Fox’s Bernard Goldberg laid some truth on Bill O’Reilly about his shocking attempts to persuade Donald Trump to take part in the Fox News debate.
As I posted about the 12-minute display of O’Reilly groveling also known as a two-part interview, It was hard to know which was worse: 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 was 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.
At least Goldberg got to the heart of some of what was wrong and he had the stones to speak up about it to O’Reilly’s face.
First, though, Goldberg rightly called out the media for covering the interview “as entertainment, as a show, not as politics.” Goldberg added, “Donald Trump is running for president of the United States but it was covered like fight night on the FOX News Channel or shootout at the O.K. Corral.”
I agree 100% but part of the reason the rest of the media didn’t treat the interview as a serious matter is because O’Reilly didn’t handle it that way. As even Goldberg described it, “It didn’t come off to me so much as a political interview as a spat between two old buddies and a very, very, very public spat.” It was such jaw-dropping political theater, it was easy to forget the serious issues hidden underneath.
O’Reilly tried to blame the “liberal media” for not giving him the credit he thought he deserved.
O’REILLY: Another reason why it was covered as entertainment was because the liberal newspapers, our competition on cable and on broadcast doesn’t want you to give Fox News legitimacy. So, they know, as I said in the Talking Points Memo, that many consider us the most powerful news agency in the world. You don’t want to give us more credibility so that if they have to cover us and they did, they are going to cover us in an entertainment or snarky way. Would you disagree with that?
Goldberg agreed there was some snarkiness but he told O’Reilly to follow the same advice he gave Trump and turn the other cheek.
Then Goldberg gently told his friend some truth.
GOLDBERG: As far as the journalism is concerned, you and I just disagree on this. I don’t think it’s a good idea for a journalist, even an opinion journalist, giving advice to anybody running for president of the United States. It just causes problems but we disagree and, you know, reasonable people as they say disagree.
O’Reilly stuck to his ridiculous justification that he had not been giving advice to Trump but “looking out for the folks.” Not looking out for the glory and acclaim that would have been his had he succeeded in talking Trump into doing the debate - oh, no, of course not.
O’REILLY: Yes. I mean, look, you can look at it as advice giving but I look at it as looking out for the folks. I want the electorate to elect, the next time around, the best possible candidate. Therefore, I want all the candidates to get as much exposure as possible. As I said in the Talking Points Memo and I believe firmly, people voted for Barack Obama, they had no blanking clue who they were voting for, none. And I don’t want it to happen again. So, you can say it’s advice giving, but I’m saying, I’m looking out for the folks.
Goldberg did not back down. “But you don’t think that’s an unreasonable interpretation,” he pressed.
“Do I think it’s unreasonable? No,” O’Reilly agreed.
Then they began joking and laughing together.
Watch it below, from the January 28 The O’Reilly Factor.