From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Krugman vs. O'Reilly

August 7, 2004 5:30 PM

The deathmatch of the year is on Tim Russert's CNBC show tonight. Krugman took up O'Reilly's challenge to debate the charge leveled by Outfoxed that FNC is a Republican propaganda machine. The Washington Post has a preview:

O'Reilly called Krugman a "quasi-socialist"; Krugman called that "slander" and said if he is a quasi-socialist then O'Reilly is a "quasi-murderer"; O'Reilly pronounced Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" a bit of "Nazi propaganda" that reinforced all of Krugman's "paranoid delusions"; Krugman insisted Moore's flick was "flawed" but was made by "a guy who really does love this country"; Russert hardly got a word in edgewise; and a good time was had by all. One of those exchanges that make you so proud to be a journalist.

During their give and take -- okay, maybe it's more accurate to say push and shove, or slap and smack -- O'Reilly would periodically accuse Krugman of not letting him get in a sentence, or words to that effect.

So we counted and, according to The Washington Post TV Team Transcript Tally, O'Reilly actually got in 321 sentences during the "debate," to Krugman's 258.

It's airs at 7 & 10pm ET/PT on CNBC.

UPDATE: The video is available on bittorrent.

More from the archive in Outfoxed, Television.

Krugman vs. O'Reilly (08.07.2004)

Next Entry: Outfoxed storms the box office on opening weekend! (08.08.2004)
Previous Entry: Time Warner vs. News Corp (08.06.2004)

Read the 32 comments.



Sun Aug 8 2004 10:01 PM


are you insane? did you notice krugman never making eye contact? or his hands trembling? i'm not a huge fan of o'reilly, but he mopped the floor with krugman tonight. you, like most moron democrats, see what you want, regardless of whether it adds up.

Mon Aug 9 2004 7:30 AM

Jim Gilliam:

This is pretty interesting. I can't even comprehend how you think O'Reilly won this debate. His facts were wrong over and over again. Even the florida statistic he cited was wrong. He said over 60% of floridians think the economy is "good" or "excellent".. it's actually 37%.

What you see as O'Reilly mopping the floor, I see as him going completely over the top and using fear and intimidation to make his points. The fact that Krugman was trembling is exactly what O'Reilly does. He lies, spins and distorts out of his ass, but just intimidates his opponent to make it look like he's winning. But only an ignorant viewer thinks that's winning the debate.

Mon Aug 9 2004 7:39 AM


The scary thing is, why is it a crime to be a socialist, or a quasi-socialist? Progressive socialist governments have been in power in Europe for decades and they have managed to help build peaceful, eceonomically progressive societies. Krugman is an ass for calling that slander, and O'Reilly is a thug for all other reasons. Gosh, as annoyingly "soft" as liberals can be, so many conservatives like O'Reilly (and he isnt as conservative as the rest of the lot!)have too much of one campaign salve that blocks out reason: testosterone.

Mon Aug 9 2004 7:52 AM


that report is dated june 14. now i'll admit, i don't know when o'reilly made the 60% claim, and i don't really care. if there was a 23% discrepancy in the claim and the acutal amount he'd happpily admit to it.

i also don't recall that being part terribly relevant to the conversation, as i've seen sufficient evidence that bush did win florida, no matter what people who don't like him want to think.

if you'll excuse me, i have to get back to work now.

Mon Aug 9 2004 8:18 AM

Dave Kingsland:

O'Reilly " Do your own research !!"

Krugman " (((ohhhh..))))"


Mon Aug 9 2004 8:46 AM


Krugman was reasonable and knew his facts while O'Whiney was the loudmouth lunatic bully that he always is. Krugman may be a little timid and unassuming but he is obviously superior to O'Reilly in intellect and controlling himself. O'Reilly should really stop doing these shows because he only looks like an ass.

