(NOTE: Please read the update to this alert: O’Reilly “Responds” to FAIR)
In his continuing criticism of the Los Angeles Times for printing stories about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s alleged record of groping and sexual assault, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly (10/8/03) pointed to what he saw as a double standard: “Do you think the L.A. Times sent a squad of reporters to Arkansas to investigate Bill Clinton’s problems with women? No, it did not.”
In fact, the L.A. Times did investigate Clinton sex stories in Arkansas. A 4,000-word piece appeared on the paper’s front page on December 21, 1993, running under the headline “Troopers Say Clinton Sought Silence on Personal Affairs.” This article was one of the first to report on the scandal known as “Troopergate,” which led to Paula Jones’ lawsuit against Clinton and thus indirectly to Clinton’s impeachment.
Later on in the same broadcast, O’Reilly charged that the L.A. Times “didn’t send a squad of reporters to go down there and interview Kathleen Willey and all of the other people. They did not do it.” The paper could not have interviewed Willey “down there”; she was a White House volunteer who accused Clinton of sexual misconduct at the White House. She came forward to tell her story in 1998, and her case had nothing to do with Arkansas. Her allegations were featured in a front-page L.A. Times story on March 16, 1998.
It’s not unusual for O’Reilly to slam the L.A. Times, a paper he often criticizes for being too left-wing (once calling it, for example, the “pro-Palestinian newspaper of record out there in L.A.”– 2/21/03). Such attacks helped Schwarzenegger supporters dismiss detailed and consistent accounts from women who said that they had been abused by the film star as mere partisan mudslinging.
ACTION: Contact the O’Reilly Factor and ask them to issue a correction about the host’s erroneous charge that the Los Angeles Times failed to investigate Clinton’s “problems with women” in Arkansas.
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