The Poll Numbers About Richard Clarke's Testimony Are In

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly reporting tonight from Dallas, Texas.  Thank you for watching us.

Well, the poll numbers about Richard Clarke (search) are in.  And that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." No surprise, those Americans who like President Bush still like him. And those who disapprove of him have not changed their minds either.  65 percent of Americans, according to a brand-new "Newsweek" poll, say their opinion about the president has not changed.  46 percent say he did all he could to fight terrorism before 9-11.  43 percent say he did not.

The Richard Clarke story is a political story, not a national security situation. Clarke made the mistake of taking his personal dislike of President Bush, which is obvious, and making it an issue. Fox News discovered that Clarke played a duplicitous game while he was working for Mr. Bush. He praised him. After he left, he hammered him. Americans don't like that approach.

For the record, I believe Richard Clarke is a very knowledgeable man. I believe he recognized the danger Al Qaeda (search) presented to America.  And I believe he could not convince President Clinton or President Bush to act on that danger.  But for Clarke it got personal with Mr. Bush, so his credibility is damaged.

The "Newsweek" poll says 50 percent of Americans think Clarke is motivated by personal reasons. Just 25 percent say he's not.

Many news organizations have not reported this story accurately. Yesterday, for example, CNN conveniently left out that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (search) has answered questions in private in front of the 9/11 Commission. CNN's glaring omission is typical of what's going on here.

So why is the media making so much of this?  Well, the answer is  because they think the controversy will get attention.  It's that simple.  Over the weekend, "The Washington Post", which is emerging as one of the fairest  newspapers in the country, ran a story that said there's little difference between Clinton and Bush, vis-a-vis bin Laden.

Of course, "Talking Points" said that two weeks ago, but "The Post" backed  up its article with new information.  And we applaud "The Washington Post" (search) for reporting the news in a non-ideological way.

Unfortunately, many other news organizations won't do that.  And so the Clarke story is now less about the terror threat and more about politics. And that's a shame.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

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

This will be my first and last mention of the liberal talk-radio boondoggles getting a lot of publicity from left-leaning organizations.

This so-called network is debuting on six radio stations.  Six.  Not exactly a firestorm of enthusiasm here.  By comparison, "The Radio Factor" debuted two years ago on 220 radio stations. --  Now up to 420 [stations].

This whole liberal network scheme is just plain stupid.  NPR (search) fills that prescription, and they do it very well.  These pinheads backing the venture will lose millions of dollars because the propaganda network is simply tedious and tedious doesn't sell.

Anyway, that's the prediction here, which could be ridiculous, but I don't think so.