August 29, 2013
Fox host Bill O'Reilly (Frank Micelotta/Associated Press)
Bill O’Reilly (Frank Micelotta/Associated Press)

It’ll be tough for Fox News host Bill O’Reilly to avoid circling back to his factual atrocity from Wednesday night. In a segment with longtime pundit James Carville, O’Reilly took issue with the roster of speakers at the 50th anniversary of the March of Washington.

O’REILLY: Well we’re fair on the analysis. But wasn’t it a little strange, we didn’t have one black conservative or one black Republican? I mean do they — the invitations get lost in the mail, or what?
CARVILLE: Well first of all, I’ll be honest with you, I try to — I don’t know who put it on, or who invited who –
(CROSSTALK)
O’REILLY: NAACP put it on with in association with some other liberal groups.
CARVILLE: Yes you know the former presidents speaking I think was appropriate I’m sure –
(CROSSTALK)
O’REILLY: Isn’t…George W. Bush a former president?
CARVILLE: Well he’ll get you the statement. I do not know that he wasn’t invited.
O’REILLY: He wasn’t. No Republicans and no conservatives were invited.

Wrong. As my colleague Ed O’Keefe reported in extensive detail: “Event organizers said Wednesday that they invited top Republicans, all of whom declined to attend because of scheduling conflicts or ill health.” Among the decliners: Both former presidents Bush, Jeb Bush, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Sen. John McCain.

No invites; many invites: This is a stark factual error away from which O’Reilly cannot possibly run. It’s time, in other words, for the extremely popular Fox News host to honor his “no spin zone.” Squirming out of it would prompt an outcry from the Erik Wemple Blog and other media critics and naysayers, with, in all likelihood, absolutely no measurable negative impact on the cable-news king’s ratings.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.