Last night’s O’Reilly Factor conducted a “Factor Follow up” on a scandal in Baltimore in which a prisoner has allegedly run a drug ring in the prison and impregnated four prison guards. The story of the Baltimore detention center, taken over by the state of Maryland is, in fact, a big one. But O’Reilly glided over most of the details and deliberately made it more about Governor Martin O’Malley than the prison. And guess what? It just so happens that Democrat O’Malley is a 2016 presidential hopeful.
It took Bill O’Reilly 40 seconds into his “follow up” to start in on O’Malley. “This isn’t the first time there was a scandal at a Maryland prison,” O’Reilly said, citing another one at a state penitentiary. “In both situations, Governor Martin O’Malley and the Secretary of Safety and Public Service, Gary Maynard, were in charge. Yet O’Malley and Maynard admit no wrongdoing at all and say they’ve done a good job – a good job! – overseeing the prisons.”
That was just about it for “the no spin zone” overview of what actually has happened at the prison. It’s a story that the Washington Post took four pages to discuss. But that’s the “liberal media” for you. Fox News knows how to quickly get to the heart of the matter, by sending ambush producer Jesse Watters to “find out” “how bad” the prison is.
It’s revealing that O’Reilly sent Watters instead of a real Fox News reporter to investigate. And sure enough, Watters’ “investigation” focused on smearing O’Malley's administration, too. Watters' interview with a prisoner took less than 30 seconds before honing in on the lack of a warden’s presence. Less than a minute later, Watters asked, “Do you feel that O’Malley and Maynard have been responsible in addressing (the problems)?”
Watters’ interview with the prisoner lasted about 90 seconds. Then it was time for an ambush question to O’Malley about “the very permissive culture” allowed at the prison by “these unionized correction officers.”
Back in the studio, O’Reilly responded to O’Malley’s reply with the “question,” “Why, Governor, has this been going on for four years?” And, why, if O'Reilly really wanted to know, didn’t he do anything to find out? I think the answer is pretty clear: either he decided he already knew and didn’t need to explain the details to his audience or he didn’t care about the answer because his real interest was in smearing O’Malley.
Watters also ambushed Maryland Secretary Maynard. Despite the fact that Maynard said he and O’Malley were responsible for rooting out corruption in the prison system, O’Reilly didn’t think that worth going into either. Instead, he sneered, “Is that guy as dumb as he sounds?” Apparently that’s because Maynard claimed not to be familiar with O’Reilly’s show.
“Obviously, they’re not doing their job,” O’Reilly declared, based on the fact that Watters reported Maynard said he had “visited this facility a few times and never saw anything.”
Yet that’s not what we saw Maynard saying. We saw Maynard saying that he had worked to expose the problem and wanted to continue working on fixing the problem – that is, when he wasn’t answering questions about The Factor.
That’s also in line with what Maynard was quoted by the Washington Post as saying:
Gary D. Maynard, who was appointed head of the state’s troubled prison system by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) in 2007, acknowledged how deeply rooted the problems at the jail are. “The collusion, corruption, riots were part of this system for a long, long time,” he said. “We have exposed it now.”
Furthermore, WaPo reported (but the “no spin zone” did not) on May 4, that Maynard has literally moved into the warden’s office to address the issues:
Last week, Maynard moved his office into the warden’s conference room.
On Friday, the prison chief arrived at the detention center at 6:30 a.m. so he could watch the morning shift report to work and go through security. Then Maynard went off to meetings with a leather folder tucked under his arm. Inside were business cards and important papers, including one sheet titled, “Why did this happen?” He said he intends to find out.
“If you have an issue and you fire somebody here or there and move on, you haven’t really solved the problem,” Maynard said. “Exposing ourselves to an internal investigation is risky and difficult, but it was the only way to get at the core problem.”
“He just sounded like a moron,” O’Reilly sneered.
Actually, it was O’Reilly’s phony-baloney reporting that was moronic. But we know that smears and anti-Democratic innuendoes, not information, were the real goal. O’Reilly and Watters do a much better job at that.