When will Republicans learn that you can't speak negatively, true or not, about Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. Sen. Tom Coburn had the guts to call out Fox News for their inflammatory, sensationalized news when responding to a constituant worried about being but in prison by the IRS for not buying health insurance. WITH VIDEO
As expected, Coburn was summoned to "The Republican Party HQ" aka: Fox News to walkback his “Don’t catch yourself being biased by Fox News” comment.
Sen. Coburn -(R) appeared on The O’Reilly Factor last night (4/13/10) to discuss his remarks at a recent town hall. Coburn also said at the town hall, to a constituent who claimed that she could go to jail for not obtaining health insurance, “That makes for good TV news on Fox but that isn't the intention.”
Without saying so directly, Coburn also made no bones about Fox News’ conservative bias. Bill O’Reilly insisted that, contrary to Coburn’s assessment, nobody on Fox News had ever said that under the new health care legislation, you can go to jail if you don’t buy health insurance. But not only was O’Reilly wrong, one such claim was made by Glenn Beck right on The O’Reilly Factor. Interestingly, O’Reilly never argued that Fox is “fair and balanced” and without bias.
Right off the bat Coburn offered as a given that Fox News is biased. “The constituents that come to my town hall meetings? They routinely and uniformly listen to your network and every network has some bias.” He also said that his constituent who worried about going to jail, “didn’t make that up. She heard that.” Coburn added, “The point is this, Bill… We have to win on the real facts of the issues. And when we change those to where we inflame them, we lose our credibility.”
O’Reilly replied, “And I’ve been saying that more than anybody, that personal attacks are foolish.” That’s true to some extent but O’Reilly has also been touring with Mr. Number One inflamer, Glenn Beck.
Then O’Reilly said, “Can you tell me one person on Fox News, just one, who has told this audience that they’ll go to jail if they don’t buy health insurance?”
Unfortunately, Coburn could not name a person. But here is just a few for starters: Neil Cavuto, Bill Hemmer, Foxnews.com (H/T The Nation) and Glenn Beck. He even said so on The O’Reilly Factor, no less. Rep. John Shadegg also said it on On The Record and was not corrected by host Greta Van Susteren.
O’Reilly claimed he had researched whether “anybody on Fox News had ever said, ‘you’re going to jail if you don’t buy health insurance.’” He concluded, “Nobody’s ever said it.” I think O'Reilly needs a new researcher. Later, O’Reilly revealed what I think really bugged him about Coburn’s remarks: “You know, YOU KNOW, that the far-left cranks that dominate the media took what you said and ran with it all day long.”
Coburn wasn’t buying it.
“Here’s the problem, Bill… First of all, you all are running the media now in Oklahoma. I guarantee it, …and across a larger and larger percentage of this country. But when that becomes the news story, instead of us trying to not add to the debt, when we do take a courageous stand and we say, ‘We’re not gonna pass an unemployment insurance bill that we’re gonna charge to our grandchildren… it’s that the story on the networks is more important than the actual happenings that are going on. And that’s a problem in the media because they don’t want to talk about the real substantive issues. You do. But many do not.”