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O’Reilly Vs. Palin Goes Another Round As O’Reilly Defends Having Interrupted Her

Reported by Ellen - March 14, 2011 -

I previously posted about how, as part of the lingering tension between them, Sarah Palin chided Bill O’Reilly for, in her view, he interrupting her too many times to ask for specifics about her supposed plan for cutting entitlements. Friday night (3/11/11), O’Reilly got together with Chris Wallace to support the art of interrupting a guest during an interview. “The truth is that TV interviewers who want to get answers must, must interrupt their guests,” O'Reilly said.

O’Reilly began the segment by referring (again!) to his recent interview with President Obama. But it was soon clear to me that he was really thinking about Palin. In fact, later in the segment, O’Reilly admitted that Obama “wasn’t bad in that interview. We moved that interview along… and he didn’t try to filibuster stuff.”

But Palin was a different kettle of fish. “I asked Sarah Palin a direct question, didn‘t answer,” O’Reilly said with a shrug to Wallace at the beginning of their segment and compared it to Senator Dick Durbin not answering Wallace’s questions on a recent Fox News Sunday show.

Wallace said he believed that politicians “have gotten better and better” at their scripted talking points to the point where “they view your question as simply a departure to give an answer, whether the answer is related to the question or not.”

Except there’s a huge difference here. Durbin is a politician, Palin is not. or at least she's not appearing as one. Unlike Durbin, Palin gets paid to offer presumably informed commentary on matters of the host’s/producer's choosing.

O’Reilly said, “I consider my job to get answers from questions (sic). We told Sarah Palin we wanted specific entitlement cuts and specific strategies on entitlements, that’s what we want. Instead, the governor wanted to give a speech that she has given literally fifty times before. Now, when I cut her off, she got teed off at me. I understand that. If I were her, I probably would have been teed off as well. But my job is to get answers to specific questions. But I don’t know if the audience gets that or not. I think they think I’m an idiot.” He went on to ask Wallace if the audience has “any sympathy for you and me in what we’re trying to do here? ...I just wonder whether the American public gets teed off at the politicans who don’t answer the questions.”

Again, it’s one thing for a politician to go on television and try to spin questions. But it’s an entirely different matter for someone getting paid to provide expert insight and knowledge on a subject to duck a host’s questions. You don’t see Dana Perino or John Bolton or even potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich doing that.

We’re with you on this one, Bill, and hope you’ll stick to your guns.

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