It’s hard to imagine how anyone, much less a Washington Post pundit, could go on The O’Reilly Factor and fail so completely when asked to explain why she thinks Bill O'Reilly has a pro-Trump bias. But Rubin not only blew her attempt, she wound up making O’Reilly look like the objective one.
Rubin is an anti-Donald Trump conservative and a columnist for The Washington Post. She appeared on The Factor to defend criticisms of O’Reilly’s coverage of Trump.
RUBIN: My criticism is really that you actually are in the spin zone. It’s presented as a news program or a pseudo-news program and instead, it’s a lot of parroting what Trump is saying to you.
Actually, I would argue that “parroting” is more what Hannity does. O’Reilly is slicker about it. He feigns independence and promotes Trump’s talking points from a different standpoint (despite the fact O'Reilly does occasionally challenge Trump).
But we never even got that far.
“Give me one example of how I’ve parroted Donald Trump,” O’Reilly said.
Rubin replied, “You’ve attacked the moderators in the other debates, calling them, ‘The fix is in.’” She held up a sheet of paper, saying, “I have a whole list.”
“I said they were Democrats,” O’Reilly claimed. He went on to argue, “If I see that two Democrats are sitting there, both who have been aggressive with Donald Trump, alright? And then you have a candidate, Hillary Clinton, that’s three against one, alright? And to my, in my analysis, and I do what you do, I have a right to say that may be not the fairest position.”
The two quibbled about which of the presidential debate moderators are Democrats, with Rubin saying that Fox’s Chris Wallace is the only registered Democrat and O’Reilly disagreeing.
Rubin did nothing to persuade me she knew better than O’Reilly but it wasn’t awful. Until she claimed that O’Reilly “made excuses” for Trump’s “lock her up” comment about Hillary Clinton. When O’Reilly asked, “What, exactly, did I say?” Rubin was caught embarrassingly flat-footed. She fumbled with her list and couldn’t find the quote. Then she clumsily tried to change the subject.
Media Matters has the transcript:
RUBIN: OK. Let’s see. In August, let’s see, we had comments that you were going to—if somebody is being really dishonest, referring to the press corps, you would strip them of their credentials as well. Doesn’t sound like an independent thing—
O’REILLY: That doesn’t have anything to do with “lock ‘em up.” You are ill prepared for this interview, Ms. Rubin.
RUBIN: No I’m not, I have a whole list here.
O’REILLY: Ms. Rubin, I have just given you a minute where you’ve hemmed and hawed. You said I justified a comment, “lock her up,” you can’t point it, and then you pivot to something else. You are ill prepared for this. And this is the point I want to make: Your column and blog are fraud.
That was cringe-worthy enough. Then Rubin came up with this:
RUBIN: October 10, you defend Trump’s promise to put Hillary in jail. October—
O’REILLY: Tell me how I did that, Madam. You can’t just throw out—what did I say?
RUBIN: You said it was a perfectly defensible position; you can go to your own clips.
O’REILLY: No I didn’t, that’s not true. I didn’t say it was a perfectly defensible—read it, do you have my comments? You have my comments there, read them.
RUBIN: I don’t have them word-for-word –
I’d love to know what was on the list she was so proud of and how she managed not to include anything O’Reilly actually said in a remark she cited from it.
Predictably, her ineptitude led to this:
O’REILLY: You’re ill-prepared for this.
RUBIN: You know what I’ll do, Bill? I’ll put them up at my website, and people can judge for themselves.
O’REILLY: Go ahead, and you know how many people are going to come to your website? Zero, because you’re not an honest analysis person, you’re not.
For the record, O’Reilly defended Trump’s “lock her up” hideousness on October 20. In an epic argument with Charles Krauthammer, O’Reilly said:
“Number one, [Trump] has to play to a certain voter, alright? Who does believe that Mrs. Clinton got away with a national security violation that no one else would have gotten away with. Millions and millions of those voters out there. So, yeah, you’re right, he can’t put anybody in jail if he’s president. You can’t just sign executive orders and one is incarcerated, but certainly he would have the power to—his Justice Department would, to reopen an investigation that the government deemed to be not credible. He does have the power to do that, and I wasn’t offended by that so much in the sense that I knew it was a quip off the top of his head which, you know—and I think it helped him. I really believe that it helped him.”
Rubin is no novice to television appearances. She should have known to come prepared if she was going to challenge O'Reilly this way. But maybe this open letter of advice from the Post’s former ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, to Jeff Bezos when he bought the paper explains the inexplicable:
Have Fred Hiatt, your editorial page editor—who I like, admire, and respect—fire opinion blogger Jennifer Rubin. Not because she’s conservative, but because she’s just plain bad. She doesn’t travel within a hundred miles of Post standards. … Her analysis of the conservative movement, which is a worthwhile and important beat that the Post should treat more seriously on its national pages, is shallow and predictable. Her columns, at best, are political pornography; they get a quick but sure rise out of the right, but you feel bad afterward.
And she is often wrong, and rarely acknowledges it.
Rubin was the No. 1 source of complaint mail about any single Post staffer while I was ombudsman, and I’m leaving out the organized email campaigns against her by leftie groups like Media Matters. Thinking conservatives didn’t like her, thinking moderates didn’t like her, government workers who knew her arguments to be unfair didn’t like her. Dump her like a dull tome on the Amazon Bargain Books page.
I’m not familiar with Rubin’s columns but just from this appearance, alone, I believe every word that Pexton says.
Watch Rubin’s stunning display of incompetence below, from the October 24, 2016 The O’Reilly Factor.
Probably why she was chosen to go on O’Reilly. Somebody recognized her choke potential.