Yesterday we presented a highlight reel showing all the times people on Fox News had claimed that you could go to prison if you don't buy government-mandated health insurance. We made this reel because on Tuesday night's edition of "The O'Reilly Factor," host Bill O'Reilly said, "We researched to find out if anybody on Fox News had ever said you're going to jail if you don't buy health insurance. Nobody's ever said it."
Last night O'Reilly responded to all the criticism he'd received for his apparent falsehood. He acknowledged his mistake and sincerely apologized for misleading his viewers. PSYCH! No, of course not. What he actually did was dig in and continue to defend the lie.
Last fall, when jail time was on the table, Fox News reported it, as we should have. ... Now, as we all know, the prison option was taken off the table when the final Obamacare bill was being debated and that's what we were talking to Senator Coburn about, the final bill debate, not all that stuff. So what I said is absolutely true. Nobody at Fox News reported inaccurately about the Obamacare prison situation. Nobody!
Ohhh, I get it! Very clever, Bill. I guess you win. Except for just a few things:
1) In the original exchange on Tuesday night with Senator Coburn (the full, unedited version of which you can watch here), O'Reilly didn't say "We researched to find out if anybody on Fox News had ever said you're going to jail if you don't buy health insurance... during the time that the final Obamacare bill was being debated. Nobody's ever said it... during the time that the final Obamacare bill was being debated." No, what O'Reilly said was: "We researched to find out if anybody on Fox News had ever said you're going to jail if you don't buy health insurance. Nobody's ever said it."
2) While most of the clips in our highlight reel were indeed from the fall of 2009, two of them -- Rush Limbaugh speaking on "Fox & Friends", and Bill Hemmer on "America's Newsroom" -- were from February and March of 2010, the time referred to by O'Reilly as "the final bill debate." So even if we ignore point 1, O'Reilly's still wrong.
3) Of course, the original claim put forward by Fox News all those times back in the fall of 2009 was itself a lie. Factcheck.org debunked it back in November.