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How Fox News Spun O'Reilly's Interview with Christine O'Donnell

Reported by Ellen - August 27, 2011 -

Bill O'Reilly interviewed Christine O'Donnell Thursday night (8/25/11). It was a completely softball interview in which O'Reilly made no mention of O'Donnell walking out of a recent CNN interview - though he did play her "I'm not a witch" ad over her objections. But immediately following the interview, he lined up two commenters to "analyze" it and those two - Dagan McDowell and Margaret Hoover - were full of criticisms of O'Donnell. It's a common tactic on Fox. Sean Hannity used it after his interview with Austan Goolsbee the same night. It's a way to spin the interview so that the guest gets skewered without the host's hands getting dirty, so to speak. For extra hypocrisy, O'Reilly and his guests attacked the "liberal media" for going after O'Donnell.

I've long said that Fox fixes the outcome of a lot of its "discussions" by its choice of guests. If O'Reilly producers wanted to ensure someone would be supportive of O'Donnell, they would have gotten one of their Tea Party supporters to debate someone like Hoover, a more moderate Republican.

You may recall there was a rift on Fox about O'Donnell last year. I've followed O'Reilly long enough that I'd bet money he was in the Karl Rove, anti-O'Donnell camp. But in this interview, he played the (mostly) nice guy, while setting up O'Donnell afterward when she didn't have a chance to defend herself.

Don't get me wrong, I think O'Donnell is an unethical extremist. But rather than have a full and fair discussion of her, Fox cooked the books to get a certain outcome - all the while pretending otherwise. Again.

Below are the two segments. They ran back to back.



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