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Not since Al Franken accused Neal Boortz of "lying!!!" at 6 a.m. in the morning about which liberal talk show host he invited on his show has so much hot air been spewed about so little... Let's look at how that right-wing rag the New York Times quotes the original Super Bowl piece in question:
In the essay, Mr. O'Reilly, formerly nicknamed "Go-Go," after the New York Giants kicker Peter Gogolak, describes the crowd's reaction to a botched kick during a game against Iona College.So the context here is O'Reilly telling a self-deprecating story about a rough day on the football field, and the "boast" is an aside... How did Olby describe it to begin with?
"Never mind that I won the national punting title for my division as a senior," wrote Mr. O'Reilly, who has never been loath to boast of his achievements. "Never mind that I split the uprights scores of times. In the hearts and minds of my college peers, I am the man who punted a football backwards."
He waxed poetic about the inspiration that his own football career at Marist College in New York provided observing that he once punted a ball backwards. But that, quoting here, "I won the national punting title for my division as a senior." [...]Inspiration? Surely he jests. In the country? Er, no, he said "my division."
So when he says he was the top punter in his division in the country in 1970, it does not mean what it sounds like.
So tonight Olby tried to save face on his blog by splitting already-split hairs:
I pointed this out â€” in considerably less detail â€” on Mondayâ€™s edition of Countdown. The point was not that Oâ€™Reilly wasnâ€™t a punter/placekicker for a college football team (he was), nor that he wasnâ€™t a good one (he was; he averaged 41.4 yards per punt in 1970) â€” just that heâ€™d once again conveyed an illusion of grandeur about his accomplishments. There was no â€œdivisionâ€? for him to win â€œthe national punting titleâ€? in while with Maristâ€™s club team in 1970.Never mind that Marist College itself insists he won a division... Again, not once does anyone imply that O'Reilly played in the NCAA, yet the use of term "division" for Keith automatically makes O'Reilly a liar.
The point of all this is, like much of Mr. Oâ€™Reillyâ€™s assertions about himself (and others), thereâ€™s a lot less than meets the eye in the statement â€œI won the national punting title for my division as a senior.â€? There was no division, the outfit was semi-national at best, and the title might have been statistically dubious.Still waiting for the point. Now remember, "Countdown" is supposed to be a news show...
Olby appeared on Franken's low-rated radio talk show along with infamous liar David Brock and Martin "The budget is like Sep. 11" O'Malley... No word if "Zero Spin Zone" Franken quoted the Marist statement, but there has been no correction by Brock's website.
NOTE: Bulldog Pundit has a few choice words for KO on his latest post.
UPDATE: The full O'Reilly essay...
UPDATE II: More comments here...