Why is it that the tears of Fox News hosts are so especially delicious? After getting huge ratings for his ranty pre-Super Bowl interview with President Obama, Bill O’Reilly and other Fox Newsers are now very, very hurt that not everybody thought it was an exercise in fair but tough-minded journalism. For instance, here’s Megyn Kelly griping to Democratic strategist James Carville about the unmanly way that Obama laughed off O’Reilly’s Fox News talking points:
“I do think it’s interesting that the president seems so focused on us,” Kelly told Carville. “I never heard President [George W.] Bush do this about MSNBC. He was taking his licks like a man.”
“He gave you an interview on the day of the Super Bowl,” Carville responded. “The biggest audience you have.”
“So why did he waste his time complaining about his coverage when he’s got most of the mainstream media in his pocket?” Kelly shot back, a complaint shared by other Fox colleagues.
Why, yes, we remember back during the Bush administration, how MSNBC was a hugely influential monolith of manufactured anti-Bush propaganda whose programming largely dictated what liberals said about George W. And nobody in the Bush administration ever warned media types to “watch what they say, watch what they do” or ever complained about the liberal media.
So it looks like we’re back at the 2009 “War On Fox” again, when the poor little network was fighting for its life against the constant assaults from the Obama White House and there was that one weekend when Obama went on all the Sunday shows except Fox’s.
Even more angry about the way Bill O’Reilly’s fair and balanced interview has been portrayed is Bill O’Reilly, who was victimized in a WaPo column by Dana Milbank, who rudely counted the number of times O’Reilly interrupted Obama (42 times in ten minutes) and accused O’Reilly of being “hostile from the start”:
He leaned forward in his seat, waving his pen and pointing his finger at the president. He shook his head doubtfully at some of Obama’s answers.
Worse, Milbank unfairly but accurately transcribed parts of the interview verbatim, which made it look like O’Reilly was constantly interrupting the President:
Here he was “asking” Obama about whether the Benghazi killings were a terrorist attack:
Obama: “By definition, Bill, when somebody is attacking our compound — ”
Obama: “ — that’s an act of terror, which is how I characterized it the day after it happened. So the — so the question ends up being who, in fact, was attacking us?”
O’Reilly: “But it’s more than that — ”
Obama: “And that — ”
O’Reilly: “ — though — ”
Obama: “ — well, we — ”
O’Reilly: “ — because of Susan Rice.”
Obama: “No, it — ”
O’Reilly: “It’s more than that, because if Susan Rice goes out and tells the world that it was a spontaneous demonstration . . . ”
Obama: “Bill — ”
O’Reilly: “ — off a videotape but your . . . ”
Obama: “Bill . . . ”
O’Reilly: “ — your commanders and the secretary of defense know it’s a terror attack . . . ”
Obama: “Now, Bill . . . ”
O’Reilly: “Just . . . ”
Obama: “ — Bill . . . ”
O’Reilly: “ — as an American . . . ”
Obama: “ — Bill — Bill . . . ”
O’Reilly: “ — I’m just confused.”
Obama: “And I’m — and I’m trying to explain it to, if you want to listen.”
And so on. What a completely unfair tactic, to portray all that badgering as if it were an attempt to interrupt and talk over Obama, when in fact it was Obama who was badgering and talking over O’Reilly, as if the point of an interview was for the person being interviewed to answer questions.
So anyway, O’Reilly went on the radio with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt, and explained, calmly and coolly, that Milbank was not very nice at all, calling Milbank “a weasel, in my opinion. Beneath contempt.”
Not only that, but Milbank’s continued employment by the Washington Post says a lot about the sad state of our media:
“I care that the Washington Post employs him,” O’Reilly said. “That’s what I care about. Whatever he says, doesn’t bother me because I know where it’s coming from. But the fact that the Washington Post would employ a guy like that — I mean, it’s really disturbing.”
So, what exactly was it about Milbank’s column that was so unfair, Billo? You know, since you’re not taking this personally or anything?
“But I’m not on a jihad against Milbank. I’m on a jihad, a holy war, against declining standards of journalism. The Washington Post editors — if they watched the interview, which, God knows if they did or not — had to know that Milbank was lying,” O’Reilly continued.
We aren’t entirely sure how a verbatim sample of O’Reilly interrupting Obama constitutes “lying,” though that word “hostile” is pretty darn mean. Or maybe Billo thought Milbank was lying in his breakdown of the content of the interview:
O’Reilly devoted nearly 40 percent of his time to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, 30 percent to the Obamacare rollout and 20 percent to IRS targeting.
OK, that is indeed a total lie, because the interview also included a “thank you for joining us,” a slanted question from a Fox viewer, and O’Reilly asking Obama to predict the outcome of the game — which Obama was wrong about, too, predicting that it would be close, not a blowout. Did Milbank even mention that the President failed to see a 43-8 Seattle win? He did not.
What is journalism coming to these days, we ask you?
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