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Bill O’Reilly And Fox News Have Their Sights On Michael Posner As The Next “Van Jones” Witch Hunt

Reported by Ellen - May 19, 2010 -

Bill O’Reilly and Fox News have been gearing up for a new McCarthyesque witch hunt, this time against Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner. In the best Joseph McCarthy tradition, O’Reilly took a statement of Posner’s about the Arizona immigration law and held that up as some kind of proof that Posner is an anti-American who “apologized” for America in talks with the Chinese. O’Reilly did not bother to offer the context of Posner’s comments which, as Think Progress noted, he made in order to highlight the openness of American society on the subject of human rights. O’Reilly was nearly licking his chops as he speculated that he might make Posner the next Van Jones. O’Reilly also suggested that Hillary Clinton might be the recipient of the next O’Reilly ambush interview. Unfortunately for O’Reilly, Alan Colmes did a terrific job highlighting and combating the agenda. Will that be enough to stop Fox from claiming their next victim? I report, you decide. With video.

As Media Matters reported, a State Department official who commented on the talks "in no way said they 'apologized;' he said the exchange was part of an 'open discussion' about 'how each of our societies are dealing' with discrimination issues." Yet, as Media Matters also pointed out, several Fox News shows, along with other conservative media, twisted Posner’s words to suggest otherwise, even after State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley defended Posner on Fox News yesterday, noting that he had simply told the Chinese that “this is how we handle human rights” issues.

O’Reilly continued the anti-Posner crusade last night (5/18/10) on The O’Reilly Factor, completely disregarding both the context and meaning of Posner’s remarks as well as Crowley’s defense.

“We think (Posner’s) point of view is insane and disruptive to the country,” O’Reilly began, by way of introduction to his discussion with Colmes and right-winger Monica Crowley. Then O'Reilly went on to blackball Posner for founding the “far left” “Human Rights First… funded by our pal, George Soros.” As proof that Posner is an un-American radical, O’Reilly cited a lawsuit by Human Rights First against Rumsfeld “alleging torture.” In fact, the organization has been quite an anti-torture advocate and, according to their website, has “led the advocacy efforts in support of the McCain Amendment which bans U.S. soldiers and officials from engaging in cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.” Not that O’Reilly pointed that out. In the realm of Fox News' "patriotism," being anti-torture makes someone a left-wing radical. Instead, O'Reilly went on to sneer that Posner had compared the treatment of Muslims to Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II. We never got Posner’s actual statement about Japanese Americans, nor the context, from the “we report, you decide” network.

“The question, what is Posner doing in the State Department?” O’Reilly asked, with the gravitas of a Walter Cronkite.

“Until we know exactly what was said… you want to attack this guy and make him the bad guy,” Colmes said.

O’Reilly acknowledged that he did not know exactly what Posner said but, he continued, “You know our pal, Glenn Beck, outed Van Jones, right? And Van Jones had to resign because he was a far-left kook. Communist guy… He’s gone. This guy’s just as bad.”

Unlike any number of Democratic “strategists” on Fox News who would have fallen into the trap of defending Posner, Colmes knew to reframe the issue immediately and put O’Reilly’s tactics on the hot seat – where they belonged. “You’re playing a game of guilt by association, Number One. Number two, you don’t like something he did. Let’s smear the guy. Let’s attack the guy. Let’s make him into a left-wing radical so we can attach him to Obama to prove that Obama’s a left-wing radical.”

Colmes’ turn-around worked, at least to some degree, because O’Reilly and Crowley were forced to defend their attacks. The subject remained on Posner, rather than demanding his resignation or the "radicals" in Obama's White House, which is surely where they had hoped to go. When it was Colmes’ turn again, O’Reilly asked if he agreed with Posner’s Japanese/Muslim comments. Colmes said he didn’t, but before anyone could say anything else, quickly added, “Wait a minute… We’re trying to find every way to attack this guy… You’re playing this guilt by association game because of Soros. This is totally unfair to this guy.”

O’Reilly closed the segment by saying, “Tomorrow, I promise, we will have something from Hillary Clinton. If she doesn’t say anything, we’ll report that.”

So there’s no doubt that O’Reilly’s campaign against Posner will continue, probably with back-up efforts from many others on Fox. The question is, how many other Democrats will come out swinging against the anti-Obama offensive of picking off yet another advisor instead of foolishly letting Fox News put them on the defensive about Posner?


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