Mon Aug 9 2004 8:57 AM


O'reilly's passion for the truth and what's right does make him a bit pushy and obnoxious. Just like Krugman's unassuming/timid demeanor make him appear nervous. With that said, O'reilly certainly did have the upper hand with regards to the debate. No, socialism is not a crime, it's just not what this country was founded on and it's appears that Krugman embraces such a philosophy. No doubt, O'reilly's abrasive demeanor can take away from his argument... but look under that surface and i think you'll find a guy who truly wants what's best for everyone and that the truth is paramount- and that's No Spin.

Mon Aug 9 2004 11:28 AM

Jim Gilliam:

O'Reilly made Krugman "appear" to embrace a socialist philosophy simply by shouting it!

If you want to understand Krugman's position as an economist, here's what a real socialist had to say about him:

"Krugman does not belong to the extreme wing of Chicago-school economists who try to force all of the world into the mold of utopian general equilibrium models. But his proposed reforms (in Theorist) propose market-type solutions (e.g., the creation of artificial markets or the right to pollute) and/or faith in technocratic wisdom (Alan Greenspan). But neither the market nor condescending saviors represent a source of hope for the creation of democratic and socialist globalism. What's needed is a mass democratic movement at the grass roots. The power of capital can only be counteracted by the organized power of the oppressed."

Doesn't seem like much of a socialist. More like a pragmatic capitalist.

Mon Aug 9 2004 11:39 AM


I wonder if claiming that one's debate opponent's points are invalid because they are based on a transcript hosted by a biased website constitutes "spin." If we are to think of "spin" as that process by which a commentator twists the facts/debate in such a manner as to distort the "truth" and turn actually-damning evidence into a positive, than O'Reilly is as big a propagator of spin as just about any other "analyst" I've ever had the displeasure of watching. If O'Reilly didn't say what Krugmann was alledging he had, why didn't he just say "I didn't say that."? Perhaps because he _did_ say it, but knew that by raising his voice, shaking his finger, and calling into question the character of anyone who would possibly look at a decidedly partisan website, he would easily overwhelm the decidedly-non-combative Krugman. Seems like spin, but as O'Reilly has proclaimed, loudly and longly, that his particular zone is one typified by a particular lack of spin, I must be misinterpreting him.

I always wondered why "fair and balanced" required conversational tactics almost entirely composed of yelling, interupting, impugning the character of one's opponent, and acting, the entire time, as if being horribly misused by the other speaker. Could someone explain this to me?

Mon Aug 9 2004 11:52 AM


I thought at one point O'Reily was going to hit Krugman. And ofcourse Tim Russert and the the network are bias towards the right. Krugman looked so much more respected and honest anyday than O'Reily, I can not understand why these right wing guys even have their own television show. Tim Russert needs to speak up for the left once in awhile.

Mon Aug 9 2004 2:05 PM


O Reilly was completly out of control. He raged like a fearful bully. He was completely out of his element if the expectation was that this was suppose to be a "fair" debate. He really went beserk when O 'Reilly's opponent reminded him he couldn't cut his mike.

Now I want to see him debate David Brock. I doubt he will. He's afraid to have him on his own don't think he'll put himself in a position to be so out of control again.

Basically, he lost it like he did with Franken.

Mon Aug 9 2004 2:11 PM


When people say that O'Reilly won (like that unbelievable column in the National Review Online), all I can say is: could we possibly have been watching the same program?

Paul Krugman hands down won the argument! All O’Reilly could feebly do was to raise the volume, attempt to monopolize the discussion, and call Krugman and Al Franken names. Which, by the way, is precisely what he does on his show. Tim Russert had to shut O’Reilly up a few times, just so that Krugman could have a chance to make his points.

It really is scary how conservatives mistake ad hominem attacks, finger pointing, and name calling for winning the argument. And, unfortunately, that is precisely the strategy of the conservative media today.

