Did Boston Globe Misconstrue Soldier's Story?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 8, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Back of the Book" segment: the ordeal of Sergeant Brian Fountaine. The 24-year-old commander from Dorchester, Massachusetts, was wounded in Iraq, lost both legs below the knee and is currently recovering at Walter Reed Hospital.

Last week, the anti-war Boston Globe featured the sergeant in an article headlined, "A Soldier Now Maimed by War" now questions the mission. In said article, Globe reporter Brian MacQuarrie wrote, "In Fountaine's view, troop morale has plummeted, suicide has increased, and the sacrifices being made in American blood and treasure suddenly seem questionable."

Joining from us now Washington is Sergeant Fontaine and FOX News analyst Marvin Kalb. The Boston Globe refused to participate in this story.

Sergeant, we really appreciate your patriotism and we're sorry for what happened to you, and anything we can do for you in the future let us know.


O'REILLY: You cooperated with your local newspaper, and you talked to Mr. MacQuarrie. You read the article. What say you about it?

FOUNTAINE: To be honest, you know, if I knew that they were a liberal newspaper in the first place, I wouldn't even have talked to them.

But you know, I told them what I thought. And I think he just spun it way out of control. And he put it to his newspaper's point of view, which I did not know was anti-war at the time.

O'REILLY: All right. Give me a specific about what you told him and how it didn't play out in the newspaper.

FOUNTAINE: You know, I'm not really sure about the specifics. But just something off the top of my head, even the headlines. I mean, it just makes it sound like I'm against the war and I'm against everything that's going on over there, which isn't true.

O'REILLY: Yes. The headline says "Questions the Mission." Do you question the mission in Iraq?

FOUNTAINE: Bill, every soldier questions his mission every time he gets it. But you know, we still pull through and we accomplish what we're given. But you know, they make it sound like I'm, you know, out for the whole Army, questioning the whole job that we're doing over there, which isn't true. I'm just one soldier.

O'REILLY: Are you a war protester, would you say?

FOUNTAINE: I am definitely not a war protester.

O'REILLY: Do you believe your sacrifice was worth it in Iraq?

FOUNTAINE: If we can get this job done and we can pull through and accomplish what we need to accomplish, to make that country safe and democratic, well, then yes, I believe my sacrifice was worth it.

O'REILLY: Do you believe that America is a noble nation for trying to bring democracy to Iraq?


O'REILLY: OK. Because none of that was apparent in the article.

Professor Kalb, I've got to have you on here, because you're our analyst, and the Globe won't respond. I mean, what do you think reading the article and hearing the Sergeant?

MARVIN KALB, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Bill, I have enormous regard for Sergeant Fountaine and many other young Americans who have paid so high a price.

I would not have written this story that way. I would have said that this is a young man who is prepared to go back to Iraq to complete his tour of duty, even though he is beginning to have certain doubts about the course of the war and the way in which it's being prosecuted.

O'REILLY: OK, but we all have those doubts. Every American who's fair-minded wants a victory in Iraq, and it's a very tough sled.

But look, professor, we've gone through this before. You and I have. With The New York Times, which owns The Boston Globe. It is so anti-war and so anti-Bush that you can't trust their reporting.

And when you take a hero like the Sergeant, all right, and you use his words to paint a portrait in your newspaper, that the sergeant says isn't true, this is now a felony, a journalistic felony, is it not?

KALB: The answer, Bill, and you know what my answer is going to be is no, it is not.

I had the pleasure of talking with Sergeant Fountaine and his mother before we went on air. And my understanding, from what they told me, was they objected to the photograph that was used and to the headline but he told me that al of the quotes are accurate. It is simply the way in which the story is presented.

Every story is the result of a reporter's instinct. The reporter who wrote this story did it his way. I would have done it my way.

O'REILLY: Yes, but look, this isn't a quote. This is the quote of MacQuarrie, the reporter. He's not quoting the sergeant. He's saying, "In his view, troop morale has plummeted. Suicide has increased."

KALB: It has, Bill.

O'REILLY: No. That...

KALB: Bill, the president of the United States is saying that what's going on in Baghdad now is, "horrific."

O'REILLY: OK. But that...

KALB: The two top generals have said we're heading toward a civil war.

O'REILLY: Here's the mistake and I'm going to let the Sergeant have the last word. Here's the mistake, and this is why, professor, I want you to think about this.

The New York Times and The Boston Globe are not serving the American people. This reporter is anti-war. He injected his point of view into what should have been a hard news story.

KALB: Bill, you have no idea if that's true.

O'REILLY: I do know. I know the man's work. I know the man's work. And I know the reporter.

All right. Now Sergeant, do you think you were treated fairly by this guy, MacQuarrie?

FOUNTAINE: No, I do not. I didn't know this was an anti-war, anti- Bush newspaper. And I was never told that this would — this story would be spun this way.

O'REILLY: All right. So you are disappointed in the reporting that Brian MacQuarrie did?

FOUNTAINE: Very much so.

O'REILLY: And you don't think he told your story accurately?

FOUNTAINE: No, I do not.

O'REILLY: Professor, last word.

KALB: I take my hat off to the sergeant. I have the highest personal regard for him.

O'REILLY: OK. He doesn't like the story, professor. He doesn't like the story. He thinks the story was — he got jobbed on it. Doesn't that make you a little — all right.

KALB: Bill, I am always nervous about journalism, even as practiced by a distinguished guy such as yourself.

O'REILLY: I would never do anything like that, and you know it.

KALB: Heavens no.

O'REILLY: You know it.

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