The passage quoted by NPR and the Times is a dead ringer for a video clip of Williams, branded and distributed by Think Progress. The clip, which cleverly isolates the offending comment, has circulated among left-wing Web sites, just as the Sherrod clip circulated among right-wing sites. (The Washington Post also directs readers to the clip.) But the full transcript of Williams’ appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, like the full video of Sherrod’s speech to the NAACP, tells a much more complicated story…
The damning video clip of Williams, like the damning clip of Sherrod, cuts off the speaker just as he’s about to reverse course. According to the full transcript, immediately after saying, “I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts,” Williams continues: “But I think there are people who want to somehow remind us all as President Bush did after 9/11, it’s not a war against Islam.” That continuation has been conveniently snipped from the excerpt.
A few seconds later, Williams challenges O’Reilly’s suggestion that “the Muslims attacked us on 9/11.”