Is the Press Overdoing the Martha Stewart Situation?

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thank you for watching us tonight.

Is the press overdoing the Martha Stewart situation?  That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

This morning on CBS, Jane Clayson grilled Miss Stewart about her alleged involvement in insider trading.  Miss Stewart works for CBS, so she had to take it.  But the questions did not intrude on her salad days.


JANE CLAYSON, HOST:  Martha, it's good to see you.

MARTHA STEWART, CEO MARTHA STEWART LIVING OMNIMEDIA:  Hi.  Well, we're going to make salad, but...

CLAYSON:  We are, but first let me ask you a few things about all this.  You've released a statement saying that you were not involved in any insider trading.  But you haven't publicly commented on this.  What do you say about the allegations here?

STEWART:  Well, as you understand, I'm involved in an investigation that has very serious implications.  I -- the investigation really centers around ImClone and this drug called Erbitux, which many of us thought had great potential and still has -- probably does still have great potential for curing cancer in seriously ill patients.

As I said, I think this will all be resolved in the very near future, and I will be exonerated...

CLAYSON:  I know that...

STEWART:  ... of any ridiculousness.


O'REILLY:  Now, you got to give Clayson credit there, Martha had a knife.

Miss Stewart is suspected of getting an inside tip to dump her 4,000 shares of ImClone stock, which she did one day before the stock tanked last December.  In addition, a close friend of hers also dumped ImClone after riding on a plane with Miss Stewart.

So come on, we know what's going on here.

Martha Stewart continues to maintain she did nothing wrong, but listen to this e-mail from Ted Noon, who lives in Spokane, Washington.  "Mr. Bill, Martha Stewart has a fiduciary duty as a member of the New York Stock Exchange Board of Directors to report to the authorities the receipt of inside information."  Obviously, Miss Stewart sold her stock and kept her mouth shut.

So why do we care?  Well, because every American is suffering over a faltering stock market, big dip again today.  Even if you don't own stock, the atmosphere of fear and loathing in our financial markets is dangerous.

Millions of Americans, and I'm one of them, simply do not trust the financial establishment any more.  CNBC has been nearly ruined and ads are even down at the powerful Wall Street Journal.

If Americans decide in the future not to invest in the nation's corporations because they feel they're being run by corrupt weasels, then we're in for it, and no politician can save the economy.

Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom, and all the other mis-run companies must be thoroughly investigated and their leadership held accountable.  And that includes the very visible Martha Stewart.

America can no longer tolerate business people who use sleazy tactics to enrich themselves at the expense of others.  When Martha Stewart dumped her ImClone stock, another person had to buy it.  Not a good thing, Martha.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

Alf, the puppet, is looking to host a TV talk show.  The feisty guy visited the Fox News Channel today and said this.


RICK FOLBAUM, FOX NEWS:  How did this whole new career stuff start for you?

ALF, ALIEN:  Where's Bill O'Reilly?

FOLBAUM:  Bill's here.

ALF:  Is he here?

FOLBAUM:  He's upstairs.  I'll take you there after the interview.

ALF:  Can I go on that show?  I'd like to talk to him.

FOLBAUM: Hey, Alf, did you find your agent?

ALF:  Do you know they have a Bill O'Reilly doll?   I was at the licensing, merchandising thing they have here in New York last week.


ALF:  And they're trying to merchandise Bill O'Reilly.  They've got a talking Bill O'Reilly doll.  It's only $19.95, but it's $50 worth of batteries.  The thing doesn't shut up.


O'REILLY:  Alf, ba-boom boom.  All right, but there's bad news for the puppet.  We're full up here.  We don't have any openings, Alf.  However, some of our competitors continue to retool, which may or may not be ridiculous, but at least gives Alf a fighting chance over at some of the other news channels.

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