Mon Aug 9 2004 6:38 PM


Looking solely at the strength of the arguments made and how each guest did or did not support their claims, it would be difficult to deny that Krugman, armed with specific dates, numbers, names, etc., soundly trounced O'Reilly, who relied largely on personal anecdotes and vague assertions. However, it would be fair to admit that Krugman’s mannerisms throughout the debate, i.e. the nervous eyes and trembling hands, although immaterial to the issues discussed, certainly didn't do much to help his case (note to those studying psychology: observe how the reactions of those who watched a video of the debate compare to those who only read the transcript-I'll bet Krugman fares far better with the latter group).

And while pointing out O'Reilly's shortcomings as an analyst is like shooting fish in a barrel, I couldn't help noticing this rather blatant bit of hypocrisy:

O’Reilly: Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, USA Today and the University of Chicago investigation all went in and repudiate what he just read.

And then several minutes later…

O’Reilly: …You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Do your own research.


Tue Aug 10 2004 3:17 AM


After watching this debate, (If it can be called a debate) it is hard to understand why anyone takes Bill O'Reilly seriously. The type of tactics he used can be found on a high school playground, not a serious podium of discourse. No wonder Krugman was a bit nervous, I bet he hardly expected to get bullied like that. Krugman trounced O'Reilly at every turn with facts while O'Reilly both in terms of the volume of his voice, his insults and vague references looked like an oaf.

Tue Aug 10 2004 7:20 AM


If a child behaved in a debate (or in general)like O 'Reilly does, it would be of grave concern! Indeed, I am conerned that the "screamers" have leadership roles in "communicating" information to the country.

I wonder what message a child from a household that enjoys and agrees with these "techniques" is learning about dealing with conflict.

In my view, these people are putting are society "at risk" by regularly modeling inappropriate, abusive, dysfunctional communication with a lack of respect for themselves or others.

The national dialogue has really deteriorated. "Professionals" should be able to make their points without upsetting themselves and their audiences with such mean spiritedness.

Mr. O'Reilly was obviously feeling abused and misrepresented by a film clip shwon where he asked Mr. Glick, "Why don't you just shut up..." He indignantly defended himself by complaining that the rest of the sentence..."about being gay" wasn't included......putting the whole thing out of context?"

Out of context............???????? "Why don't you just shut up about....whatever," is a rude and inflammatory way to communicate to anybody about anything. There is no good context here. If he thinks so...see how many of his fans would want their children, parents, spouses, bosses or anyone else talking to them like that! Many homes prefer not to use the phrase "shut up" in favor of more respectful communication, period.

Then, as in Mr. O'Reilly's case, they characterize the bullying techniques as "spirited" or "pithy." It seems that he thinks he's kind of cute! I'd say pathetic.

Krugman kept his dignity. He wins!

Tue Aug 10 2004 7:23 AM


I loved it when krugman told o'reilly that "this isn't your show, & you can't cut my mike", & o'reilly called krugman a "cheap-shot artist"...bill o'reilly calling someone else a cheap-shot artist - now that's funny....o'reilly is a bully, plain & simple. He uses shouting, name-calling, & intimidation to "win" debates. In his world & the world of right-wing media, facts are almost irrelevant. Bill o'reilly is (barely) a step above morton downey jr.

Tue Aug 10 2004 9:00 AM


I'm now downloading the video of the debate, but I've never really seen O'Reilly aside from his performance in the Outfoxed video. In Outfoxed, I was shocked at O'Reilly's lectures to Americans to 'shut up' if they don't support the troops. If you read a transcript of that lecture, it just sounds stupid, but _seeing_ him, I felt I knew just what it must be like to live under a totalitarian regime: he gives orders about what to think, and issues vague threats to those who disobey. I mean, like, who does he think he is? It was horrible.

Tue Aug 10 2004 9:54 AM

Carol from Tucson:

I saw the Krugman/O'Reilly debate on CNBC last night. I thought that O'Reilly was going to blow a gasket a few times. He is such a bully and should seek counseling because he comes across as a very angry person. I thought Paul Krugman did a great job making several points, in spite of O'Reilly's intimidation.

