Fusion’s Jorge Ramos conducted a lengthy interview with Bill O’Reilly in the No Spin Zone this week. In it, O’Reilly revisited his denial of white privilege, insisted he doesn’t play political favorites, is a “traditional,” not a conservative” and, perhaps inadvertently revealing the journalistic restraints he’s under on Fox, said he gave George W. Bush “the hardest questions I could give him.” But it was O’Reilly’s explanation for gullibility over Iraq’s WMDs that really grabbed me.
Ramos challenged O’Reilly on his disparate treatment of Bush and Obama, “I’ve seen your show lately, doing my homework. You’ve destroyed President Barack Obama. …In almost every single show, you criticize President Barack Obama. And you didn’t do the same with President George W. Bush.”
I believe Ramos was referring to O’Reilly’s 2004 interview with Bush. We did not have video capability then but our Marie Therese wrote out a transcript that you can read of Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. You can watch O’Reilly’s last interview with President Obama, just before the Super Bowl, here.
O’Reilly insisted he was “hard on Bush” and “I’m hard on Obama.” He said it was Ramos’ “opinion” that he wasn’t “hard on them all.” Yet O’Reilly’s subsequent comments reveal a tacit acknowledgment that Ramos was correct.
For one thing, O’Reilly said that he gave Bush “the hardest questions I could give him.” Meaning what? That he would have gotten in trouble with Fox News higher ups if he had been tougher?
O’Reilly went on to defend his tough(er?) questions to Obama by saying, “Now, we’re in a position where – and you have to know this – 70% of the American people think that the country’s going in the wrong direction. So, what, are you telling me that I shouldn’t be hard on the chief executive?” And then, “If, under President Bush, 70% of the public thought we were going in the wrong direction, I certainly would have. But it wasn’t the same situation because of 9/11/.”
Wait a minute! This sounds more like an excuse for going lighter on Bush than proof of being equally tough. Furthermore, O’Reilly added, “It wasn’t until the end that the economy collapsed, and we didn’t have time to get him (Bush) because he was out of office, alright?”
I wish Ramos had pressed O’Reilly on that point, especially the “hardest questions I could” statement. But I suppose there was only so much time Ramos wanted to spend on that. The discussion moved on to the Iraq war and Ramos’ contention that, “As journalists, we didn’t do our job correctly” on the weapons of mass destruction issue.
Instead of taking the kind of personal responsibility conservatives are always advocating for others, O’Reilly blamed Colin Powell and Bill and Hillary Clinton:
When you have a guy like Colin Powell, alright? Going out there and saying there are weapons of mass destruction, when you have Bill and Hillary Clinton saying there are weapons of mass destruction, alright? We, as journalists, only have as much access as we can get. We don’t have CIA files.
Really, Bill? Other journalists managed to get it right in their reporting. And your excuse is that Fox couldn’t do any fact checking of Powell or the Clintons?
That was another point I wish Ramos had pressed. However, Ramos is a good journalist and it shows throughout much of this interesting and wide-ranging interview.
Watch it below.
Also, Fox “News,” with their 24/7 Obama/Democrat bashing, is a good part of the reason why so many people think America is going in the wrong direction.
Most of these Fox “News” cafeteria Catholics are thin-skinned too. They can’t take criticism very well.
Billy would probably blame President Obama on his failed marriage.
Um, so, BOR, if Bush had 70% of the folks thinking that the country was going in the wrong direction, you would have been harder on Bush, eh? Is that your spin, er, defense?
Either BOR is straight-up lying or we’re to believe that he never happened to notice the negative numbers on Bush because the below info shows that Bush DID indeed have 70% of the public thinking that the country was going into the wrong direction.
So BOR takes notice when Obama’s numbers slip to a 70% negative result but he didn’t even notice when Bush’s numbers did the same?! I’m sick to death of BOR getting away with his bullsh!t. He damn well knows that he was much softer on Bush by choice (because he and his employer largely agree with and pimp the Bush/GOP ideology) yet he tries to play Ramos and his viewers as dumb chumps.
Btw, in addition to the 2004 interview that NHs’ MT transcribed, I know that BOR also did interviews with Bush in Oct. 2006 and in 2010. There may be more that I’m not remembering.
From The NY Times, May 10, 2006
“Poll Gives Bush His Worst Marks Yet”
The nationwide telephone poll, of 1,241 adults, was conducted from May 4 to May 8. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Seventy percent of respondents said the country was heading in the wrong direction, compared with 23 percent who said they approved of the direction in which the country was heading. Those findings are not significantly different from the responses to a CBS News poll last week and suggest that Americans are more pessimistic about the country’s direction than at any other time in the 23 years that The Times and CBS News have asked the question.
And Andrea Mackris was Hillary’s fault.