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O’Reilly And Watters Sneer At Think Progress Interview, Still Won’t Deny Fox News “Makes Stuff Up”

Reported by Ellen - February 16, 2011 -

As News Hounds' Priscilla posted, Bill O’Reilly’s ambush man, Jesse Watters, got a semi-taste of his own medicine over the weekend as Ben Armbruster, of Think Progress, met up with Watters at CPAC and asked him about the comments of a former Fox News employee who told Media Matters, among other damning statements about Fox, that “stuff is just made up.” That’s a horribly damning statement about a purported news organization. Yet Watters refused to deny it when Armbruster asked him about it. Last night (2/15/11), Watters appeared on The O’Reilly Factor where he and Bill O’Reilly sneered and jeered at Armbruster. But, again, neither denied that “stuff is just made up.”

Although Fox News called its video, Far-Lefty Tries To Ambush Jesse Watters, the no-spin fact is that Watters was not ambushed. He was at CPAC, a public event where about 11,000 people attended – including such conservative darlings as Donald Rumsfeld, Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, and Michele Bachmann – the place was undoubtedly crawling with media.

But while playing up Watters getting “ambushed,” O’Reilly disingenuously described Watters' work as “man on the street interviews with people who dodge The Factor.” O'Reilly forgot to mention that Watters has been known to follow someone – a former Think Progress employee, as it happens – for two hours from her home while she was on vacation to get that “man on the street” interview - which she described as harassment. Watters has also accosted a school superintendant in a parking lot on his way to his car to “ask,” “Why are you trying to ruin Christmas?” When the superintendant went to the police, Watters boasted on the air to O'Reilly, “I think we’re very intimidating.” As the same superintendant drove by, Watters called out, “Hey, Superintendant, why are you ruining Christmas?” Clearly, that behavior is just designed to elicit the subjects' opinions.

Armbruster, on the other hand, noted on MSNBC that he didn’t follow Watters anywhere, just caught up with him walking around a public event.

Armbruster also pointed out that Watters used the typical Fox News tactic of diverting the issue, making it about him (Armbruster) and attacking. But even with all that feinting, it's more than a little odd that Watters never denied the charge.

The same pattern occurred on The O’Reilly Factor. O’Reilly called Armbruster “some nebbish” from Think Progress, referred to “dopey” Media Matters and praised Watters’ refusal to answer as “the perfect way to handle it.”

After mocking “this moron” Armbruster, O’Reilly told Watters, “Most people say, ‘No, we don’t make stuff up.’ But you were brilliant in the sense that (you didn’t) even answer the question.”

Hmmm, “most people say?” How about, “It’s ridiculous to say we make stuff up.” Or even, “Everybody knows we don’t make stuff up.” (I'm speaking from what I'd think was O'Reilly's point of view here.)

Watters said, “I didn’t really want to dignify the guy with a response.”

So instead, they dignified Armbruster by devoting almost an entire segment to his report – and raising more questions about Fox News’ credibility.

Video of Armbruster's entire interview with Watters underneath the Fox News video.

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