Bill O’Reilly’s effort to validate the president’s bogus claim about the horrors of immigration in Sweden has backfired big league, as O’Reilly’s buddy, Donald Trump, might say. UPDATED
As I’ve previously reported, Trump looked quite the fool after he announced at his campaign rally last week:
“When you look at what’s happening in Germany, when you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden — Sweden!” he said during the rally. “Who would believe this? Sweden! They took in large numbers, they’re having problems like they never thought possible.”
When the supposedly awful event in Sweden began to look a lot like the fake “Bowling Green massacre” Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway fear mongered about earlier in the month, Trump shirked responsibility by blaming Fox News:
My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2017
It turned out Fox had not reported any incident that had happened the night before in Sweden. But, ever a true-blue pal true-red pal, Fox responded by trying to prove that Sweden is a hellhole of immigrant criminals. FoxNews.com featured an immigrant basher to claim that Sweden had suffered some kind of immigrant-fueled crime wave. Host Tucker Carlson, whose dubious segment on the subject probably provided the seed for Trump’s Swedish myth, took to Fox & Friends where he argued that a president coming up with a fake attack was a minor matter of imprecise words and that the real point was the “massive social cost associated with the refugee policies and the immigration policies of western Europe.”
O’Reilly, however, dug up one Nils Bildt, identified as a “Swedish defense and national security advisor.” Bildt came up with an argument that sounded like it could have come straight from a Fox News attack on “political correctness,” used to justify bigotry.
BILDT: There is a problem with socially deviant activity. There is a problem with crime. There is a problem with crime or areas of hotspots of crime … and these things are not being openly and honestly discussed.
The narrative in Sweden, the Swedish political debate is completely false. You cannot have a debate, an honest, open debate in Sweden about immigration because if you don’t agree with the liberal – shall we say - common agenda, then you are viewed as an outsider or not even taken seriously.
It’s more than a little ironic for Bildt to be calling for an honest and open discussion given that he was not at all the person he appeared to be.
From The Washington Post:
But who is Nils Bildt? [The Swedish newspaper] Dagens Nyheter reported that Bildt had in fact emigrated from Sweden in 1994 and that he was originally named Nils Tolling. The newspaper also said Bildt had been convicted of a violent offense while living in Virginia and was given a one-year prison sentence in 2014.
Reached via email, Bildt initially said that he did not dispute anything in the Dagens Nyheter report, though he noted that he had not chosen the title with which he was attributed by Fox News. “I made clear that I am an independent analyst,” Bildt said. Later, he followed up to dispute the claim he had served time in prison.
“Had I spent a year in prison, I would think I would remember it,” Bildt said.
According to The Post, Bildt is unknown in the Swedish security community. So how did he become a Fox News expert? The Post reported (with my emphases added)
David Tabacoff, executive producer of “The O’Reilly Factor,” defended the decision to book Bildt. “Our booker made numerous inquiries and spoke to people who recommended Nils Bildt and after pre-interviewing him and reviewing his bio, we agreed that he would make a good guest for the topic that evening,” Tabacoff said in a statement. (Fox News later said O’Reilly would address the matter on his Monday show.)
Whom do you think the booker spoke to? Trump adviser and former Fox News contributor Sebastian Gorka? Interestingly, J.D. Durkin, at Mediaite, found an online photo gallery of a 2016 car trip Bildt took from Japan to the U.K. that included a stop in Moscow where Bildt described Red Square as “the Center of the Universe.” Furthermore, Durkin noted that there was no mention of Bildt’s work in Swedish defense on the site and it was quickly deleted after Mediaite queried Bildt about it.
We’ll be very interested to hear what O’Reilly says about this tomorrow.
Meanwhile, watch Bildt below, on the February 23, 2017 The O’Reilly Factor.
UPDATE: O'Reilly acknowledged, "The criticism is valid."
Presenting this phony expert is NOT fake news.
Reporting that Fox presented a phony ’expert (AGAIN!!!) is fake news.
As to what Billdo’s going to say about it, it’s obviously not going to be his fault. He’ll find some poor, low-level staffer to scapegoat—a staff researcher or whoever operates the teleprompter and/or is responsible for the chyron.
Faux is doing double duty describing the latest fashions of our naked emperor.