Also, O'Reilly since he lost his cool so frequently, appears to be very worried that his own pocketbook will suffer if Kerry is elected. He doesn't really care about the country. He only cares about his own personal net worth.

Tue Aug 10 2004 10:31 AM

Tom from Madison:

Krugman clearly won on the facts. O'Reilly resorted to his standard bullying tactics because he knows he won't win a civil debate. He also relies heavily on guilt by association--obliquely referring to Al Franken as "viscious". These debating tactics would seem more at home in those "interviews" between professional wresting matches. Bushies who love an anti-intellectual shouting match were probably impressed. If I were a Republican I'd be embarrassed that this guy was on my side.

It's too bad Krugman didn't compose himself more and calmly de-construct O'Reilly's very weak arguments. I'd like to see him look O'Reilly in the eye, kind of like Quai Chang Cane in a 1970s Kung Fu episode.

Tue Aug 10 2004 1:55 PM


it'd be easier to look him in the eye if his arguments made any sense.

the only statistic that anyone in this debate has brought up is the florida economy one that Mr. Gilliam mentioned. that's quesionable at best, seeing as how his source dates back to june 14, right as the job creation in this country was on the upswing. i'm sure plenty more people would hold a higher opinion of the nation's economy now, and deservedly so.

until i hear something of substance, i'll leave everyone to inexplicably say how krugman slam dunked o'reilly.

Tue Aug 10 2004 5:00 PM


You guys all sound way too smart for me, but I'll give my comments anyway. Just don't be too hard on me!

O'Reilly is a thug. My husband, who has not been involved in politics AT ALL until this year, saw the Jeremy Glick interview and couldn't believe this guy actually has a program on TV.

I thought Paul Krugman did an EXCELLENT job. Yes, maybe he was nervous; maybe not. After all, television is not his normal environment. Naturally, he would not be as comfortable as O'Reilly.

And really, who WOULDN'T be nervous sitting that close to O'Reilly? He appears to be crazy. He seriously looked like he was going to physically attack Paul Krugman.

What's really scary, and kind of sad, is that so many people think O'Reilly is a really great guy.

Tue Aug 10 2004 8:49 PM

Joan, NJ:

The fact of the matter is that Krugman was weak! And O'Reilly was right on the money (Kudos!).
Krugman should go and debate Fidel Castro -I'll bet he will find a lot in common with "El Comandate".

Wed Aug 11 2004 11:41 AM


I thought O'Reilly came out on top. I've read Krugman's articles but watching him debate was painful. He looked like a lying schoolboy, weak, looking from side to side, no eye contact, just name calling and throwing out rhetoric. Sorry, I think O'Reilly aced this one.

Wed Aug 11 2004 4:58 PM


"are you insane? did you notice krugman never making eye contact? or his hands trembling? i'm not a huge fan of o'reilly, but he mopped the floor with krugman tonight. you, like most moron democrats, see what you want, regardless of whether it adds up."

Interesting. Notice how this right-winger has decided how O'reilly moped the floor with Krugman. Never made eye contact? Hands trembling? You see you, like most right-wingers, get easily influenced by emotion and not reason and logic. You get swayed by demogogues that appeal to emotion and hate. So Oreilly yells and gives the impression of an alpha male and thats why you say he moped the floor with Krugman. You don't make that statement based on substance, facts or logic because O'reilly had none. And then you have the gall to call democrats morons? I could point out the irony in that statement but why bother since it would be lost on that thick skull of yours.

Wed Aug 11 2004 6:08 PM


"Krugman should go and debate Fidel Castro -I'll bet he will find a lot in common with "El Comandate".

Tell us in which they have a lot in common?

Wed Aug 11 2004 6:11 PM


Jack. O'reilly a passion for the truth? Are you kidding? Just go to a search on his name on to see just how much he does not care about the truth. In particular look at this link centered on Professor David Cole:

Also how does Krugman embrace socialism? How do you define socialism?

