Bill O’Reilly spent 17 minutes almost pleading with Donald Trump to take part in tomorrow night’s Fox News Republican debate. It was a pathetic display, not just because the groveling seemed completely futile but also because it showed how little journalism really counted in this equation.
It’s hard to know which is more shocking: a news host lecturing a presidential candidate that taking part in the network’s debate is good for his career or O’Reilly’s almost complete lack of concern that candidate Trump is trying to dictate to a news network or O’Reilly’s almost complete lack of concern for Trump’s attacks on and threats toward colleague Megyn Kelly.
O’Reilly pretended he was just looking out for the folks and Trump. “I don’t think not showing up for the debate tomorrow night is good for America. Voters are still assessing you, they need to see you in high-profile situations,” O’Reilly told Trump. “Let’s look at it from a broader point of view rather than how you feel.”
O’Reilly said he believes Trump wants to “improve the country” and that he loses an opportunity to do that by “walking away” from an “opportunity to persuade people that you are a strong leader.”
O’Reilly even advised Trump to take a page from Newt Gingrich’s 2012 campaign and smack down Megyn Kelly – or any other Fox News colleague – if Trump felt a question was unfair.
O’REILLY: [Gingrich] was treated much worse, much worse than you have ever been treated by anybody because they brought up a he said/she said, John King, the moderator, about an ex-wife that was tawdry, disrespectful, should never have been in a debate. Gingrich knew it was coming. Gingrich let him and CNN have it and the result was he won the South Carolina primary by a lot and people gained a lot of respect for him. So you saw Gingrich tested and the folks liked what he did. And I’m telling you, that’s the way to go here. If they treated you unfairly, and I don’t believe they would… then you’ve got 60 seconds to let ‘em have it right between the eyes and that’s the kind of guy you are! You stand up, you let ‘em have it.
O’Reilly’s defense of colleague Kelly was luke warm at best.
O’REILLY: If I had been the debate moderator last August, I would have asked you about that comment [Trump’s comments about women]. I wouldn’t ask it the same way but once you said something about Carly Fiorina, you opened the door for it. And you explained what you meant about Miss Fiorina. [Note: Trump’s remarks about Fiorina came after the debate]
…You have to understand, number one, Kelly’s question was within journalistic bounds, alright?
Trump interrupted to say he disagreed.
“OK and That’s good! That’s good! You made your case!” O’Reilly exclaimed. “You won the debate, that’s what America’s about, robust debate! Don’t walk away from it!”
When that didn’t work, O’Reilly played the “good Christian” card.
O’REILLY: In your Christian faith, there is a very significant tenet and that’s the tenet of forgiveness and I think you should forgive, not only journalists who come at you in ways you don’t like but I think you should be the bigger man and say, “You know what? I didn’t like it and you should make that case all day long. But I’m not gonna take any action against it. Don’t you think that’s the right thing to do?”
TRUMP: It probably is but you know it’s called an eye for an eye, I guess also, you can look at it that way.
In the second part of the interview, O’Reilly returned to lecturing Trump about what’s good for his candidacy:
O’REILLY: I submit to you that you need to change and get away from the personal, “They hurt my feelings, they’re unfair to me” and make it about them, the folks, not about you and you elevate then to a place where you could win this if you do that.
…Look, Putin is going to come at you, the mullahs are gonna come at you, certainly the terrorists are gonna come at you and it’s going to be personal. They’re going to do everything they can to diminish you. As president, you have to rise above that and do what is best for the country. And this exposition that we’re talking about today, people are going to say, “You know, Trump is just too self-absorbed to be president. He needs to look to the bigger picture.” And the bigger picture is, get your message to the folks.
When none of that worked, O’Reilly tried to get Trump to reconsider as a personal favor to a friend:
O’REILLY: Would you do me a favor? …Because I bought you so many vanilla milkshakes—I bought you so many vanilla milkshakes you owe me.
…Will you just consider? I want you to consider, alright? Think about it. Say, “Look, I might come back.” Forgive, go forward, answer the questions, look out for the folks. Just want you to consider it. You owe me milkshakes. I’ll take them off the ledger, if you consider it.
Trump argued that they had an agreement “that you wouldn’t ask me that.”
Now O’Reilly finally cared about journalistic standards. “You’re actually telling the truth there… but I am not going to listen to any political person tell me don’t ask me anything. But you’re absolutely an honest man, that I said I’ll try not to do it, but the milkshake thing just overwhelmed me, but I’m asking you to reconsider it."
