Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly put his old network on blast, saying “it’s a totally different operation now” while criticizing television news at large for spouting propaganda.
In a segment of his BillO’Reilly.com show, the 72-year-old credited Fox News National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin for correcting several guest commentators for spreading misinformation about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He rolled a clip of Griffin calling out Douglas Macgregor for claiming that Vladimir Putin is entitled to annex Ukraine and that he is not after the western part of the country.
“… There were so many distortions in what he just said, and talking about the west and NATO vilifying Putin and sounding like an apologist for Putin, and talking about how he thinks he knows how far Putin wants to go,” she said. “I don’t think anyone that I’ve spoken to here at the Pentagon or elsewhere [in] Western intelligence believes they know how far Putin wants to go.”
O’Reilly upheld Griffin’s pushback as an example of how far Fox News – among other news channels – has fallen in terms of accountability and factual accuracy.
“Now, why I’m running that clip is – not only to show you how gutsy she is – is that it used to be that propagandists would be slapped down hard and now they’re not,” he said.
“Not just on Fox, but on every television news program. I mean, I’ve told you this time and time and time again, I turn on the TV set, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the network morning shows, the late-night comedians, the cable news across the board – two left, one right – propaganda is just spat out there and the people running the shows are just sitting there going like this,” he continued, bobbing his head in mock stupidity.
O’Reilly got heated as he discussed the ramifications this holds for viewers.
“You can’t do that!” O’Reilly exclaimed. “That’s a disservice to the American people. You’ve got to know enough about the subject that you are involved with as an anchor or a host, that if somebody says something that’s propagandistic, you challenge.”
“That never happened on ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ ever,” he said of the Fox News show he hosted from 1996 to 2016. O’Reilly left the show and was fired shortly after reports surfaced of the multimillion-dollar settlements he and Fox News paid out in sexual harassment cases. The show was cancelled in April 2017.
Later in the clip, O’Reilly speculated about the cause of the downfall of television news.
“The hosts and the anchors are too afraid to [call people out] because the corporations don’t back ’em,” he said. “Boom! You create controversy, you’re gone,” he said, acknowledging that there are a few anchors who “get strong ratings and say what they want.”
Lambasting the shows for their lack of “credible” research, O’Reilly addressed audiences everywhere: “Why are you guys wasting your time watching this stuff? I’m looking out for you.”
O’Reilly wrapped up the segment by proclaiming that “propagandistic” news is “everywhere.”
“It’s cheap and easy and it makes money, and that’s the truth,” he said. “But not Jennifer Griffin. You see her, she will back up what she says with facts.”