The O'Reilly Factor
A daily summary of segments aired on The O'Reilly Factor. A preview of the evening's rundown is posted before the show airs each weeknight.
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
The Factor Rundown
Talking Points Memo & Top Story
Personal Story Segment
Impact Segment
Factor Follow Up Segment
Unresolved Problems Segment
Back of Book Segment
Factor Mail
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What really happened in Katrina's wake?
Guest: Fox News analyst Bob Williams

"With so much misinformation and spin about Katrina, we decided to do a methodical investigation into exactly what happened. We begin with the Louisiana Hurricane Evacuation Plan, which is what the Mayor and the Governor were supposed to follow. One provision states this: 'The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses ... may be used to provide transportation to individuals who need assistance.' But those government vehicles were not used on a large scale. Instead, Governor Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin decided to allow residents to stay if they wanted, even though a mandatory evacuation order had been issued before the storm hit. Most city buses stood idle, and Mayor Nagin still has not explained why a 'mandatory evacuation' is not mandatory. Governor Kathleen Blanco also made major mistakes. She failed to send any National Guard troops in to secure New Orleans before the storm. She also failed to ask for more troops from the feds. Like the Mayor, Governor Blanco has no explanation. Once the levees were breached, the situation became a national security issue, and the feds should have arrived in force. But the Homeland Security Office and President Bush were 24 hours late in taking decisive action. How did the Mayor and Governor think any kind of order could be maintained without crowd control? We believe Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin should be forced to answer questions."

The Factor was joined by Bob Williams, who also examined the response to Katrina. "It was just a crisis of leadership," Williams stated. "New Orleans had a contingency plan, but they did nothing. The most crucial time in a hurricane is not the 48 hours after, but the 72 hours prior. The first responders are the city and the state, and the Governor did not fully activate that state emergency operating center, and did not have communication with the Mayor." The Factor added that there is plenty of blame to go around. "We're all human, we all make mistakes, but mistakes at this level are so huge. Blanco was in over her head, and Nagin was in over his head. I don't know why President Bush and Michael Chertoff didn't just seize control."

Fox News Video:

Geraldo talks back
Guest: Fox News host Geraldo Rivera

Writing in the New York Times, reporter Alessandra Stanley claimed that Fox News host Geraldo Rivera "nudged an Air Force rescue worker out of the way so his camera crew could tape him as he helped lift an older woman in a wheelchair to safety." Rivera disputed that version of events, and showed the videotape that proves her wrong. " Alessandra Stanley is the Jayson Blair of the style section. She doesn't care whether it's factual or not. The Times is so arrogant, and because they control the media in the world center of media, they feel they can do anything." The Factor accused Stanley of slander. "By writing that, she put you in a position where you are exploiting a woman's horror for your own self-aggrandizement. I would think about suing her, if I were you. There's something terribly wrong at the New York Times."

American Red Cross working hard
Guest: Marty Evans, President, American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has been taking a lead role in the hurricane relief efforts. The organization's president Marty Evans elaborated on the enormous challenge. "Right now we're helping 125,000 people in Red Cross shelters in nineteen states. We're providing financial system for people who have left the area, and very soon we will launch a massive financial assistance program. We will provide people with shelter for as long as it takes to get them into longer term housing."

What are other countries sending?
Guest: Fox News analyst Tony Snow

The State Department released a list of contributions sent or pledged by other nations. Leading the list are Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which are offering oil, cash, and aid valued at $500 million and $255 million, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, Japan is sending just $1 million, while France, Germany, and Italy are contributing meager amounts of equipment. Fox News analyst Tony Snow explained the disparity. "You're going to see middle eastern oil states that feel they owe their security to us giving a lot of money. As for Europe, it's a reflection of the governments there. They're not as generous as we are, so I didn't expect to get a lot. The Factor ridiculed the paltry Japanese contribution. "Bangladesh sent a million dollars, and Japan did the same. The Prime Minister spends more on his hair. That's just insulting."

Gas-free Sundays
Guest: Elizabeth MacDonald, Forbes Magazine & Fox News business contributor Jonathan Hoenig

Gas prices have risen dramatically, while major oil companies are making astronomical profits. For example, ExxonMobil earned $7.64 billion in the most recent quarter, and paid CEO Lee Raymond $38 million last year. Forbes Magazine's Elizabeth MacDonald accused the oil companies of price gouging. "They're jacking up prices to whatever the local markets will bear. You expect fair competition, but they're chasing independent gas stations out of the market. There is not fair competition." Fox News business contributor Jonathan Hoenig countered that oil companies are not making obscene profits. "It costs $2 billion to put up an oil rig. The profit margin in the oil business is below restaurants, hotels and the software industry." The Factor pointedly called on all viewers to avoid buying gas on Sundays. "If all of us would cut back just ten percent, that would drive gas prices down. Don't rely on any help from the oil companies, which are profiting greatly."

Stars to the rescue?
Guests: Entertainment journalist Jeanne Wolf

The list of high-profile entertainers who have traveled to New Orleans includes John Travolta, Sean Penn, Chris Rock, Oprah Winfrey and others. Entertainment journalist Jeanne Wolf portrayed the celebrities as genuine humanitarians. "I'm not cynical of this - it's the human side of the stars. What celebrities can bring to New Orleans is something that is direly needed, and that is attention." The Factor commended some of the celebrities for their generosity, but criticized singer Celine Dion for justifying looting. "Celine Dion does a good thing by giving a million dollars, then wrecks it by this kind of nonsensical analysis. To excuse or condone anarchy is irresponsible. These people need to think before they speak."

Viewers sound off
Factor Words of the Day
Most of your emails dealt with Hurricane Katrina and the government response. Some excerpts:

Frank Puzycki, Long Valley, NJ: "Bill, your talking points was right on target. We need to depend more on ourselves than big brother government."

Ed Mitchell, Tupelo, MS: "Mr. O'Reilly, your cynicism regarding the government is not helpful. Newt Gingrich had it right - we ought to fix what is not working."

Lisa Hebert, Baton Rouge, LA: "Bill, you get it. The politicians here failed to do what was necessary to shore up the levees. Please pray for my family."

Doris, Gastonia, NC: "Go to hell, Mr. O'Reilly. The National Guard or anybody else could not separate me from my pet - regardless of the situation."

Warren Pateman, Perth, Australia: "I am appalled at the lack of help offered by rich countries like France and Japan. Australia is sending $10 million. Please remind Americans who their real friends are."

Lee Pace, Greenwich, CT: "Mr. O, I am all for your proposal not to buy gas on Sundays. I feel this is something we can all do to fight back against exploitation."