Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Jerk Just Makes Things Up

This past week on Al Franken's video version of his radio show (on Sundance), Al showed extended footage from a Bill O'Reilly "Factor" show in which Bill was caught doing what he does best -- fabricating supposed facts. To see O'Reilly go on and on in his brow-beating way, repeating completely made-up facts over and over, is truly disturbing. A good summary appears on
Bill was caught lying about the marriage rates in Sweden, and that they passed a gay marriage law. Both of those statements are lies, marriage rates have not declined in Sweden, and they did not pass a gay marriage law.

O'Reilly falsely claimed that in Sweden, "marriage between men and women declined drastically since gay marriage was legalized there. These stats are irrefutable. They're government statistics," O'Reilly insisted. In fact, recent demographics show that since Sweden passed its 1994 "Registered Partnership Law" establishing same-sex civil unions, marriage rates have increased.

Despite O'Reilly's claims, "gay marriage" is not legal in Sweden, or in other Scandinavian countries. Those countries have versions of civil union laws that offer both heterosexual and homosexual unmarried couples most of the same rights as heterosexual married couples.

Contrary to O'Reilly's claim that the number of heterosexual marriages has declined in Sweden since the domestic partner law took effect in 1995, marriage rates for people aged 15-64 years rose to 7.0 per 1,000 people in 2000 from 6.0 in 1995. According to figures from the Statistical Office of the European Communities.

O'Reilly's false claim was a reference to an argument by Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution. So O'Reilly's Government statistics turn out to be right-wing propaganda from a conservative think tank. But even Kurtz did not say marriage rates in Sweden have declined because the partnership law was passed. That was the spin O'Reilly put on his research, good job Bill, you have crossed into the twilight zone again.
The web site does offer this bit of good news:
Factor Ratings Dropping at Alarming Rate: Since October of 2004 the O'Reilly factor ratings have dropped from a monthly average of 3.1 to a monthly average of 1.7 in May of 2005. This all started in October after the O'Reilly phone sex scandal with Andrea Mackris.

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