Bill O’Reilly and Microsoft: Both 60 Percent Crap

David Letterman takes on Bill O'Reilly and Microsoft takes down Chinese bloggers.

The Liberal Media strikes again! That tool of the Left, David Letterman, took Fox’s Bill O’Reilly to task on the “Late Show” last night, telling O’Reilly that “I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap,” and that “I don’t think that you represent an objective viewpoint.”

Better Than Fudge liked what he saw, writing that “Dave has never said a ton about his political views on the air as far as I can recall — at least in a substantial way that goes beyond digs at Bush’s gaffes and abuse of the English language. But every so often something gets under his skin and he can’t resist shedding the funnyman grin for a dose of common sense or two. And it happened last night. And it was glorious.”

The Core 4 gets perhaps a little carried away, asking “why does our best journalism come from late night comedians?” As much fun as the interview was, we’d hesitate to call it “journalism” — but, hey, we’ll take the truth wherever we can find it.

PoliPundit sees things a little differently, writing, “What is sad is to see is someone in the media so ignorant (or brainwashed) about things that everyone should know. That John Kerry and Bill Clinton and so many other Democrats believed, and stated on record, the same things that George Bush believed about WMD is something that anyone with even a mediocre memory should remember.”

Problem is, PoliPundit and others making similar claims seem to have memories that rate slightly less than “mediocre.” As it happens, John Kerry and “other Democrats” didn’t have the same intelligence as the president. How can we be so sure, you ask? Well, according to the Dec. 16 Washington Post, “A congressional report … concluded that President Bush and his inner circle had access to more intelligence and reviewed more sensitive material than what was shared with Congress when it gave Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq.” Or, as Knight Ridder reported, “Unlike members of Congress, the president and his top officials also have the authority to ask U.S. intelligence agencies more extensively for follow-up information, the report said. ‘As a result, the president and his most senior advisers arguably are better positioned to assess the quality of the … intelligence more accurately than is Congress.’”

In other news, R Conversation’s Rebecca MacKinnon posted some very interesting information yesterday that’s just beginning to filter through the blogosphere. MacKinnon writes that “Microsoft’s MSN Spaces continues to censor its Chinese language blogs, and has become more aggressive and thorough at censorship since I first checked out MSN’s censorship system last summer.” She looks at the case of Michael Anti, a blogger whose work was “TAKEN DOWN by MSN people. Not blocked by the Chinese government.” She notes that after experimenting with some Chinese blogging herself, her conclusion is that the blogs are being censored by “MSN staff at the level of the MSN servers.” To us, this seems like a big story — one that someone in the press should follow up on.

Scobleizer picks up on the story, writing that “It’s one thing to pull a list of words out of blogs using an algorithm. It’s another thing to become an agent of a government and censor an entire blogger’s work. Yes, I know the consequences. Yes, there are thousands of jobs at stake. Billions of dollars. But, the behavior of my company in this instance is not right.” He emailed several suits at MSN and writes that “someone over on MSN Spaces just wrote me and said he hadn’t heard of this and that he’s raising this up the management chain too.” We’ll see what happens.

In LA considers the long-term issues raised by MSN’s actions, holding that “Companies need to have very clear policies on how best to comply with local law enforcement in place,” and that ideally, “There needs to be a public dialogue about the ethical and moral merits of these policies.”

Paging Bill O’Reilly — time to take Microsoft to the No Spin Zone.

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Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.