The O'Reilly Factor
A daily summary of segments aired on The O'Reilly Factor. A preview of the evening's rundown is posted before the show airs each weeknight.
Friday, November 16, 2012
The Factor Rundown
General Petraeus testifies on Capitol Hill
Greg began Friday's program on the subject of former CIA boss Gen. David Petraeus, who testified in front of House and Senate intelligence committees Friday about the Libya attack. According to his testimony, the CIA immediately suspected an Al Qaeda involvement, but that reference was later removed. Greg was joined by Republican Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "This really questions how our intelligence operation works," Blunt said, "and how what we did after 9/11 affected the system. I have real questions about our capacity to make decisions and then to pass those decisions along. Until we got the surveillance tape from the compound, it took ten days to decide there wasn't a spontaneous demonstration. If all the intelligence efforts of the United States government couldn't figure out something this basic, that's pretty amazing!" Greg, prone to metaphorical flourishes, concluded, "This administration has created more tales than a tuxedo factory."
Who changed the CIA report suggesting Al Qaeda was involved in Benghazi attack?
Continuing with the Benghazi story, Greg posed the big questions: Who altered the original CIA report and why did government officials blame a video for the attack. Military analyst Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer tried to supply some answers. "This is indicative of a process that is either completely flawed," he said, "or someone cooked the books. Somehow this process produced talking points for Ambassador Susan Rice that were 180 degrees off from what the factual intelligence was indicating." Shaffer, a former intelligence officer, defended intelligence operatives who initially make the right call. "People like me put their lives on the line to produce factual information to help policy makers make the correct decision. What we saw here was the complete abandonment of that hard work. This was not an intelligence failure, this was a policy failure. Intelligence indicated there was a threat but it was ignored."
Slobbering love affair between President Obama and media continues
Greg welcomed his co-host on "The Five," former Bush White House spokesman Dana Perino. They discussed the media's enduring infatuation with President Obama, which was in full display at this week's presidential press conference. "Every time I see the clips I cringe," Perino said. "The President is very good, he's very charming and disarming, but our system is set up so that the people are represented through the press and there were so many serious questions that could have been asked. I don't see why he doesn't have a press conference three times a week - he runs the room and gets the reporters off their game." Greg quickly shot down that suggestion: "I don't think I could handle that, I could barely stay awake through this one. The media's love for him has blunted their ability to report objectively about what's going on with Benghazi."
Fiscal cliff negotiations kick off at the White House
Economist, author, and actor Ben Stein entered the No Spin Zone with his analysis of the looming threat of automatic tax increases and spending cuts. "I don't think it'll be the end of the world," Stein predicted. "They'll reach a compromise and the fact is that taxes will go up on rich people by a lot. We need higher taxes, we need more revenue, we can not go on running these deficits forever. The whole idea of being a Republican is fiscal sensibility, and fiscal sensibility says we can not leave our children and grandchildren a bankrupt America. There are a lot of rich people who have an awful lot of money and are not taxed enough." Greg joked that Stein may have an ulterior motive: "I disagree with everything you said, but you are both an actor an economist so I understand why you want to raise taxes. It's about getting invited to more cocktail parties without other actors yelling at you." Stein also weighed in on the bankruptcy of Hostess Brands, maker of Twinkies and other goodies, after a protracted labor dispute. "This is an example," he said, "of how unions misunderstand their duty. A union that costs its workers their jobs isn't much of a union. What good does that do anyone?" Greg concluded, "The lesson here is that we thought that Twinkies could outlast everything ... except unions."
Geraldo on Libya and General Petraeus
Geraldo Rivera gave his take on the Obama administration's shifting explanations for the Libya attack. "We can make a reasonable argument," he said, "that they were trying to package this tragedy in a way that was least harmful to the President in the run-up to the election. I don't have proof of that, but it's a reasonable possibility." Rivera turned to General David Petraeus, who testified before two Congressional panels Friday. "He's more than a great guy, he's a brilliant general, the best since Eisenhower. And to suggest that he would in any way alter testimony for a political result or because he feared somebody might blackmail him, anyone making that allegation is smoking something." And finally, Rivera also gave an unsolicited plug for Greg's new book "The Joy of Hate." "I like how you exposed the media double standard," Rivera gushed, "specifically as it affected the two main populist uprisings in the past couple of years, the Tea Party and the Occupy movement. You correctly portray in a very humorous way how Occupy was romanticized while the Tea Party was portrayed as doofuses and bumpkins."
Is America a nation of cheaters?
Greg introduced Bill's recent interview with Olympic swimming gold medalist Dara Torres and cyclist Erin Mirabella, conducted soon after cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France crowns. "Testing has definitely evolved over the years," Torres said, "and once you're an elite athlete they can come and drug test you randomly. I'm a huge advocate of clean sports and as a society we have to make a decision whether all athletes have to be clean or all of them can have false super-human performances." Mirabella pointed out that Armstrong and other cyclists were able to fool the testing agencies for years. "I had suspected that Armstrong and other athletes were doping, and as a clean athlete it was really frustrating to watch their super-human performances. Some of what Armstrong did was quite simple, such as not answering the door when the testers came. But they also had much more sophisticated ways if they did have to give a sample."
Confronting President Obama
Finally, Greg spoke with civil rights attorney John Flannery about a full page ad taken out by the ACLU urging President Obama to live up to his promises. "The ad says he accomplished a great deal," Flannery said, "but we are saying he has one more term to finish what he promised before his first campaign. These are three worthy issues to talk about: Guantanamo Bay has been a stain on America; how do we handle the onslaught against women by Republican leadership; and what do we do about immigration? He's eliminated torture and other things, but there's a lot more to be done." Greg was flummoxed by the notion that President Obama hasn't done enough for pro-choice advocates: "You don't think he's done enough for abortion? Should he be in Planned Parenthood actually performing them?"