Michael Gaynor
The war between the New York Times and Bill O'Reilly and the truth
By Michael Gaynor
May 19, 2009

If Ms. Strom had been allowed to go to Washington, D.C. to meet with Ms. MonCrief and to obtain documents, and then been allowed to write the truth about the Obama campaign and ACORN and Obama's connections to ACORN for publication in The New York Times before Election Day 2008, it would have shown that candidate Obama had flatly lied in the last presidential debate and may well have been the "game changer" Ms. Strom's "higher ups" obviously feared.

Kudos to Bill O'Reilly for interviewing ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief and attorney Heather Heidelbaugh yesterday.

Those ladies had not been booked on "The O'Reilly Factor" as of last Friday, but a column by New York Times Publio Editor Clark Hoyt attacking O'Reilly (and Ms. MonCrief) came out over the weekend and quickly resulted in Ms. MonCrief and Ms. Heidelbaugh being given a big platform that they very much deserve.


It's official: yesterday Bill O'Reilly declared war on The New York Times.

Last October The New York Times spiked a story connecting the Obama presidential campaign to corrupt ACORN.

Ms. MonCrief had been a reliable confidential source for New York Times national correspondent Stephanie Strom since July 2008 and Ms. Strom had described Ms. MonCrief as "a gold mine" and "the best" in email to her.

In the final presidential debate on October 15, 2008, then candidate Obama had stated:

"...with respect to ACORN, ACORN is a community organization. Apparently what they've done is they were paying people to go out and register folks, and apparently some of the people who were out there didn't really register people, they just filled out a bunch of names.

"It had nothing to do with us. We were not involved. The only involvement I've had with ACORN was I represented them alongside the U.S. Justice Department in making Illinois implement a motor voter law that helped people get registered at DMVs."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn't the only leader of Democrats who lies!

That last sentence quoted above is demonstrably false.

Ms. MonCrief had agreed to go from confidential source to named source and Ms. Strom was planning to do to Washington, D.C. the next day to meet Ms. MonCrief and pick up documents then (and, hopefully,a Pulitzer Prize later).

But "higher ups" suddenly ordered Ms. Strom to "stand down" and "cancel the trip."

Ms. Strom called Ms. MonCrief and got voicemail.

Upset and apologetic, Ms. Strom left a voicemail that The New York Times deeply regrets.

Here's the whole transcript of the voicemail:

"Hi, Anita. It's Stephanie. I have just been asked by my bosses to stand down. Ah, we're running a story tonight for tomorrow that, ah, pretty well lays out the partisanship problems that Project Vote may have, ah, based on a report that I got. So, ah, they think that going to do, — that's going to be the story about the partisanship issue, and so they want me to hold off on coming to Washington [to meet with Anita]. Sorry, I take my orders from higher up...ah...sometimes. Anyway, umm...I'm sorry about this and we'll still be in touch. Take care. And let me know if there is anything I can do to help you. Take care. Bye-bye."

"The O'Reilly Factor" edited out the reference to "tonight's story for tomorrow," thereby giving Hoyt something to attack.

Hoyt foolishly outraged O'Reilly by writing in a column on this matter issued on March 16, 2009: "On Fox, O'Reilly played part of a voice-mail message from Strom to Moncrief canceling their appointment but did not tell his viewers that he had deleted the reason: the article running the next day spelling out Acorn's partisanship problems."

O'Reilly referred later in his April 1, 2009 show to that article, but it WAS deleted from the voicemail and O'Reilly never said that it had been included in the voicemail or that the voicemail as played on air had been "edited for time."

On this Hoyt IS right. When you begin your show with a caution that you show is "THE no-spin zone," then...DON'T SPIN!

To his credit, O'Reilly is NOT blaming Ms. MonCrief for words being missing from the voicemail she provided to him. Not long after O'Reilly played the voicemail for the world, I noticed Internet reference to redaction and called that to Ms. MonCrief's attention. Ms. MonCrief checked, discovered that there had been redaction, transcribed the voicemail herself and emailed me the missing words to post.

It would have taken perhaps five more seconds to play the whole voicemail, but then the article mentioned in the part of the voice mail edited out "for time" would have needed to be discussed instead of mentioned briefly later, as O'Reilly did while explaining he was doing so "to be fair."


The whole truth is best and the truth is that the story that The Times published the next day was a watered down piece that did not mention that the Obama campaign was wrongly coordinating with ACORN and had provided ACORN with its entire donor list for the 2d quarter of 2007.

If Ms. Strom had been allowed to go to Washington, D.C. to meet with Ms. MonCrief and to obtain documents, and then been allowed to write the truth about the Obama campaign and ACORN and Obama's connections to ACORN for publication in The New York Times before Election Day 2008, it would have shown that candidate Obama had flatly lied in the last presidential debate and may well have been the "game changer" Ms. Strom's "higher ups" obviously feared.

It has been said that truth is the first casualty in war.

It's been a casualty in this war.

Hoyt's defense of the Times decision to kill the ACORN-Obama campaign expose is, to use Hoyt's word of choice, "nonsense."

It's also true that O'Reilly oversimplified his expose, apparently due to time considerations. If O'Reilly needed to redact, however, he should have said he was doing so and posted a transcript of the unredacted voicemail on his website. Because what was done was done, viewers did not learn that Ms. Strom had used the "story tonight for tomorrow" as the excuse for killing a real expose with monumental political implications that threatened The Times.

In a subsequent phone call the same day as the voicemail, Ms. Strom frankly told Ms. MonCrief NOT that the other story was sufficient and made the story on which they had been working together insignificant, but that her editors feared "a game changer."

The whole truth is really bad for The Times, the liberal media establishment, ACORN, the Obama campaign and, yes, now President Obama.

But Americans need to know the whole truth.

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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