Bill O'Reilly Still Plagued by His Homeless Vets Controversy
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Bill O'Reilly's attack on homeless veterans was arguably one of the nastiest, most noxious news stories FOX News spewed during the Presidential election cycle, which is saying a lot. In January 2008, O'Reilly went after John Edwards for calling attention to the 200,000 homeless veterans sleeping under bridges and on the streets. It was a figure substantiated by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, but O'Reilly didn't let a little thing like the facts prevent him from saying there weren't homeless vets out there. When O'Reilly eventually back-tracked, it was only so far as to state that if there were homeless vets, there weren't many of them. What's more, he said their homelessness was due to their own addictions and mental illnesses, not our economy.
Brave New Films and groups like Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America immediately fought back. We released FOX Attacks "Non-Existent" Veterans" along with a petition demanding O'Reilly apologize to homeless vets, which over 17,000 people signed. Of course, when homeless vets attempted to deliver the petition to the FOX building in New York, they were denied entrance and ambushed by an O'Reilly camera crew--one of FOX's favorite faux journalistic practices.
Flash forward to last night, when O'Reilly continued to blame everything from homeless vets to Rush Limbaugh's incendiary comments on the "Far-Left Smear Machine," as he likes to call us. O'Reilly even used a handy little Far-Left Smear Chart to illustrate exactly how the machine works.
ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.