It takes a certain gall to pair twice-accused sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly with serial adulterer Newt Gingrich as a team to complain about the media coverage of multiple allegations of Donald Trump’s sexual abuse. Even worse, each has been a major player in using the media to ruin other people’s careers and worse.
O’Reilly sat down with Gingrich last night to discuss the barrage of accusations, from a slew of different women, that Donald Trump had sexually assaulted or groped or slimed them. To be clear, the accusations, which came out Wednesday night, emerged after the release of Access Hollywood’s hot mic video of Donald Trump boasting about just that sort of behavior: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait… And when you’re a star, they let you do it. …Grab them by the p---y.”
Other than, say, Bill Cosby, it’s hard to think of two less appropriate and more biased pundits to defend Trump than O’Reilly and Gingrich. O’Reilly, a Trump buddy, has twice been accused of being a sexual predator himself. First, in 2004, there was the bombshell lawsuit (quickly settled) by former O’Reilly producer, Andrea Mackris. This year, Fox News host Andrea Tantaros cited O’Reilly’s behavior as part of the pattern of sexual harassment she endured during her employment at Fox. Fox did not defend him in a response to her suit.
Newt famously dumped wife #1 for wife #2 while wife #1 was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. As in literally went to the hospital to present her with divorce papers while she was recovering from surgery for uterine cancer.
He eventually dumped wife #2 for wife #3 shortly after wife #2 was diagnosed with MS back in 1999. And he was having the affair on wife #2 with wife #3 while he was turning the country upside down trying to drive Bill Clinton from office over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
To Fox News, this makes a perfect pair for a “fair and balanced” discussion of the allegations rocking the Trump campaign.
First, Gingrich painted Trump as a media victim: “Virtually the entire media attempt[ed] to destroy the candidate of one of the two parties,” Gingrich said sanctimoniously. As if he had not done exactly that, with Fox News’ help, to Bill Clinton.
Even more hypocritically, Gingrich whined that there would never have been such reporting on John F. Kennedy or Franklin D. Roosevelt.
But, the two talking heads agreed sadly, this is our “totally broken” news media now and we have to live with it. Neither one acknowledged the role each played in making it that way. I guess they just never expected it to turn around and bite them. Now that it has, O'Reilly acted as though the reporting on Trump could have happened to anybody.
From the Media Matters transcript:
BILL O’REILLY (HOST): It’s not going to change. And that’s why good people aren’t stepping up. Because nobody is perfect. Everybody has things in their past that they don’t want to be on the front page of The New York Times or whatever. But there is a degree. And I do believe the press has a responsibility to bring the truth to the American people. Do you feel that’s happening now? Is the press bringing the truth?
NEWT GINGRICH: No, I think journalism in the sense that you grew up with and I grew up with has totally collapsed. And I think The New York Times, candidly, has been the leader in this collapse. The New York Times one time even if it was left wing with Castro and with Stalin in the ‘30s, it was nonetheless a place that would have very serious reporting. The stuff they have been doing recently on Trump, some of it is an absurdity. And it gets blown up.
If only these two media moralists had felt the same compassion for President Obama and Ward Churchill. Heck, Dr. George Tiller might even be alive today were it not for O’Reilly persistently calling him “Dr. Tiller the baby killer.”
Yet, O’Reilly has a set of ethics to keep him from discussing the allegations against Trump:
O'REILLY: See, I don’t even get into that stuff, because if it’s filed, if there is something filed and the police are investigating, then, but anybody can say anything at any time.
No wonder O’Reilly was the first, and so far only, interviewer Trump ran to after the Access Hollywood video was released.
Watch O’Reilly and Gingrich clutch their new-found pearls over the Trump scandals below, from the October 13, 2016 The O’Reilly Factor, via Media Matters.
Bill O’Reilly is in a particularly ticklish position here. He clearly likes Trump and wants him to win, but can’t maintain that in the light of what’s clearly happening, particularly with Trump’s numbers going south. The fact that Fox News polling and right wing former pollster Scott Rasmussen are now agreeing that Clinton is far enough ahead to pretty much have this is definitely not a help for the pro-Trumpers out there. So the story now is how do they play the endgame? For O’Reilly, he’s likely to blame Trump’s downfall on salacious rumors, thus allowing him to pretend he has the moral high ground to tut-tut that the media should have focused more on Clinton’s liabilities and things like WikiLeaks.
I note with WikiLeaks that I have to wonder if Julian Assange hasn’t just completely played the American right for fools, and if he isn’t having a good laugh at their expense, given that there’s really no there there when you actually look at what his hackers got from the Russians. Assange has pushed the right wing into a completely hypocritical position – they HATED him several years ago when he and Manning were publishing materials the right didn’t want out there, but now they’re sympathetic to him if he can give them dirt on the Clintons. He repeatedly rings their bell with hints about great stuff he’s going to release, but teases the release with comments like “some of it is interesting, some of it is amusing.” Then he dumps a hacker trove of internal emails that pretty much show snarkiness inside a campaign – real shocker there. Given that there are thousands of almost completely irrelevant emails in this dump, the right wing is left scrambling through all this dreck looking for the needle in the haystack, and there really isn’t one that I’ve seen – something Assange admitted in his announcement a couple of weeks ago. So we have the spectacle of the right wing frantically trying to find that smoking needle in the midst of thousands of pounds of dross – I have to believe Assange is having a good time watching the attempted frenzy. This may be the ultimate rick roll ever done.
