It's just a misplaced letter, but what a misplaced letter: Swapping a "D" for an "R" last night, Fox News and "The O'Reilly Factor" labeled disgraced pedophile Congressman Mark Foley, longtime Republican, as a Democrat. Courtesy of TVNewser, here's a clip; apparently it happened a number of times over the course of the broadcast, though they deleted the reference for the rerun (which, let's face it, still gets plenty of viewers). As O'Reilly railed against Foley and his actions — entirely appropriately, and as he has done previously — the visual message to his viewers was that the perpetrator of these heinous crimes against children was a Democrat. This comes at a time when Republicans are desperately fighting the perception that they permissively allowed Foley to go about his business (and his "business") on the hill, and that they are no longer the party of upright moral values.
Now, blaming O'Reilly for this is, of course, ridiculous: During a live show, he is obviously not the one at the controls. However, it's a pretty grave error and one that has Democrats steamed. BradBlog reports that though the "D-FL" was scrubbed for the rerun no explanation was given and, from the screenshot, the actual correction was not made; instead of being designated "R" the screen was left blank. Errors happen, of course; it's how the follow up is dealt with that really shows stripes. How O'Reilly handles this on the air tonight will provide some indication to how "fair" and "balanced" a position Fox is willing to take on this.