Bill O'Reilly blasts 'smear merchants' who suggested he supports slavery

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The Internet Shut Bill O'Reilly down over Slavery comment

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly blasted what he called "smear merchants" who he said misrepresented his position on slavery.

The "O'Reilly Factor" host drew criticism Tuesday night when he argued on his show that the slaves who helped build the White House "were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government."

The comments came in response to Michelle Obama's well-received speech earlier this week at the Democratic National Convention.

In her speech, Obama noted the significance of a black family living in the White House, saying I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves."

See Michelle Obama and more from the opening night of the DNC:

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U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A supporter of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders cries as the former Democratic presidential candidate addresses the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
A delegate wears a jacket reading 'Feel The Bern' during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Delegates hold signs against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Supporters of former Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders hug and cry at the end of Sanders' speech during the first session at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Wisconsin delegate Angie Aker wears tape covering her mouth during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/John Locher)
California delegate Eddie Cisneros gives his thumb down during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 25: Bernie Sanders speaks to the crowds at the 2016 Democratic National Convention-Day 1 at Wells Fargo Center on July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/WireImage)
Delegates hold signs against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee wears a red hat with campaign buttons in support of Hillary Clinton, presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Delegates hold up signs as they react during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Delegates stand during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Bernard Sanders supporter with a fake bird on his shoulder is seen on the floor on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Delegates cheer during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A delegate holds a campaign sign in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Delegates stand for the Pledge of Allegiance during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A supporter from California of Former Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., holds up signs during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Barney Frank, left, and Leticia Van de Putte, chairs of the rules committee for the DNC, wave while arriving on stage during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, mayor of Baltimore, speaks during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A delegate wears an American flag themed hat during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
James Roosevelt and Lorraine Miller, chairs of the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC, speaks during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A delegate wears tape over her mouth reading 'Silenced' during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A supporter of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders holds up a Sanders "Feel the Bern" campaign banner as others hold up "Love trumps hate" signs during the first session at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 25: Delegates hold up signs that read 'Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)' on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks at a rally, before the arrival of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her vice presidential running mate U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, in Miami, Florida, U.S. July 23, 2016. Picture taken July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Scott Audette
Supporter for former Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., John Stanley from DeForest Wis., yells as he and other Sanders supporters react during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., march during a protest in downtown Philadelphia, Monday, July 25, 2016, on the first day of the Democratic National Convention. On Sunday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced she would step down as DNC chairwoman at the end of the party's convention, after emails presumably stolen from the DNC by hackers were posted to the website Wikileaks. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
People march protecting the DNC email wikileaks scandal and holding signs in support of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during a protest at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. / AFP / Patrick T. Fallon (Photo credit should read PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images)
A protestor chants through a megaphone as he marches during a demonstration in downtown on Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. The Democratic National Convention starts Monday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A delegate holds a Democratic party donkey sign during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People protest through a security fence outside of the Wells Fargo Center, venue of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, during march holding signs in support of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during a protest outside the DNC, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. / AFP / Patrick T. Fallon (Photo credit should read PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chant as delegates enter the security perimeter for the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Connor Garrett, 9, of Connecticut, and his father, Dan, walk down Broad Street during a march by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in Philadelphia, Pa., on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Members of the media stand during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Representative Diane Russell, a Democrat from Maine, gestures while speaking during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Representative Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, speaks during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A delegate holds a sign reading 'Love Trumps Hate' during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Karla and Francisca Ortiz, of Las Vegas, speak on stage during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. Karla is an American citizen, but her parents are undocumented and live in fear of deportation. Karla met Hillary Clinton in Nevada and was featured in the campaign ad, Brave. (Photo By Bill Clark)
Bill Clinton, former U.S. President, left, waves during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, speaks during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, July 25, 2016. The Democratic National Committee gloated as Republicans struggled to project unity during the party's national convention, but they are now facing a similar problem after their leader resigned on the eve of their own gathering. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Former candidate for President Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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But on his show Wednesday, O'Reilly said his comments were "100 percent accurate, providing context to Mrs. Obama's remarks," and that they were "not a justification, not a defense of slavery. Just a fact."

