Bill O'Reilly vs. PunditFact
By Aaron Sharockman
Published on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 at 10:48 a.m.
Bill O'Reilly mixed praise and criticism over two of our recent fact-checks on Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor.
First, the good.
During an interview with self-described libertarian John Stossel, O'Reilly said PunditFact "did a good analysis of my statement that Nelson Mandela was a communist," The claim was criticized by some on rival cable network MSNBC, but we rated it Mostly True.
The weight of the historical evidence shows that O’Reilly is correct. For a time, Mandela -- despite his denials -- appears to have been a member not only of the Communist Party in South Africa but also of its central committee. In the fact-check, we also noted that Mandela’s affiliation with the party or its goals was never a dominant feature of his ideology or message.
O'Reilly, however, took issue with PunditFact's False rating of his claim that the Denver Post "has actually hired an editor to promote pot."
The Denver Post said it planned to cover many aspects of the unfolding story of legalized marijuana in Colorado, ranging from policy and laws to the culture of pot users. While that coverage has yet to unfold, the stated goals of the Post do not match O’Reilly’s description of the newspaper’s intentions "to promote pot."
On Tuesday, O'Reilly responded.
"PolitiFact says the intent of the Denver Post is to, 'cover many aspects of the unfolding story of legalized marijuana,' and that I misled you guys in that commentary," O'Reilly told viewers. He then turned to Stossel.
"So, here's my beef, when you hire an editor who says he's going to allow people to use marijuana, to ingest it, and then tell readers what the best bud is, you're promoting it, okay, you're promoting intoxication, because that's why you use marijuana," O'Reilly said. "And I don't think that's right. And you say?"
"I say that is part of it. I don't think it's their main intention," Stossel said.
"All right. So, I didn't mislead then," O'Reilly said.
"Well, if you said they're just promoting it, you kind of did," Stossel said.
"I said not just, I said they're promoting it," O'Reilly said.
"Then we'll have that. If you cover something, you promote it," Stossel said.
"Okay, good," O'Reilly finished. "So, Stossel and I think that, on this one, PolitiFact is wrong."
Back on the Dec. 9, 2013, show, where PunditFact found the claim to check, O'Reilly made a point to say that the Post was promoting pot nine separate times.
- "The Denver Post has hired an editor to promote marijuana? Is that funny in the mile high city?"
- "It's Rocky Mountain High once again as the Denver Post hires an editor to promote marijuana."
- "The state of Colorado has legalized marijuana, now the largest newspaper there, the Denver Post has actually hired an editor to promote pot."
- "The Denver Post, when I worked in Denver a long time ago was a good newspaper. Now it's a very far left concern. And they are -- they're promoting marijuana use. I just don't think it's good."
- "This is about promoting it."
- "It's absolutely promoting it."
- "This is promoting the use of an intoxicant by the Denver Post."
- "They are promoting intoxication."
- "Here is the deal the Denver Post is promoting intoxication which is going to lead to more DUIs as we have seen in Washington State."
See individual fact-checks.
Researchers: Aaron Sharockman
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