If you don't know who Julie Mason is, let me tell you she happens to be my talk radio goddess. Seriously. She hosts a show called The Press Pool on the Sirius/XM station POTUS every weekday where she interviews political reporters, often those who cover the White House. While she seems to be more conservative than I, she is one bright and knowledgeable woman dedicated to excellence in media and reporting. In short, she is the anti-Fox News. So when Bill O'Reilly called her a loon for saying he and Glenn Beck damage the Fox News brand – and complained that CNN's Howard Kurtz “didn't slap her down like he should have” because, he suggested, the two of them are working to get President Obama re-elected - well, Bill those are fightin' words to me.
A little backstory: On CNN's Reliable Sources over the weekend, the topic, apparently, was the role of political operatives as cable news contributors (think Hilary Rosen). Mason said, “You saw Glenn Beck out of Fox News and Bill O’Reilly, and I do think that that damages the Fox News brand.” Clearly what Mason meant was not that Beck and O'Reilly are Republican strategists, per se, but that the network's Republican partisanship.
O'Reilly took great exception to that characterization when he next took to the air Monday night (4/16/12). And I'll say this much about him: O'Reilly is not a Republican mouthpiece. That's not to say he's not an obvious Romney supporter. He's just not as overtly partisan as, say, Sean Hannity or as virulently anti-Obama as, say, Glenn Beck. So, OK, let's say Mason should have said Beck and Hannity were damaging the Fox News brand instead. It doesn't really change the essence of her point. What's worse, it was clear O'Reilly knew that.
But rather than disprove her point, O'Reilly made it about Mason, host Kurtz and the so-called liberal, biased media. Fox tactic 101. Whatever the issue, change the subject to demonize your favorite foe(s).
O'Reilly should really have been bit more lenient anyway because he made his own mistatement when he began knocking Mason as “woefully uninformed.” He said he can't be causing “too much damage to the Fox News brand as The Factor's the highest-rated prime time news program in the country. “ As TVNewser pointed out, that's not quite true. The Factor is the highest-rated prime time cable news program but not the highest- rated news program overall. 60 Minutes holds that title.
O'Reilly went on to say that Dick Cheney refuses to come on his show and John McCain was “very hesitant” to appear. Apparently, that was all the proof needed to demonstrate a lack of partisanship.
That and taking a gratuitous, personal swipe at Mason. “Is this woman just a loon or what?” O'Reilly asked. “I don't have a clue as to what she's talking about.”
But O'Reilly knew exactly what she was talking about. Because later he said to guest Bernie Goldberg, “I'm so tired of this branding Fox news as a Republican outfit, I can't tell you.”
Goldberg knew exactly what Mason meant, too. He said O'Reilly has become “the poster boy” for “every liberal complaint about anything on cable TV” because he's “the most well known” personality and “of course because you work for Fox...That's the price you pay.for being well known.” In other words, Mason probably named O'Reilly because his name came to her mind along with Beck's.
So O'Reilly pivoted and said it's not about Mason but CNN.
According to O'Reilly, this was little more than a CNN plot to re-elect Obama and “marginalize” Fox News .
“This is why I get annoyed,” O'Reilly said. “Because it's worth their while – they being the liberal media that wants to re-elect President Obama – to marginalize an outfit that's not trying to get anybody elected, in my opinion.”
OK, maybe not in O'Reilly's opinion but Rick Santorum thinks Fox is in the tank for Romney. So does Newt Gingrich. And in case O'Reilly doesn't remember how Fox was in the tank for George W. Bush, I'd recommend a little documentary called Outfoxed that he should watch. I've got an extra copy I'd be glad to send you, Bill.
However, it has been removed from the front page. Put it down to “creative differences.”
With all my love,
And Colin… let’s not jump to conclusions. I’m sure Em’s post wasn’t deleted, I’ve seen posts just glitch out and vanish on this comments system.
1.Repeat over and over that he is ’an independent" even though his talking points constantly reinforce the Republican talking points. Give tough interviews to GOPers he thinks are hurting the party (Palin) and soft to those he thinks can win(Romney).
2. Frame any discussion by demonizing not Obama directly but liberals and, basically, anyone in and out of government who supports Obama’s policies. Because of this, he can then say, “But Obama is a nice guy,” thereby making the unsaid obvious, “But Obama is a bad president with awful policies and supporters.”
3a. Emphasize that it is the Democrats who are the vulgar and aggressive ones. Case in point: Last nights discussion with Krauthammer worried almost exclusively about the vicious attacks Romney will have to endure from the Dems and the left. Only barely and at the end, as a kind of grudging footnote, does he add, ’well, both sides will attack the other." See, he is balanced.
3b. Likewise, use key descriptive terms to set up a negative contrast in Romany’s favor: "The next election will be a choice between a man who wants smaller, more effective government and more personal responsibility vs. a man who wants an entitlement society that will bankrupt our country. " Gosh, which one should we vote for?
4. Stack the show with commentators (Rove, Morris, Krauthammer, Ingraham ) who are generally to his right. He then can appear as the middle or moderate one.
However, he has also challenged GOP guests in multiple ways – including his obvious disdain for both Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann’s talking points, and his acknowledgment that the Fast & Furious witchhunt really hasn’t gained any traction.
He’s not the fire breather he used to be ten or fifteen years ago. His friendship with Jon Stewart is an indication of this. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t say ridiculous things – but he also does acknowledge some basic facts when he’s pushed. (None of this excuses his buddying up to Glenn Beck or his refusal to admit Beck’s obvious push to help the GOP and obstruct the Dems)
If anything, both Bernie Goldberg and Mike Wallace pegged him correctly – he’s about promoting himself above all else. And Fox News has given him a great perch to do so. Of course, part of that perch is using the GOP line of the day in every broadcast…
As for Julie Mason, her comments are pretty clear – she was saying that Fox can’t claim to be a “Fair and Balanced”, unbiased network when it had Glenn Beck raving on the air, and has the opinion block of O’Reilly, Hannity and Van Susteren regularly repeating GOP talking points as news stories.
Well, BillO, it’s kinda hard to think otherwise when Fox & Friends — one of your OWN network’s shows — asks the question, “who should we choose [as Romney’s VP]?”