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Neil Cavuto on Bill O'Reilly: I Never, Never, Never, Never, Never Mock the President

Reported by Ellen - June 24, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

On June 18th, 2009, Bill O'Reilly gave Fox business guy Neil Cavuto a platform to whine about President Obama's shut-out of Fox News. Cavuto made the laughable claim that he never mocks Obama. With video.

O'Reilly ran the clip of President Obama, in an interview with CNBC's John Harwood, saying this,“First of all, I've got one television station that is [laughing] entirely devoted to attacking my Administration . . . . (Harwood interjected, “I assume you're talking about Fox”) “. . . that's a pretty big megaphone. And you'd be hard-pressed, if you watched the entire day, to find a positive story about me on that front.” (When O'Reilly said, later in the segment, that “ . . . he [Obama] knows we're gonna play that clip 100 times?,” he wasn't kidding.)

O'Reilly next cut to a clip of Cavuto, responding to the President: “Okay, so he's not a fan. The President is free to say so, so I am free to say this. If you dismiss us, why do you keep talking about us? If you're so powerful, why do you sound so petty? And if you remind folks you're President of all the people, which you are, why ignore those who challenge you, which you do?”

In keeping with Cavuto's overall whine about being hoist on his own petard, on June 17th, he went on a rant on his show, under the headline “Cavuto Challenges Obama to Be the Bigger Man (When It Comes to FOX),” addressing the President, and saying – in classic “A Few Good Men” style – “You can't handle the truth.” See the video here. It appears Cavuto believes that Fox should be able to get away with its snipes and smears, but when the rubber meets the road, President Obama should turn the other cheek and continue to give Fox props. Seems like a big “not,” eh, Cavuto?

“Wow – here now on Fox News, 'business titan,' Neil Cavuto,” O'Reilly greeted him. “Why are you being so mean to him?”

Cavuto responded, “I can't figure this guy out, I really can't. I mean . . . we're tough on everybody, and you're very tough on everyone. My point is that to deliberately avoid a large audience because you think for some reason it's unfair to you – Bill Clinton in his worst days didn't do that, George Bush with NBC didn't do that . . . .”

O'Reilly said, “Clinton dodged . . . but Bush didn't . . . so Obama wouldn't do the Cavuto Factor, Obama wouldn't do it?”

Cavuto agreed, “He wouldn't do any, nor would any of his top economic people . . . .” Well, hell, why would he? In the video, above, you said, “ . . . I knew you were the most powerful man on earth. I really didn't know you could very well be the most petty.” Way to win friends and influence people.

O'Reilly asked, “Did they do Fox Business Channel?”

“No, they did not,” responded Cavuto.

“Okay,” O'Reilly stated, “So they boycotted Fox, the business people – is it because you're mean to him, is that why?”

Cavuto insisted, “Not at all . . . even back to last fall when the government was going on a spending-rescue bailout binge, Bill, we were very tough on that . . . it was done under a Republican president.” I seem to recall Cavuto doing more than a little defending of Bush, with the excuse that Bush had a recession and a war. In October 2008 Cavuto defended Bush, and as recently as May 29, 2009, in fact, in an interview with President Obama's former campaign chair, Cavuto defended Bush's spending by invoking those old chestnuts of “war” and “recession.”

“Do you have a fundamental disagreement with Obama? He wants a big government apparatus, and you don't,” O'Reilly led Cavuto.

“Absolutely – and I state it very clearly, I'm a fiscal conservative . . . prove me wrong, come on, show me the case, give me an example where that is the case, they can't, they won't, they don't, when you give counter-arguments to it they feel that it's just a waste of their time,” Cavuto opined.

O'Reilly concluded, “Okay, so you have a fundamental difference in philosophy, in economic philosophy . . . and then we'll know, what, in two years maybe whether you're right or whether he's right. Now, have you been mocking him, Cavuto?”

“Never, never, never, never, never,” Cavuto responded firmly. Oh, yeah, except when he compared President Obama to Sybil (the woman with multiple personalities in a movie starring Sally Fields), here

“You don't mock him,” O'Reilly confirmed.

“Never, never, never.” Mm-hmm, except essentially telling the President of the United States to “grow up.”

“Do you say nasty little asides?”

“Never, never, never . . . .” Cavuto responded. Well, what's this? On his business show, in response to President Obama's comments about Fox, Cavuto said, “Why do you hate us so much, Mr. President? Because we challenge you or because we won’t worship you? Or both?”

“ . . . The only thing we did point on the day that we were avoided is that he did show up everywhere else,” Cavuto said, “Including Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network, ESPN and the Speed Channel . . . that was deeply offensive to me because Dora the Explorer got an exclusive that I did not . . . .” President Obama, to his credit, doesn't want much to do with Cavuto's World – and being hoist on their own petard doesn't seem to be pleasing the thin-skinned Fox Newsies, used to unfettered access to the White House under Bush. See Fox exclusives, with Bret Baier and Brit Hume.

“Then you were mocking him!” O'Reilly charged.

“You call that mocking, I call it just being insulting,” Cavuto explained earnestly.

“All right, so you're just insulting, not mocking . . . now, if he slighted you I think you have a right to mock him, and I've done that many many times . . . .” O'Reilly finally admits what we've always known, and he is clearly grooming his minions to behave the same: Vengeance is mine, sayeth Fox News' lord.

O'Reilly posited, “Now here's the key question . . . why is he bothering, why is the President of the United States bothering insulting us? Why?”

“It's a mystery . . . .” Cavuto replied. “I think it's a strategy . . . but why would you even worry about it . . . people are saying, Fox is a waste of time, our numbers are still very high, these people are critical of your spending . . . you don't want to go there, you don't want to be there . . . .” It's no mystery, and it may be a strategy, but the bottom line, guys, is he's just not that into you.

“Well,” Cavuto continued, “Because he thinks we're preaching to the choir . . . you're free not to like us, that's fine, that's fine, we're not gonna return the pettiness.” Not only are you returning the pettiness, you drew first blood. “Why we are going to say is, we're gonna still mention you, we're gonna still get into your policies . . . .”

“He knows that,” O'Reilly stated.

“ . . . we commended the President on putting everything on budget . . . .” Cavuto whined. “We commended the President for the fact that he wanted to get more and more people into this discussion . . . .” Right, and it wasn't all that long ago, either, Cavuto, that you and your Fox brethren solidly endorsed the anti-Obama tea party rallies.

“Here's the problem Cavuto . . . see, I'm a nice guy, I want to get him on the show,” O'Reilly said.

“You are the reason . . . why Dora the Explorer got him and we didn't,” Cavuto joked.

In the video clip on June 17th, Cavuto ended his rant with this: “You are the President of the United States of America. I am the Senior Vice President of Business News at Fox. Okay, you've got the bigger title. Act like it.”

I've got a little news flash: He is the President of the United States, you are Senior Vice President of Business News at Fox. You owe President Obama deference and you owe him fairness. Act like it.