Is the Tide Turning Against Defamation?

Talking Points was pleased to see many in the media ignore the John Kerry (search) rumor last week. I think the senator made a mistake by talking about it on the radio, but I was proud that many of my colleagues would not stoop to rumor mongering without facts to back up those salacious allegations.

Of course, the rumor was quickly debunked. But the merchants of venom who traffic in this garbage couldn't care less. They got their Web site hits and their cheap ratings.

On Friday, another vicious defamatory situation was largely ignored. This one surrounding Mel Gibson's upcoming movie about Jesus. So maybe there's some hope here. Maybe Americans are getting fed up with those who peddle, slander and libel and they're beginning to turn away from it.

If that happens, America will be a much better place. Right now, many of us are afraid to give opinions because we fear we'll be personally attacked. Very well qualified people will not run for public office because they may have committed an indiscretion in their past. And some folks aren't even exercising their freedoms out of fear they'll be smeared.

This has got to stop. Now usually I'm down on the media because we have become increasingly unfair and politically charged. A newspaper, for example, doesn't like your opinion, that newspaper might very well try to hurt you. But I'm feeling better after the Kerry and Gibson situations and I'll repeat “The Factor’s” mantra. We won't report rumors or personal attacks unless the controversy is relevant to public policy. What we will report is who the smear people are and why they're doing what they're doing. We're keeping a list.

And we want you to do so as well. If you're tired of defamation and gutter politics, let the people who embrace those things know about it.

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Wednesday night, your humble correspondent -- that's me -- appeared with Jay Leno. Here's a sample of the conversation.


JAY LENO, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": And the vice president will be?

O'REILLY: The vice president? I think Edwards will get that. I do think it will be...

LENO: Do you think Hillary will jump in there?

O'REILLY: No. No way. She wants to be president, not vice president. She was already vice president.

LENO: She was.



LENO: And how about Dean dropping out?

O'REILLY: Dean. Yes. The wolfman.

LENO: The wolfman?

O'REILLY: That's why he lost. Every time the moon was full, “Aaahh!” Now, look, I don't have anything against him , but you're in the middle of a summit with Putin, the moon comes out, then...

LENO: That can be a problem.


LENO: That can be a problem.

O'REILLY: He's going to bite him on the neck and scream. No, not going to work.

LENO: Do you think that whole incident, the screaming incident, kind of reaffirmed what people maybe thought.

O'REILLY: What, that he was a mass murderer?

LENO: No, no, but...


All right. Once again, we'd like to thank Mr. Leno for being a good guy. I wish I could say the same thing for David Letterman, but, at this point, I can't do that. To do so would be ridiculous.

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