CyberAlert -- 05/15/2001 -- Dan Rather on Bill Clinton: "I think he's an honest man."

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Dan Rather on Bill Clinton: "I think he's an honest man."

Just one breaking bias item :::: Dan Rather on Bill Clinton: "I think he's an honest man....I think at core he's an honest person....I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."

Tonight, in a taped interview aired on the Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly pressed CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather about former President Bill Clinton's honesty. Here's the exchange:

O'Reilly: "I want to ask you flat out, do you think President Clinton's an honest man?"
Rather: "Yes, I think he's an honest man."
O'Reilly: "Do you, really?"
Rather: "I do."
O'Reilly: "Even though he lied to Jim Lehrer's face about the Lewinsky case?"
Rather: "Who among us has not lied about something?"
O'Reilly: "Well, I didn't lie to anybody's face on national television. I don't think you have, have you?"
Rather: "I don't think I ever have. I hope I never have. But, look, it's one thing-"
O'Reilly, jumping in: "How can you say he's an honest guy then?"
Rather: "Well, because I think he is. I think at core he's an honest person. I know that you have a different view. I know that you consider it sort of astonishing anybody would say so, but I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."
O'Reilly: "Really?!?"
Rather: "Yeah, I do."
O'Reilly: "See, I can't. I want my government to be honest across-the-board. I don't want people lying."

This explains much. "I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things." I guess it all depends on what "honest" means. Substitute: "I think you can be an objective journalist and distort coverage of any number of things." Like incessantly referring to Ken Starr as "the Republican special prosecutor."

If you wish to watch the interview (and are reading this e-mail tonight), The O'Reilly Factor will run twice more tonight/early Wednesday morning:
11pm and 4am EDT
10pm and 3am CDT
9pm and 2am MDT
8pm and 1am PDT

The interview with Rather consumes the second half of the one-hour show. O'Reilly also quizzed Rather about the contrast in the number of CBS stories in the summer of 1999 on George W. Bush's drug use versus the near-blackout of Juanita Broaddrick's charge against Bill Clinton. For a refresher on that contrast, refer back to my Washington Times op-ed, "Bush talks, Clinton walks." Go to:

For a rundown of Rather's record, check out the MRC's special Web page, "20 Years on the CBS Evening News: Dan Rather's Outrageous Liberal Bias." It features more than four dozen Rather quotes and contrasts, some illustrated with video clips. Go to:

Update: More of what Dan Rather told O'Reilly

-- Brent Baker

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