"For doing that, I was immediately attacked by smear merchants," he said, specifically calling out the New York Daily News and USA Today for portraying O'Reilly as having defended slavery, or at least the working conditions of slaves.

Historical documents suggest O'Reilly may be off-base. The Atlantic quotes Abigail Adams as describing slaves building the White House as "half fed, and destitute of clothing."

And The Washington Post said it is "unaware of any record or documents ... that details the way in which anyone involved in the hard labor of construction was fed or housed."

See more of Bill O'Reilly throughout his career:

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Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly appears on the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," on Jan. 18, 2007 in New York. After eating dinner at a famed Harlem restaurant recently, O'Reilly started a controversy after he told a radio audience he "couldn't get over the fact" that there was no difference between the black-run Sylvia's and any other restaurant in New York. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 27: Bill O'Reilly, host of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, waits for the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama during an event about Obama's 'My Brother's Keeper' initiative in the East Room at the White House February 27, 2014 in Washington, DC. As part of his 'Year of Action,' Obama announced a $200 million commitment from nine foundations to bolster the education and employment of young men and boys of color. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0170 -- Pictured: Author Bill O'Reilly on November 25, 2014 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: TV Personality Bill O'Reilly attends An Evening with Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera at 92nd Street Y on June 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04: Donald Trump and Bill O'Reilly attend the game between the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden on November 30, 2014 in New York City.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: (L-R) TV Personalites Geraldo Rivera and Bill O'Reilly attend An Evening with Bill O'Reilly and Geraldo Rivera at 92nd Street Y on June 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2013 file photo, political commentator Bill O'Reilly attends the National Geographic Channel's "Killing Kennedy" world premiere screening reception at The Newseum, in Washington. O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report," is mocking the Fox News Channel host's proposal that a 25,000-member mercenary force be armed and trained to fight the Islamic state. Colbert countered with his own "army of expert double Ninja super soldiers with laser nunchucks," imagined when he was in the fourth grade. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Invision/AP, File)
TODAY -- Pictured: Bill O'Reilly appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Bill O'Reilly attends the 11th annual Giants of Broadcasting Honors at Gotham Hall on October 16, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
THE VIEW - (10.1.13) Today's guest co-host is Jason Biggs ('Orange is the New Black.') Guests include Bill OReilly (author, Killing Jesus); Matt Long and Lorraine Bruce (ABC's 'Lucky 7') on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images) BARBARA WALTERS, BILL O'REILLY
FILE - This Sept. 22, 2010 file photo shows Comedy Central's Jon Stewart from "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," left, and and political pundit Bill O'Reilly during an interview for "The O'Reilly Factor" on FOX News Channel, in New York. O'Reilly and Jon Stewart face off for a special 90-minute debate about the 2012 presidential race. The live debate will be streamed online on Oct. 6, 2012 from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The price is $4.95, with one-half of the profits donated to a number of unspecified charities. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, file)
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, left, and Bill O'Reilly tape an interview to be presented tonight on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, in New York, on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
Bill O'Reilly is shown during a taping for Fox News channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," in New York, Monday, Nov. 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
**FILE** Fox News host Bill O'Reilly poses on the roof of the Fox building in New York in this Oct. 13, 2003, file photo. An abortion doctor plans to ask for an investigation of O'Reilly and the Kansas attorney general over comments by the television host that he got information from Kansas abortion records, the doctor's attorneys said Saturday, Nov. 4, 2006. (AP Photo/Jim Copper)
Regis Philbin talks with Bill O'Reilly, of the O'Reilly Report, during the Court TV celebration of it's 10th anniversary at American Park inside Battery Park in New York City on July 18, 2001. photo by Gabe Palacio/ImageDirect
Bill O'Reilly poses prior to the taping of his talk show, "The O'Reilly Factor," at a Fox News Channel studio in New York, Oct. 25, 2000. His combatative style has garnered the blunt-talking O'Reilly high ratings in recent months. (Photo by Gino Domenico)
Bill O'Reilly attends the benefit for Homeless Children on November 16, 1989 at Letizia Restaurant in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
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