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A rare sight: O'Reilly admits error

Associated Press

Shortly after the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly was, as per the norm, outraged. Specifically, the host was incensed that there were no Republican speakers who addressed the enormous crowd at the Lincoln Memorial.

Arguing with Democratic strategist James Carville, O'Reilly demanded an explanation as to why former President George W. Bush, for example, wasn't there. Carville said, "I do not know that he wasn't invited." The host responded, "He wasn't. No Republicans and no conservatives were invited."

Though repeated with certainty, O'Reilly was, of course, completely wrong. Indeed, we knew a few hours before his show aired that Republican leaders were invited, but chose not to participate. Last night, in a remarkably rare sight, O'Reilly actually acknowledged an error.

"Last night during my discussion with James Carville about the Martin Luther King commemoration I said there were no Republican speakers invited. Wrong. 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."

Now, I can think of some notableexamples in which O'Reilly has refused to acknowledge on-air errors, but why quibble? We should cherish these rare corrections when they appear.

Incidentally, there was some discussion this week about whether Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Congress' only African-American Republican, had been invited to attend the event. Yesterday afternoon Roll Callconfirmed that Scott's office declined an invitation, telling organizers the senator would be in South Carolina on Wednesday.