But while that’s happening, Fox News knows it must continue to beat the drum that this is a “real serious scandal” for Clinton, and that somehow the revelations about Trump’s boorishness and creepiness are somehow only coming out as a “wag the dog” maneuver rather than a nail into the coffin of the Trump campaign. The main audience of Fox News are right wingers who have repeatedly been told that the Clintons are evil career criminals who should be in jail – so that drumbeat would be comforting to them in a time when it’s obvious their candidate is going down in flames. Fox News and the right wing are also being careful about not repeating the crippling mistake they made in 2012, where they insisted that Mitt Romney was going to win, with some even opining he would win in a landslide and saying that the polls showing the truth were “skewed”. (I note that the 2012 right wing spin was so humiliatingly disproven that Scott Rasmussen was forced to leave polling in disgrace – he had previously been touted up to that election day as “the most accurate” of all the pollsters by using the questionable accounting tactic of only using the final few days of a race to measure that accuracy. Rasmussen had been notorious for keeping a right wing thumb on the scale up to that point to make it appear that the right wing candidate was going to win, and then taking the thumb off at the very end to show real numbers just before the polls opened. In 2012, Rasmussen and Gallup kept their thumbs on the scale all the way down, thinking it would help stimulate more right wingers to vote and discourage everyone else – this sadly backfired for them as we saw.)
So now we have Fox News openly admitting that Clinton is likely to win, and various right wing AM radio shouters are saying the same thing. This leaves two issues for the various pundits and anchors to handle. First, who do they blame for the defeat? Do they admit that it’s Trump himself, as Ben Shapiro is positioning himself to do since he never liked Trump in the first place? Do they follow the line that “the whole media is in the tank for Hillary” as Limbaugh has done? Do they blame “weak Republicans” for not sticking with Trump, like Hannity and Gingrich? Do they pretend they have some gravitas that sets them above the fray as O’Reilly is laughingly attempting here? Do they pretend to have objectivity, as Megyn Kelly is currently playing? (She was never a Trump fan for obvious reasons, and her open disdain for Trump’s mouthpieces on her show is becoming truly entertaining as we get down to the final days of the campaign)
I will be curious to see if Trump really does try to start up a “Trump TV” to compete with Fox and Newsmax and the other right wing outlets. If he does, the behavior of Hannity, Gingrich and Huckabee, among others, makes a lot of sense. I could easily see Hannity jumping over to a new Trump network with Gingrich and Roger Ailes and essentially continuing the propaganda they’ve been inflicting for the past 20 years. I could see Kelly positioning herself as the primary anchor of a less rabidly right wing Fox News in the post-Ailes, post-election period, particularly if Hannity jumps ship and O’Reilly retires in another year. Huckabee could go either way – if there are two networks of this ilk, he has his pick of the litter – one of them will give him a cushy weekend show like he had before on Fox News (and most likely will again in 2017). (I have to feel a little sorry for Ted Cruz, in that he clearly thought he was going to have that kind of cushy gig but will instead wind up with only Glenn Beck to turn to – assuming that Beck’s organization survives much longer.)
One final thought – I have kept a little bit of video of Newt Gingrich, recorded on August 18th during an appearance with Hannity. His exact words: “I’m going to go out on a limb tonight, and you can keep this tape and remind me about it after the election, okay? Donald Trump’s gonna win. Donald Trump’s gonna win, because in the end, the country’s not gonna reward big banks and big unions and big bureaucracies and big donors and big corruption by voting for a big liar. And in the end, the country’s gonna say ‘You know, whatever Trump’s weaknesses may be, he’s a sincere guy trying very hard to get this country back on the right track.” Now, if a bunch of Republicans are too stiff-necked, too proud, or in some cases too committed to the old order, after the election, I think they’re gonna be very sobered by their position because the fact is, I think he’s gonna win." Let’s see how that works out in 3 1/2 weeks…
Yet “Fox & Friends” isn’t giving equal time either. Because it seems to me they spent a lot more time defending Trump than smearing Hillary. ;^)
The Newt, who cheated on his former wife with his mistress, now his wife, should sit in a corner and zip it.
These clowns have a bad habit of covering up sexual harassment of their friends and former boss, the Nixon Trainee Ailes.
Coming down the pipeline:
1. Another major, MAJOR scandal rocks the Foxies and Trumpster. This one is so big, it will bring down the entire GOP and their buddies at the Foxies.
2. Grandpa Hannocchio’s meltdown is coming around the corner.
3. Turmoil continues at the Foxies. More backstabbings.
4. A Fox “News” mouthpiece makes demands.
5. Sex, lies, videotape, and drugs.
Example, FDR and JFK had consensual sex. Not comparable to the allegations against Trump.
Example, in my recent return to GOPTV™ viewing I’ve noticed the fair and balanced folks at Fox News like Bret Bauer are putting considerable emphasis on WikiLeaks. Not to mention glossing over the sourcing and reliability. Such hypocrites when someone notices Trump scandals which are arguably worse.
Example, I’ve witnessed CNN spend considerable time on Clinton scandals like email-gate and WikiLeaks way beyond the 72 hour limit Newt wants to place on coverage of The Donald assaulting women. So enough of the msm bashing!
The easy quip is to observe there are no better experts than the experienced pair of Newt and Bill to discuss sexual harassment.
However, the serious side is I witnessed “The Five” yesterday wrestling with this story and they were rather uncomfortable with Trump. Bill seems to be struggling hanging some wallpaper to cover this scandal up too.
Which feeds into recent analysis (outside of Fox) surprising me claiming most of the problems Trump is having in the polls is conservatives have finally overloaded on his stink and are abandoning ship. Newt is still holding out but the cracks are even showing in the Fox bubble.