The senior eminence of Fox News, Bill O’Reilly, demonstrated yesterday just how tender his thin skin is. O’Reilly was surprised by a chance encounter with a “fan” who wondered whether he was attending a fundraiser for Newt Gingrich (he wasn’t). But the encounter got a little out of hand when O’Reilly’s inner bully emerged.
The funny thing about this episode wherein O’Reilly physically assaults someone who did nothing more than ask him a question, is that this is a tactic that O’Reilly has championed for years. It was O’Reilly’s own producer, Stuttering Jesse Watters, who was so often dispatched by O’Reilly to ambush unsuspecting folks in an attempt to embarrass or harass them. When criticized for this cheesy debasement of journalism, O’Reilly steadfastly defends it as rooted in the proud historic tradition of Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes (it’s not).
However, subjected to the same sort of reporting that he favors, O’Reilly proves that he can dish it out but he can’t take it without lashing out and whining to a nearby law enforcement officer. And as the video shows, the only person who engaged in potentially unlawful violence was O’Reilly himself. He deployed his umbrella with such force that he broke it.
On his Fox “Spin Zone” program tonight, O’Reilly sought to portray the curious citizen as a threat who was “armed” with a cell phone camera. O’Reilly said that the man was “running at [him] in the dark, screaming.” Of course the video tells an entirely different story. And for some reason O’Reilly didn’t bother to play the video. I wonder why.
O’Reilly followed his self-serving defense with a discussion of the event with a former police detective. The two of them brazenly misrepresented the video that they refused to play. Clearly they didn’t want the audience to know what they were talking about. And, of course, his guest absolved O’Reilly of any wrongdoing.
At one point O’Reilly conceded that he and his minions have used the same tactic to get interviews, but he lied by asserting that if a subject asked them to leave they would do so. Here’s some pretty conclusive evidence that that was not the case:
So what we’ve learned from this is that O’Reilly is a liar, a bully and, like most bullies, a coward. It’s too bad the fellow who suffered the wrath of O’Reilly’s umbrella doesn’t have his own TV show to set the record straight. However, if any of O’Reilly’s friends watched the video, they now know what to get him for Christmas.