O'REILLY DENIES TAKING TALKING POINTS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.

Continuing his long tradition of "not doing personal attacks," last night Bill O'Reilly called Scott McClellan "an idiot" for saying O'Reilly and others at FOX took talking points from the White House and denied ever doing any such thing. In fairness, even Scotty would have to admit that he's not exactly the most trustworthy fellow, but what's most interesting is not his claim that the White House fed talking points to pundits, but his defense of it (Transcript of Hardball via Nexis):

MATTHEWS: Did people say, call Sean, call Bill, call whoever? Did you do that as a regular thing?

(CROSSTALK)

MCCLELLAN: Certainly. Certainly. It wasn`t necessarily something I was doing, but it was something that we at the White House, yes, were doing and getting them talking points and making sure they knew where we were coming from.

MATTHEWS: So, you were giving them talking points...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCLELLAN: But I would separate the journalists.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: No, no, this is important.

MCCLELLAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: You were using these commentators as your spokespeople?

MCCLELLAN: Well, certainly. I mean, certainly. I think that happens to both ways, when people go on other networks, as well, that are -- that are favorable towards Democrats and so forth.

MATTHEWS: Well, nobody has ever fed me any crap like that, so I don`t know what you`re talking about.

The relevant part of the exchange here is the fact that McClellan didn't actually think there was anything wrong with what the White House was doing. He is simply unaware of how embarrassing this might be to O'Reilly and others, so it's hard to suggest he was simply making it up to make them look bad, since not only does he think of it as perfectly normal, he assumes that the other side does the same thing.

--A. Serwer

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