On his show Tuesday night, Bill O’Reilly tackled distortion of facts on the internet. People believe the misinformation, he said, and there’s “just no control” over it. Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon, said it’s not so much about the medium, but how people choose to use it.
O’Reilly cited a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln: ” You cannot help the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.” Pointing out how the quote is actually from William Boetcker, O’Reilly said misinformation just spreads on the internet, and many people can’t tell truth from incorrect assertions. Using himself as an example, O’Reilly said he is attacked by the left, under false claims, on a regular basis — “and a lot of people believe this stuff and it’s led to death threats against me.”
Continetti argued, “The net is neutral. It can be used for ill, but it can also be used for good. I think just as many times as we have false stories we can also put out the facts.” We can use social media, he said, to correct falsities. “It’s not the question of technology,” he said, “it’s the question of what use you are putting it to.” He then cited sites like his own and Breitbart as examples of those who use it for good.
O’Reilly pointed out a Breitbart story that had reflected badly on him, because he pulled it off their website. The mistake was his own, O’Reilly said, but how would a Breitbart reader know the quotes in the story were out of context?
Later in the segment, O’Reilly asked Continetti, “What percentage of Internet guys like you are really responsible and really look for the truth?”
“99.9 percent,” he answered. O’Reilly replied, “Oh come on” — citing organizations like Media Matters and Gawker.
“For every one of them there is someone like me, that’s why the internet is the place to be,” Continetti said. Well, O’Reilly responded, that would make it 50 percent.
Take a look, via Fox News:
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