MAYBE O’REILLY NEEDS NEW RESEARCHERS…. Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma recently told a group of constituents not to let Fox News warp their sense of current events. “[D]on’t catch yourself being biased by Fox News that somebody is no good,” the senator said, among other things.

The comments were not, as one might imagine, well received at the Republican cable network. Bill O’Reilly spoke to Coburn directly last night, and told the conservative senator that some of his allegations are incorrect.

“[Y]ou don’t know anybody on Fox News — because there hasn’t been anyone — that said people will go to jail if they don’t buy mandatory insurance,” O’Reilly said. He added: “[W]e researched to find out if anybody had ever said you are going to jail if you don’t buy health insurance. Nobody has ever said it. What it seems to me is you used Fox News as a whipping boy when we didn’t qualify there.”

Maybe O’Reilly needs new “researchers.”

November 13, 2009: Glenn Beck tells Fox News’ audience that those without coverage will “go to jail.”

November 12, 2009: Beck said “there will be jail time” for those who refuse to participate in the health care system.

November 9, 2009: Dick Morris argues, “One of the provisions in the Pelosi bill is you actually can go to jail for not having health insurance.”

November 10, 2009: Sean Hannity tells viewers, “Penalties for people who don’t get government-mandated health insurance, uh, jail time, a possibility?”

October 7, 2009: Greta Van Susteren says it’s “theoretically possible” that if “you can’t afford insurance for whatever reason” the government could “send you to jail.”

November 10, 2009: The on-screen graphic during Fox & Friends tells viewers during a segment on the health care debate: “Comply or go to jail.”

Remember, O’Reilly promised Coburn, “[W]e researched to find out if anybody [on Fox News] had ever said you are going to jail if you don’t buy health insurance. Nobody has ever said it.”

O’Reilly does realize that it’s not that difficult to search Fox News transcripts, doesn’t he?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.