O'reilly no spin? Oh come on. Do you fall that easily in with with his spin? You mean because o'reilly says he does not spin, well it must be true?

Wed Aug 11 2004 6:22 PM


There are a lot of comments on this post about how "bullied" O'Reilly acted with his hand pointing and raising his voice. I watch his show quite often, but often don't agree with his views. Nevertheless, he has extraordinarily high ratings (he may even be number one in his slot on cable, not sure). But the point is, anyone who agrees to be on his show, from Dick Cheney to Michael Moore, knows what they're going to get if they go on his show. Pointed, energetic debate and a clear indication that O'Reilly "runs the show". Alec Baldwin was a guest the other night, not a "quasi-socialist", but a firm Democrat, and had a very passionate arguments on his beliefs. O'Reilly disagreed with many of his points, but at the end of the interview said "thank you", "I like you for your spirit", and "come back anytime", to which Baldwin said, "I look forward to doing."

Here's my point. O'Reilly doesn't need counseling, like someone posted. He's not angry. HE'S PASSIONATE about his beliefs and his country. HE WANTS THE BEST FOR HIS FAMILY. So what on earth is wrong with his delivery?

Read some of the documents written at the birth of this nation. You want passion? How about the founding fathers (most who would have considered themselves "gentlemen", not slugs) jumping over tables, pounding on each other, spitting, and sabotage. The result? YOUR Declaration of Independence. YOUR Constitution. YOUR Democracy. 228 years later.

What I wonder is why we DON'T have more debate like this in this country, on TV or in open forums. All that I see out there is Liberals preaching to Democrats, Conservatives preaching to Republicans, and no one engaging in real debate WITH THE INTENT TO FIND REAL SOLUTIONS about how to solve issues we consider to be of importance.

By the way, neither had facts of substance in thier debate. O'Reilly pulled data from his head - the 60% was from a July Rassmussen poll, not a May one. And in an era of daily polls on consumer sentiment, that commenter should have known better. Krugman pulled data from a website run by the very person who disgrased his employer and did untold damage to the profession from his plagarism and lies.

I do agree with O'Reilly on one point - do your own research. Ask questions. Ultimately your vote is your own mic. You either speak or you're silenced.

Thu Aug 12 2004 1:12 PM


"Krugman pulled data from a website run by the very person who disgrased his employer and did untold damage to the profession from his plagarism and lies."

Ya the guy you are talking about is David Brock and the website is The lies were when Brock was working as a right-wing hatchet man. Show me any proof he is lying now? In fact all he is doing is keeping in check propaganda from the right in which quote from various right-wing sources are clearly documented on the website. Brock does not trust the right wing echo machine, as brock describes it, because of his direct experience working with these people

As far as Krugamn doing his own research, well to an extent looking at information on a website or a book is doing research. Not all research has to be 100% original and thats especially true in a debate such as this. How many times has Oreilly quoted information from some think tank, book or website? Was Oreilly doing his research then? At least to my knowledge Krugman has never cited an organization that did not in fact exists. You see Oreilly once quoted economic stats on France from a publicantion called the Paris Business Review. There was only one problem, the publication never existed.

Thu Aug 12 2004 3:25 PM

Raven Cecil:

"And I said on my program, if -- if -- the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again."
[Source: Bill O'Reilly, Good Morning America, 18 Mar 2003]

We are all still waiting for an apology from the King-of-Spin.

Sat Aug 14 2004 5:31 PM

Jim Gilliam:

O'Reilly did apologize, albeit a little half-heartedly.

Sat Aug 14 2004 6:31 PM

Raven Cecil:

Poor O'Reilly. Even he put his faith and trust in the Bush administration, and they let him down. It's a good thing that O'Reillys delusions are more powerful than the truth.

Mon Aug 16 2004 11:28 PM

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