's campaign

This is a pretty nasty story that has damaged the Carson campaign and perhaps the image of Senator Ted Cruz. As we reported yesterday, while the caucus voting was underway -- it was underway in Iowa, a CNN reporter, Chris Moody tweeted misleading information about the Carson campaign. Almost immediately the Cruz campaign used that information to tell Iowa voters that Carson may be withdrawing from the race.

Dr. Carson believes that hurt his vote tally. Ted Cruz has apologized. CNN says it did nothing wrong.

Here are the facts. At 6:43 Central time Mr. Moody tweeted, quote, "Carson won't go to New Hampshire and South Carolina but instead will head home to Florida for some R&R. He will be in D.C. Thursday for the National Prayer Breakfast."

Moody tweeted some other stuff after that trying to clarify but apparently, that did not get to CNN political reporter Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: We should say that our Chris Moody is breaking this news that Ben Carson is going to go back to Florida to his home regardless of how he does tonight here in Iowa. He is going to go there for several days and then afterwards he is not going to go to South Carolina. He is not going to go to New Hampshire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: That is false. Ben Carson had events planned in New Hampshire even before he left Iowa. Again, that CNN report flat-out untrue.

Enter the Cruz campaign which at about 7:00 p.m. Central time, 17 minutes after the initial misleading tweet said this quote, "CNN is reporting that Ben Carson will stop campaigning after Iowa. Make sure to tell all of your peers at the caucus supporting Carson that they should coalesce around the true conservative who will be in the race for the long haul: Ted Cruz." So you can see that the Cruz campaign used a false report by CNN to damage the Carson campaign.

Last night on The Factor, Dr. Carson told me he accepts Ted Cruz's explanation that he personally did not know what was going on. However, Carson also said this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A culture exists within the Cruz camp that would allow people to take advantage of a situation like this in a very dishonest way. Isn't this the same thing we see with the Obama administration? The IRS scandal? No responsibility. They were awfully anxious to get it out there, weren't they?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Now, there is no question that CNN is responsible for the false report. But the Cruz campaign is also wrong and Senator Cruz should take disciplinary action against some of his staff. However, that may not happen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK TYLER, CRUZ CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: So we simply as a campaign repeated what Ben Carson had said in his own words. He said after Iowa he was going to go back to Florida for a couple days and then he was going to go to D.C. to the prayer breakfast. And what that told us was he was not going to New Hampshire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: But again, Carson had events booked in New Hampshire. So, come on.

As far as CNN is concerned, it says it is standing behind its initial report which is ludicrous. That news agency screwed up big time and apparently doesn't care. Talking Points has said it many times -- the state of American journalism is on the verge of collapse. Ideology has permeated hard news coverage and honest reporting is becoming almost scarce, especially in political circles.

CNN should apologize. Ted Cruz should take some action. And this should never happen again. The Carson campaign was damaged by erroneous information, period.

And that's “The Memo”.

Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly