Why is Time Misrepresenting the UNC Quran Story?

To watch "The Memo" click here.

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

Why is Time magazine misreporting the Quran University of North Carolina story? That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

It all started a few weeks ago when we interviewed Professor Robert Kirkpatrick, the man who assigned incoming freshmen at UNC a book to read. The book is called, "Approaching the Quran," and it is favorable toward the Islamic religion.

All freshmen have to read the book or write a paper explaining why they don't want to in order to be admitted to the university.

Talking Points said that was wrong. The book could be on a suggested list of readings, but it should not be mandatory because it espouses a specific religion.

We pointed out that if a book favorable to Christianity or Judaism was required reading for admission to a public university, the church and state issue would certainly come into play.

Now, after seeing our report, a North Carolina legislative committee agreed and says it will withhold funds if Professor Kirkpatrick's policy is implemented.

Enter Time magazine, which this week says, quote, "And what could be more predictable than the brouhaha that followed the rumbling overture on Christian Web sites, the brassy solo by Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, who compared the assignment to having students read Hitler's Mein Kampf in 1941?"

Now, either Time did not see our original report, or it is deliberately misleading you.

Professor Kirkpatrick's argument was that students need to read the pro-Quran book in order to put into context the al Qaeda attack on America.  I countered with the argument that the theological basis of Islam is not necessary to discern the evil of 9/11.

An attack on civilians has no religious context, none whatsoever.

Then I told the professor that academics would never have ordered students to read Hitler's Mein Kampf to understand the evil of Naziism. If you want to read the pro-Koran book and Mein Kampf, fine. But to demand that students absorb this material is certainly not necessary for a clear understanding of atrocities.

Time magazine goes on to quote a Christian named Fred Eckel who says, "I hope reading the Koran and other religious books will lead Christian students to better understand their own religion."

Then "Time" puts in a snide comment. "That sentiment is apparently foreign to people like O'Reilly."

And this is a hard news piece, not analysis.

Cheap shot? You bet. You can disagree with my argument, even though it is constitutionally and logically based, and the North Carolina legislature, as we said, is behind my opinion.

And I'll respect that disagreement. But Time magazine ignores the logic and takes a personal shot at me. Fine, I'm a big boy. But what is not fine is forcing North Carolina freshmen to read a religious book for no solid reason.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

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

As many of you know, many people around the world dislike America for a variety of reasons. In Europe, where floods are devastating some countries, some on the left are blaming all the rain on the Bush administration for not supporting a global warming treaty. Some guy named Gallis Catanou , a Swiss, wants to impose a punitive tariff on American goods because he believes we made it rain over there.

Hey, Gallis, you might want to come out of the Alps and come down to sea level. You're being ridiculous.

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