Bill O’Reilly objects to “bloviating,” which I think means giving opinions not based on fact. So what should we make of his claim that “I believe there is overwhelming evidence that the Syrian tyrant Assad did gas civilians, including children.” Where is the “overwhelming evidence?”
One day earlier, O’Reilly had claimed, “The evidence is strong that Assad violated the Geneva Convention by using poison gas to kill civilians.”
So in the course of one day, the evidence had gone from “strong” to “overwhelming.” On what basis did this occur? O’Reilly doesn’t say.
I submit that O’Reilly is engaged in bloviating.
O’Reilly, who is about to begin celebrating his 18th year on the air as the host of the most popular Fox News program, is doing tremendous damage to the notion that he can be relied upon for “fair and balanced” coverage of the major issues of the day.
This is far more serious than an error O’Reilly made when he came under fire for falsely claiming that no Republicans were invited to the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington. “The mistake? Entirely on me,” O’Reilly said.
In the case of going to war, a far more serious matter than talking about invitations to a civil rights event, O’Reilly makes claims that parrot Obama’s talking points; but he offers no evidence to substantiate them.
On this issue, O’Reilly should rename his “Talking Points Memo” the “Obama Talking Points Memo.” He is one of the best allies that Obama has going for him as he attempts to persuade conservatives in the House to vote for war.
Let us recall that the Obama Administration, in its 4-page document that is the basis for war in Syria, claims to have “high confidence” that chemicals were used. It says the evidence “indicates” chemicals were used.
O’Reilly goes further than that, calling it “overwhelming.”
Beyond these unsubstantiated claims, there are suggestions of an intercepted communication that somehow proves that the Assad regime carried out the attack. But investigative journalist Kenneth Timmerman reports in The Daily Caller that “the original communication” shows “just the opposite” of what is being claimed—that the regime was surprised by the attack and acted to make sure its troops did not use the weapons. Not only has the Obama Administration “selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria,” but the report pointing to the Assad regime as being the source of the chemical attack has been “doctored,” said Timmerman.
Although The Daily Caller is a conservative publication and Timmerman is a conservative journalist, liberal Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, brought this report to the attention of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel during the House hearing on the war resolution.
“There’s been a report in the media that the administration has mischaracterized post-attack Syrian military communications and that these communications actually express surprise about the attack,” Grayson said. “This is a very serious charge. Can you please release the original transcripts so that the American people can make their own judgment about that important issue?”
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