Talking Points: Fox News Under Fire

Whenever you do aggressive reporting or analysis, you are going to be criticized. That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

Lawyers for Congressman Gary Condit have sent a letter to Fox News, saying that we've been unfair and inaccurate in our reporting of the Chandra Levy disappearance. The letter came before Fox News correspondent Rita Cosby made national headlines yesterday by interviewing a flight attendant who says Condit asked her to lie about an affair they were having.

Now we are not trying to convict Congressman Condit on the air, but our responsibility is to investigate high profile cases and bring you the latest information. And we're pretty good at that. Last year, when The Factor broke the story about Jesse Jackson's muddled finances, we got all kinds of threats and calls and letters. That's what happens when the media closes in.

Condit's lawyers are trying to protect his reputation, but they are playing a losing game. The congressman has not stepped up and explained himself. The Levy family is disgusted with him. And now his alleged love life is being made a public spectacle. Let's keep our eye on the ball here. A young woman has disappeared. A family is in anguish. Condit reportedly received a flurry of calls from the woman, just before she vanished. The congressman is allegedly a womanizer and will not comment on the calls allegedly made to him by Ms. Levy.

With all that in the air, it's the responsibility of the press to investigate. We asked Condit's lawyers to appear on The Factor and air their grievances against us, thereby giving you their side of the story and perhaps putting the congressman in a better light. We want to hear Gary Condit's side of it, but his lawyers will not step up. They'll write threatening letters, but they will not state their case in front of you.

That says a lot. If I were defending a client's reputation in the court of public opinion, I'd seize every opportunity to present my client's side. Condit's lawyers see it differently. Such is life. And by the way, one of the counsels working for the congressman is Abbe Lowell, who defended President Clinton during the impeachment.

And that's the memo.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

We all know that the education system in America is in trouble, and here's how bad it is. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation surveyed 1,000 teenagers about history on the eve of the Fourth of July. Fourteen percent of them believe the United States declared its independence from France.

I hope you didn't say, "Yeah?"

The quiz was a multiple choice, and 24 percent of the teens don't know who fought in the Civil War. Somehow the North and the South have escaped them.

Talk about the weakest link! Talk about being ridiculous!

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points weeknights at 8 p.m. ET.  And send your comments to: