The ongoing war of words over waterboarding, drones and media bias between Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and CNN’s Howard Kurtz intensified Monday, ahead of their planned on-air meeting to discuss the topic head-to-head on Wednesday.
On his Sunday CNN program, Kurtz ripped a claim by O’Reilly that mainstream media networks aren’t covering the specifics of President Barack Obama’s secretive drone program, noting that NBC earlier in the week had exclusively revealed the “white paper” used by the administration to legally justify strikes on Americans overseas.
“Bill, the only reason there is a drone debate right now is because NBC News revealed that memo,” Kurtz said.
But on his Monday program, O’Reilly flatly rejected Kurtz’s criticism, saying Kurtz had missed the big picture.
“Yesterday, Kurtz echoed the distortion that I unfairly criticized NBC News, knowing they had exposed an Obama administration memo that justifies the drone strikes,” O’Reilly said. “Are you kidding me, Howard? … The double standard of media coverage on waterboarding versus drones has been apparent for years.”
“To be fair, a few committed left-wing people, like Code Pink, are consistent in their objection to tough measures against terrorists. Not everybody on the left is hypocritical,” O’Reilly continued. “NBC News was handed the drone memo by somebody. And it reported the story. Good for them. But has analysis by NBC commentators reflected drone disdain at the level of waterboarding disdain? Not even close.”
Later in his show, O’Reilly revealed that Kurtz is scheduled to be on his program on Wednesday, but wondered aloud whether he would cancel.
In a tweet after the show, Kurtz assured O’Reilly he would be there.
Bill O’Reilly just asked if I’m gonna show up on the Factor on Wednesday after being invited. The answer: hell yeah
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) February 12, 2013