Bill O'Reilly Uses Lies and Nonsense to Defend "Angry Lady" Comment About Michelle Obama
On January 11, ABC's World News did a report on Michelle Obama's denial of accusations that she is an "angry black woman." As an example, ABC used a clip of Bill O'Reilly saying in 2008 that "there is some validity" to the statement that Michelle Obama "looks like an angry woman."
On the January 12 edition of his Fox News show, O'Reilly reacted indignantly: "For ABC News to paint me as critical of her is flat-out dishonest."
O'Reilly's defense of his comment focused mainly on the fact that the clip of him was from 2008, and that since then, he has been "generally favorable" to Michelle Obama:
O'REILLY: Well, that sounds kind of bad, does it not? But here's the context. That interview was done about three and a half years ago -- three and a half years ago, when the country was still getting to know Mrs. Obama, who did have some problems in the beginning. You'll remember the "proud of her country" remark. My interview back then was with Rebecca Johnson, who wrote a profile on Michelle Obama for Vogue magazine.
O'REILLY: As usual, I did my job. I asked the tough questions about Mrs. Obama because there was a perception -- and everybody knows it -- that she was not happy-go-lucky. In fact, she told CBS News she's tired of being labeled an angry black woman. That's what she said. On the Factor, Ms. Johnson was given plenty of time to set the record straight as she saw it. That's why we had her on.
Subsequently, since the Obamas have occupied the White House, I have been generally favorable to Michelle Obama.
Here's the problem: This defense doesn't make any sense. As O'Reilly said himself, "the country was still getting to know Mrs. Obama" in 2008. During that getting-to-know-you period, O'Reilly did indeed say that Michelle Obama "looks like an angry woman." In doing so, he obviously helped create a perception in his viewers' minds that she is "an angry woman."
O'Reilly may have said otherwise since then, but he can't honestly claim that he had no role in creating the "angry woman" image of Michelle Obama.
O'Reilly also dragged Media Matters into his complaint: "ABC News also did not tell its audience that it got the clip it used on me from the far-left website Media Matters, which is in business solely to smear non-liberal media people."
This doesn't make much sense, either. O'Reilly didn't dispute the authenticity of the clip or the context of what he said back in 2008. The clip is accurate, and where ABC got it from is irrelevant.
During a tease of this story at the top of the show, the graphic read "Taken Out of Context."
O'Reilly also made a form of this argument during a subsequent discussion with Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham:
O'REILLY: And here's what happened. I worked at ABC News, and here -- here's exactly what happened. They had some inexperienced correspondent -- I don't know even know who she is -- on it. But they had a producer. Producer was lazy. Producer looked at -- you know, Googled Michelle Obama. Bing, Media Matters comes up right away. He takes the thing right off. Doesn't do any contextual about it. When did it happen? Why did it happen? What was the --
INGRAHAM: Oh, that's so -- why are you surprised? Why are you surprised by this?
O'REILLY: No, I'm not, but I want the people to understand this is what happens all the time. So then ABC News on their World News broadcast reaches, what, 8 million people? OK, they throw my picture up there with the Fox News Channel underneath. And how are they supposed to know? How are these people supposed to know what the history of it is? They don't.
If O'Reilly is suggesting that ABC deceived its viewers by not telling them the clip was from 2008, he's wrong there, too. The image ABC that used with the audio of O'Reilly noted it was from "Sept 2008."
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