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O’Reilly’s Audaciously Hypocritical Stand On Sheriff Dupnik’s “Politicization” Of Arizona Shooting

Reported by Ellen - January 12, 2011 -

Fox News is on a witch hunt against Tucson Sheriff Clarence Dupnik for having the gall to speak out against right-wing rhetoric and suggest that it played a role in the Arizona shooting massacre. The righties on Fox pretend that their pique is over Dupnik’s “politicization” of the massacre. I suspect that in reality they couldn’t be happier. Pointing the finger at Dupnik allows them to avoid looking at that same right-wing rhetoric and – as what I’m sure can be seen as Fox News bonus points – it gives them an excuse and cover to engage in Fox News Activity #1: attacking the left.

Exhibit #1 is The O’Reilly Factor last night (1/11/11). The Talking Points opening was called “When Law Enforcement Goes Political.” O’Reilly ranted about “left-wing activist” Dupnik and then disingenuously said, “Talking Points is not in the business of putting Sheriff Dupnik out of business.” No, Talking Points would just like the “good people” of Pima County to do it instead. O’Reilly immediately added, “If the good people of Pima County like him, that’s fine with me. But let’s be honest here, Dupnik is an ideologue. He, along with many far-left pundits is using the murders of six people to make political points. With all due respect, I’d never, never vote for a person like that for anything.”

O’Reilly maintained, “As an American, Clarence Dupnik is entitled to hold any opinion he wants. But as a law enforcement officer, he has a responsibility to all of the citizens. Sheriff Dupnik has turned a horrific murder case into a political circus. Who does that serve, Sheriff? What good does that do?”

The same could be said for O’Reilly’s and Fox News’ attacks on the sheriff. Why not just shrug off the remarks and stick to the coverage as you see fit?

I could have shrugged off O’Reilly’s remarks were it not for the fact that he immediately brought on as his first guest to further the complaints about Dupnik politicization - Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Yes, the same right-wing sheriff who called Obama’s promise to send 1200 National Guard troops to the border “a joke,” the same right-wing sheriff who opined on the air it was “not good business” for banks to offer $500 credit cards and mortgages to undocumented residents, the same right-wing sheriff who has inmates dress in pink underwear and forces them to work on chain gangs – that Sheriff Arpaio.

Arpaio said it was “tough to criticize a fellow sheriff” but Arpaio gave it the old Fox News try. “I hope that he doesn’t go after me personally. Because if he does, I’m gonna fight back and show how political this whole situation is. I’m trying to stay away from politics, not lower myself to his level. But we have to understand I believe politics is driving these comments and maybe driving the US Justice Department since they’ve been investigating me for two years for doing my job arresting illegal aliens.”

In fact, Arpaio is being investigated for abuse of power but don’t-politicize-me O’Reilly didn’t point that out to the “No Spin Zone” viewers. Apparently, he had bigger Dupnik fish to fry.

Like an oily courtroom attorney, O’Reilly asked Arpaio, “You, I understand, are threatened all day long, I guess by left-wingers. Is that wrong?”

No, it wasn’t wrong. “Non-political” Arpaio gratuitously offered up, “I hate to say this but all the people going after me happen to have a “D” after their name.”

Then, after Arpaio admitted he receives death threats, O’Reilly moved in for the kill. “Has Dupnik ever said, as far as you know, that the death threats against Sheriff Arpaio are wrong and left-wing rhetoric may be contributing to them?”

Arpaio answered, “No, I never heard that.”

O’Reilly said triumphantly, “It looks like a selective outrage from Sheriff Dupnik!”

Notice how neatly O’Reilly turned the story away from the shooting and into one about Dupnik? The fact that Dupnik is really irrelevant to the massacre was – well, irrelevant to O’Reilly. The fact that he “nailed” a left-winger who dared to criticize the kind of rhetoric that is Fox News’ stock in trade meant everything.

“I’m not gonna back down. I’m gonna continue to do more,” Arpaio said at the end of the segment. Then Sheriff Non-Political said, “They can put THAT In their pipe and smoke it.”

O’Reilly chuckled heartily.

By the way, Arpaio is not the only blatantly right-wing sheriff from Arizona on Fox News. Paul Babeau appeared 18 times on Fox to argue ardently on behalf of Arizona's immigration law, including an appearance on The Factor in which O'Reilly happily welcomed Babeau - political views and all.

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