Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly apologized on August 29’s The O’Reilly Factor for having wrongly “assumed” Republicans weren’t invited to attend the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech, Mediaite reported. The anniversary event included comments by Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey at the Lincoln Memorial.
O’Reilly had said on the air during a discussion with Democratic Party strategist James Carville that “No Republicans and no conservatives were invited,” according to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow blog. Video of the original error is posted on Huffington Post.
But, as the blog for MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show reported, former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said no Republicans accepted the invitation. MSNBC reported:
“Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond told MSNBC that organizers ‘asked a long list of Republicans to come, and to a man and woman they said ‘no.'”
Further, the Huffington Post added that four high-profile Republicans were unable to attend — President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, John Boehner and Eric Cantor. “Moreover, every member of Congress was invited,” the Huffington Post wrote.
The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, who called O’Reilly’s apology “first-class,” commented that O’Reilly’s comment “was no casual, off-the-cuff remark that just happened to have been wrong,” but rather “a rallying cry.”
In an on-air apology, O’Reilly said
“I said there were no Republican speakers invited. Well I was wrong. Some Republicans were asked to speak, they declined. And that was a mistake. They should have spoken. Now the mistake, entirely on me. I simply assumed that since all the speakers were liberal Democrats, Republicans were excluded. So here’s the tip of the day: Always check out the facts before you make a definitive statement, and when you make a mistake, admit it.”
Check out video of the apology, via Fox News’ website.