“A lot of milkshakes,” Trump replied, suggesting maybe, possibly he might reconsider. But then, referring to his charity event that he plans to do instead of the debate, Trump said, “nine o’clock, Drake University.”
As New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman pointed out, one of Trump’s recent tweets gave Fox CEO Roger Ailes “the chance to apologize for statement and get Trump back on debate stage. Trump is saying this isn’t about Megyn.” (More about the war of words between Trump and Ailes here.)
Will Trump and Fox kiss and make up in time for the debate?
Meanwhile, watch the rare display of kowtowing from O’Reilly below, from the January 27 The O’Reilly Factor.
Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the mind of a Trump supporter. It isn’t a pretty or coherent sight but we all need to experience it at least once. 👍
Murdoch and Soros were foreign born who took advantage of the American naturalization process to become US citizens, They both directly and indirectly support Open Borders and Illegal Immigration. This policy is nothing less than a subversive tactic to change a Nations Indigenous peoples and take away their sovereign rights. This is why our Founding Fathers specifically included the “natural born” phrase for the requirement to hold the office of the Presidency. It was accepted fact that this phrase meant that both the candidate and the parents of the Candidate had to be “natural born”. The sons of Murdoch and Soros could not qualify to run for the office of the Presidency since their fathers were citizens as a result of a naturalization process and not native born. Immigration has become the tool of the Globalist Elite to push for Open Borders and control the political class in our nation. America must see through the selfish agendas of the Billionaires Club of Murdoch, Soros, Bloomberg and Zuckenberg. The bottom line is Trump will stop this madness even as we allow the Muslim terrorists into the country all in the name of Social Justice and American Values a Ruse these tyrants use to force their evil agenda on the American people. Do you really think this is “Fair & Balanced”? http://newsninja2012.com/after-watching-this-will-you…
The past two days he’s successfully made himself the story, and if he does pull such a trick that’s what will be dominating the news for the days leading up to the Caucus.
Trump, like Herman Cain and Carly Fiorina are current or former CEO’s who have the mentality that they are in control, and nobody questions or challenges their authority.
While anything mercurial Trump did would not surprise me (or anyone), I doubt it at this point as The Donald has scheduled a rival charitable event.
It’s ironic in this war of wills between Fox News egomaniac Roger Ailes and Fox News’ political media creation, egomaniacal The Donald, the pupil is beating the master. 😉
Fox News’ Ailes is an establishment guy who has used and exploited the populist craziness of the far right (e.g., the Tea Party) for ratings and to boost GOP power but now has lost control of the wing-nuts. Let’s just hope America isn’t trashed in the process.
I agree w/ Ellen that O’Reilly seemed to be pleading at times, and the interview also struck me as unsatisfactory overall. O’Reilly’s most revealing moment came not during the Trump interview but when he subsequently interviewed Newt Gingrich re: Trump. When Gingrich criticized Fox’s PR statement to Trump, O’Reilly defended it. It was so fitting to see O’Reilly embrace Fox’s strikingly sarcastic and juvenile statement.
Trump is a control freek used to having his way and ego stroked running his business. Ditto running for President.
Mercurial Trump constantly tests the direction of the political winds and the fluctuations of his massive ego to make decisions on the fly and flap his gums accordingly.
The payoff for Trump in stiffing the debate is if the rartings plummet we’ll never hear the end of it.
Scripted questions on a fake news network does not constitute a “high-profile situation”, BillO.
By that same token, however: if The Combover can’t stand up to questioning by Megyn Kelly, how can we expect him to stand up to ISIS?
It’s been fascinating to watch people like Rush Limbaugh trying to defend Trump today. Saying things like “He’s not afraid! This is a control issue! He’s not going to put himself in a place where someone is going to try to make him look bad!”
Which of course means that Trump really IS afraid. He cannot appear in any situation that he doesn’t think he’ll be treated the way he wants. So how would he handle a situation where a foreign country has disrespected him, as he sees it? Boycott them? Call them losers? Throw their ambassadors out? Call French Fries Freedom Fries… oh. Okay, forget that last one, I got a little carried away…
Actually, Limbaugh’s statement that he regularly turns down TV interview requests is quite illuminating. While I strongly doubt that he is “constantly” getting such requests, I’ve always found it revealing that the only interviews he consents to are softball discussions from Greta at Fox News. He cannot tolerate anything stronger than someone complimenting him and telling him what a great guy he is. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that maybe Limbaugh is afraid of being interviewed by someone less obsequious, and he’s trying to justify that same trait in Trump.
Doesn’t make him presidential though.