Bill O'Reilly Singled Out As Conservative 'Misinformer' of the Year

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30pm EDT

( - And the winner (or loser, depending on one's viewpoint) is Bill O'Reilly, says a liberal group that monitors "conservative misinformation" in the media.

Media Matters for America announced that it has awarded its first annual "Misinformer of the Year" title to Fox News Channel's O'Reilly -- who beat out Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Britt Hume and Bob Novak for "top honors."

"Our staff analyzed more than 1,000 instances of conservative misinformation captured on our website and tallied the number of times members of the media espoused lies, distortions, or mischaracterizations of fact in order to further the conservative agenda," said David Brock, founder of Media Matters for America.

"In the end, Mr. O'Reilly stood out from all the rest."

Media Matters for America, which began its chronicles of "conservative misinformation" in May, said it has identified and corrected more than 70 examples of O'Reilly lying, exaggerating, or distorting the truth. ("We didn't include comments by O'Reilly that were simply offensive or absurd," the press release noted.)

According to Media Matters, O'Reilly's "most egregiously false and misleading claims" include assertions that President Bush did not oppose the 911 Commission; repeated declarations of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link; and "one instance where O'Reilly fabricated a Paris newspaper to support his claim of a successful French boycott."

In other instances, Media Matters said, O'Reilly "promoted falsehoods about the tax structure, economy, and the American electorate."

"When media figures promote blatant misinformation in the news media, regardless of whether they call it news or commentary, the health of our democracy is threatened," said Brock.

Media Matters for America, modeled loosely after the Media Research Center, the parent organization of the Cybercast News Service, says it is the first organization to "systematically monitor the media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time."

The group made headlines earlier this year for demanding that Rush Limbaugh's talk-radio show be dropped from taxpayer-funded Armed Forces Radio.

Media Matters also was part of a liberal, election-year push to discredit Fox News Channel as a partisan spin-machine and mouthpiece for the Republican Party.

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