O’Reilly Cites MRC Survey in Slamming Networks for Minuscule ISIS Coverage

During a segment on the Thursday edition of the Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly cited a new analysis from the Media Research Center that detailed the massive amount of coverage the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted in the month of April to numerous “allegations of police misconduct” compared to the time spent reporting on the terror group ISIS.

As part of the show’s “Back of the Book” segment, O’Reilly and Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume lambasted the networks for downplaying the threat ISIS poses to the U.S. as the group, in the words of O’Reilly, is “now expanding all over the Middle East.”

O’Reilly led off the segment by introducing the survey (which was produced by the MRC’s Mike Ciandella): 

According to a study done by the Media Research Center, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted 223 minutes of coverage to allegations of police misconduct all over the country in April alone. 78 minutes on the presidential campaign, just 39 minutes on the ISIS terror threat. 

After introducing Hume, O’Reilly admitted that the Freddie Gray case in “Baltimore had to be covered,” but expressed astonishment with the level at which the media has “downplayed” the ongoing story of ISIS.

Hume chimed in and stated his agreement that “Baltimore and the other racial incidents...was probably justified” in receiving coverage, but graciously added that the “networks can walk and chew gum at the same time” by finding the time and resources to also cover the brutality of ISIS.

While O’Reilly suggested that it’s very risky for the networks to send reporters to the areas under ISIS control due to fears of being kidnapped and beheaded, he did have one suggestion for a story the networks could do: 

You could do enterprise stories, though. For example, here's a story I would love to see done. 60-nation coalition, right? President Obama announces a 60-nation coalition to defeat ISIS, downgrade ISIS. I’d like to know what those countries are doing. That's not a hard story to do, is it? 

Hume agreed that it would not be a difficult story to do, but suggested a possible reason why the networks have not been looking to devote extensive coverage to the Islamic terror group:

I think one of the things that's in play here is I don't think this – the administration wants to emphasize this because I think the President, despite the fact that these atrocities have forced his hand into doing something, I don't think the President thinks ISIS is a threat to the United States or the United States major interests and as long as that's the case, of course, he hangs back and he hides behind, to some extent, this 60-nation coalition, which isn't, as you suggest, doing very much[.]

With the liberal media both agreeing with and defending the President at every turn, Hume hypothesized that: “[J]ournalists who cover all this are, by and large, sympathetic to the view that, look, the United States goes thrashing around over there it’ll turn out badly just like all U.S. military interventions in recent times.”

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor on May 7 can be found below.

FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor
May 7, 2015
8:48 p.m. Eastern

BILL O’REILLY: “Back of the Book” segment tonight. The Hume Zone. According to a study done by the Media Research Center, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted 223 minutes of coverage to allegations of police misconduct all over the country in April alone. 78 minutes on the presidential campaign, just 39 minutes on the ISIS terror threat. Joining us from Washington, Brit Hume. So, obviously, Baltimore had to be covered. I mean, it was a big, big story, great pictures, lot of intensity, anything could have happened, but the ISIS – you know, four weeks, 39 minutes and this crew is now expanding all over the Middle East. It seems to be downplayed. Do you agree? 

BRIT HUME: I do agree. I think the coverage of Baltimore and the other racial incidents involving the police was probably justified, but, you know, networks can walk and chew gum at the same time and it seems to me like for quite some time that ISIS and the threat thereof has been downplayed in part, Bill, because I think is because there is no real Washington and U.S. military reaction to it to cover. So, if the President were out there talking about it, acting against it, warning of the threat and so on on a continuing basis, there’d would be more to work with and, of course, it's happening, you know, many, many miles away in places unlike the inner city of Baltimore where you don't have crews and cameras and reporters on the ground to witness these hideous atrocities and so, while if we could see them, it’s certainly they're eye catching, you can’t see them. So, that whole thing feeds into it. 

O’REILLY: No, and that’s across the networks. You can’t send reporters into these areas outside of the Kurdish area because they’ll get killed or kidnapped and beheaded, as we have seen, but here's the thing. You have a dire threat to the country, ISIS. I don't believe that a lot of people on the left even believe that. I mean, certainly, I have heard commentators on Fox News say they don't believe that ISIS is a threat. It's over there, da, da, da. You could do enterprise stories. For example, here's a story I would love to see done. 60-nation coalition, right? President Obama announces a 60-nation coalition to defeat ISIS, downgrade ISIS. I’d like to know what those countries are doing. That's not a hard story to do, is it? 

HUME: No, it shouldn't be. You know, I don't know what the answers would be from administration officials if you asked. 

O’REILLY: No, you don’t ask them. You get the list of the countries and you call the foreign ministers of these countries and say, what are you doing? 

HUME: Those are stories that could be done and – but I will say this, Bill. I think one of the things that's in play here is I don't think this – the administration wants to emphasize this because I think the President, despite the fact that these atrocities have forced his hand into doing something, I don't think the President thinks ISIS is a threat to the United States or the United States major interests and as long as that's the case, of course, he hangs back and he hides behind, to some extent, this 60-nation coalition, which isn't, as you suggest, doing very much and the journalists who cover all this are, by and large, sympathetic to the view that, look, the United States goes thrashing around over there it’ll turn out badly just like all U.S. military interventions in recent times have and, therefore, they have – you know, no bone to pick with it, no problem with it and that feeds into this lack of interest in it. 

O’REILLY: I think you're right that the interest at the network level – network news level is minimal until ISIS comes over here and blows things up. Now, you don't hear Hillary Clinton talking about ISIS either. I don't think I've ever heard her talk about ISIS because, again, there's no strategy. She'd have to depart from President Obama if she wanted to develop a new one because there isn't one now. So, again, that goes by the wayside as well.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Foreign Policy Iraq Middle East Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission War on Terrorism Fox News Channel O'Reilly Factor Video ISIS Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Bill O'Reilly Brit Hume
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links