Last week, after pro-union demonstrators began picketing outside Fox News headquarters in New York City, Bill O’Reilly sent out his producer Jesse Watters outside to ask the protestors what was wrong.
Of course, when Waters asked the protestors what they meant when they were chanting “Fox lies,” they couldn’t answer. The segment prompted Steven Pearlstein to go on CNN and say:
“What you just saw was also not journalism. Journalists do not call attention to themselves. Except in rare circumstances. That wasn’t journalism. You could call that a nonfiction entertainment but it wasn’t journalism. Let’s understand there is a tradition in journalism and, you know, it evolves with different media but that wasn’t journalism.”
Last night O’Reilly asked regular guest Bernie Goldberg to come on, most likely expecting him to side with O’Reilly and Fox News.
Well, O’Reilly was wrong. Goldberg actually agreed with CNN and questioned whether or not Watters, as a Fox News employee, could be objective asking those questions.
“You know, Jesse Watters goes out there and he is talking to a bunch of people yelling ‘Fox lies’ in front of the Fox News Channel. And they can’t come up with even one example of how Fox lies. They look foolish. But I do agree with him, or at least I tend to agree with him, that it isn’t journalism and it certainly, more precisely, it isn’t anything resembling traditional journalism. Jesse Watters didn’t go out there as an objective journalist. He went out there to defend the company that signs his paychecks. I mean, right there there’s a bit of an issue. If there was one person in that crowd, you know, besides the cheese heads and the goofy looking people out there, if there was one person who was intelligent and articulate and, I don’t know what the case would be, but made a case against Fox News, I guarantee it, Jesse Watters wouldn’t stand there and say, ‘Oh, that’s cool, really?'”
O’Reilly defended Waters, saying that he was simply told to go out and talk to the people, and was not given any orders to spin it in Fox News’ favour.
“Watters gets assigned to go out there by me. I assign him to go out there. And my mandate to Watters was this: ‘You go out there and you find out what’s bothering these people. Specifically, what is bothering them. And you find out who sent them here. How they got here.’ So, Watters does both. He finds out that they are mad, Bernie, that Fox lies. OK. Fox lies about what? And nobody can tell him.”
“Look, everybody in journalism has a reputation of sorts. And Jesse Watters is a nice guy. I happen to like him personally. But he is not an objective reporter. His job, you say you sent him out to find out what was going on. Yeah. And Jesse Watters is going to come back with certain kinds of information because he knows what the boss likes.”
“That’s how it works in real life.”
But O’Reilly refused to admit that there was any kind of agenda in any of the questions that Watters asked.
“He did what I asked him to do. And it wasn’t tilted. He wasn’t putting words in people’s mouths. He wasn’t neglecting… If somebody had an articulate point of view, he probably would have said, ‘Get them. Bring them on in. I will talk to them.'”
You have to wonder how O’Reilly would have reacted if someone on the left questioned the integrity of his show or one of his producers. Since it was Goldberg, and the two are obviously friends, it was let go without any incident.
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