Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Hewitt on O'Reilly

If, like me, you missed Hugh Hewitt's appearance on Bill O'Reilly last week, here's a transcript from our friends at Johnny Dollar's Place. O'Reilly, as anyone who's been even a casual listener lately, takes a dim view of blogs. (Actually, to say he takes a "dim view" is like saying that it's been a little cool lately here in the upper midwest.)

O'Reilly has been routinely raging against bloggers, implying on his radio show that they're all on the take, regularly accepting bribes for smear jobs. He's gone out of his way to defend Dan Rather against "these guys on the internet," and making himself look pretty foolish in the process.

So I was surprised to read in this transcript that O'Reilly almost comes around to accepting Hugh's defense of bloggers. Almost. But for O'Reilly, that's almost a concession.


O'REILLY: All right, so you're saying to me, I hope you're right, you're saying to me that there are far more honest voices on the internet than corrupt people. Is that what you're saying?

HEWITT: Of course. There's a World newspaper, which is a tabloid, and then there's Brit Hume. There's a lot of difference in between. There are bad bloggers, and there are very smart bloggers.

O'REILLY: All right, but here's the danger, and I've just been through this, OK? You've got websites, as you call them Black Ops websites, who will print defamation. All right, that's what they're in the business to do. They'll fabricate stuff, they'll make stuff up, they print it. Then they call up their contact at Any Newspaper USA, because they all have contacts in the straight media. Those people, usually in gossip columns, where they can run blind items, they don't have to source, then they print it. Then the Today Show, Good Morning America, all the cables, see it. They talk about it, talk radio sees it, they talk about it, all of a sudden it's true.

HEWITT: Sure, but Bill there are--

O'REILLY: So you've got a defamation pipeline right into Middle America.

HEWITT: But that happens in the mainstream media too. That happens at broadcast networks. Look what RatherGate did.


HEWITT: The Mapes thing was a hit on George W Bush. Look at Howell Raines and Jayson Blair. Look at the fact that the bloggers brought down Trent Lott, they exposed John Kerry on his Christmas Eve in Cambodia fantasy. There's a lot of good and bad; it's all just media, it's all just reporters.

O'REILLY: All of that's good, right. All of that is good, but I'm telling you there aren't any rules any more, and that's what frightens me.

O'Reilly should be frightened because there is now a source of accountability outside of the people who sign his paycheck. But if we're serious about the truth, we should welcome the accountability. Yes, surrendering to that can be frightening, but in the best of circumstances, accountability acts as iron sharpening iron. It's a refining process. And that should also be reassuring.

But, Hugh . . . did you really let him get away with saying that all bloggers have their contacts in the mainstream media? I'd like to know who mine is.


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