Armed with propaganda, and dangerous with ideological fervor, Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks stated flat-out that the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly, calls people names every 6.8 seconds in his opening monologue.
Anyone who watches the Factor knows that's nonsense. But some don't watch, and may believe our Ms. Brooks.
The information Brooks used to make that incredible statement of alleged fact came from an Indiana University study. But what Brooks did not tell Times readers is that the study defined name-calling as terms such as "buried headline." Researchers actually defined political terms like "conservative," "liberal," even "centrist" as name-calling if the term was somehow connected with "a problem or social ill." I hope you're catching on here. Anything other than reading directly from the phone book is apparently name calling.
Brooks also failed to tell Times readers that the researchers admit they had to make several changes to their "coding instrument" because the first attempts generated "unacceptably low scores." That's code for: they tried and tried until the results fit the preconceived notion of name-calling on the Factor.
But wait, there's more. The Indiana researchers used a framework based on a 1930's study of infamous anti-Semite Father Charles Coughlin. This "content analysis" was developed by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis. Talk about starting with the answer and working backward!
In 2006, one of the study's authors is quoted as saying that it's "obvious" that the Fox News Channel is "part of the Republican Party." Another author's claim to fame is a paper on the "morally conservative" Jerry Springer. A third used to work at CNN. Sounds like a fair and balanced group to me.
Finally, let's step back a moment and look at what Los Angeles Times readers were presented on the op-ed page. Rosa Brooks is a confirmed leftist. Did you know that she is counsel to George Soros' Open Society Institute, perhaps the most far-left think tank in the country? Did you know that? Certainly that does not disqualify her from writing an opinion column, but when you make your living in a far-left environment, it should be known.
While it is true that the opinion forum in every newspaper and on The O'Reilly Factor as well is designed to present provocative views and thoughtful analysis, it is also true that when the analysis is not based on fact, it can deceive the reader. Spitting out propaganda from any ideological concern is not valid opinion.
Los Angeles Times readers are entitled to the finest journalism in the country. That includes an honest opinion page. Rosa Brooks' column on Bill O'Reilly was based on a biased study and laced with far-left propaganda. The Times can do better.
Ron Mitchell is a senior producer for Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor.