UPDATED on 3/24/09: After Bill O'Reilly's despicable attack on fellow blogger Amanda Terkel, I wanted to make sure that the tools for fighting back against this abrogation of the basic rules of civility is available to everyone.
Bill O'Reilly uses typical tabloid journalism tactics to sneak up and sandbag you intentionally, so you will be off guard and a bit unprepared to answer his questions. Usually one of his minions seeks out people who refuse to appear on his show or are unavailable for commenting on a particular topic that offends O'Reilly. In many cases O'Reilly is really trying to hound people who call him out for his buffoonery.
So he'll send his team to your house or apartment -- someplace that used to be off-limits -- so you will be vulnerable. If you have family members or loved ones nearby, their privacy has been violated too. O'Reilly catches people unloading their groceries in their driveways in a way that exposes people by publicizing where they live to a potentially lunatic public. It's really a nasty tactic.
These are the types of interviews his ambush producers -- including wanker extraordinaire Jesse Watters, aka the Falafel Flunkie -- revel in. Not many of us would have the grace to handle it the way Bill Moyers does here. So without any further ado, here's my simple guide on how to deal with Bill O'Reilly's level of unprofessionalism:
1) When Watters and crew jump out of a bush or from behind a parked car and surprise you, don't be shocked. Instead just smile and say, "You must be Jesse Watters from the O'Reilly factor, so nice to see you..." This will momentarily knock him off guard because he's expecting you to cower from the sight of his microphone and cameras. That's nonsense. The microphone and cameras are your friends---remember that.
The microphone and cameras are "your friends"
2) Look directly into the camera and say, "Hi, Bill, how are you? I'm so glad you tracked me down at my super market (or gas station, bank, local mall, parking garage or front door.) when I'm trying to unwind.
3) Now comes the critical time. When he asks you his misleading or false question about a bogus issue that Bill O'Reilly has trumped up to his FOX news audience, say:
"I'll be happy to answer your questions, Jesse, but can I ask you something first? Are you embarrassed to be working for a man who got sued for sexual harassment by Andrea Mackris and lost millions of dollars?
Jesse will look puzzled at first, so repeat this phrase.
Aren't you embarrassed to be working for a man who got sued for sexual harassment by Andrea Mackris and lost millions of dollars? Don't you have any decency? Aren't you ashamed by that?"
4) Watters will try to avoid the question by saying 'I'm here to ask the questions,' after he gets over the shock of your initial response to him. Remember, the camera is your friend. They can -- and will -- edit out anything they want, so he may hang in there for some time to try and get some usable footage. Stay strong. Ask him over and over again the Mackris question until he responds. He may stop rolling the camera, but you can't trust him, because they may try to make it look like they aren't recording. That's dangerous territory, so here's a basic rule:
Once Jesse Watters jumps into your space, everything is being recorded. Period. He may stop and look around and say, "I get it. You're trying to play with me." Just smile and say that you're only trying to understand Bill O'Reilly. Remember, the tape is always rolling.
5) If Jesse says he doesn't know anything about it and tries to ask you a question again, please tell him to go to this website and see for himself. There are over 20 pages available for him to get familiar with Bill's loofah fetish. Please memorize this URL (http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1013043mackris1.html). After a few repetitions, you'll know this like the back of your hand. It's really easy to do. The only downside may be that you might hear the website address playing inside your head for a while; kind of like when a song gets stuck there. Don't try and force it out; silently let the web address finish to completion and then just think about something else. It will soon disappear from your thoughts. But if you try to force it away, it will not leave.
6) As a follow-up, ask him if he knows how much money Andrea Mackris was awarded to settle the suit out of court. If he doesn't know, say that you've seen reports that estimate the sum at around 6 million dollars. Ask him if he thinks that is a lot of money.
7) Ask Jesse Watters if he owns a condo in New York City. Then tell him that Andrea Mackris bought a new condo as soon as she settled the case. Ask him if that's cool. Ask him if he's jealous and wishes Bill O'Reilly made sexual advances to him so he could sue and buy himself a condo in NYC. Tell him that you'd like to buy one across from Central Park; you just love the view.
8) If he continues trying to get you to answer his questions, then pivot off Mackris and say, "OK, let me ask you this one:
"Did you feel bad that Bill O'Reilly blamed a 14-year-old boy named Shawn Hornbeck for getting himself kidnapped and held in captivity as a sex slave for four years by the deviate Michael Devlin?"
Use this link for reference.
Ask Jesse if he believes in the Stockholm Syndrome. If he doesn't know what that is---tell him:
The Stockholm incident compelled journalists and social scientists to research whether the emotional bonding between captors and captives was a "freak" incident or a common occurrence in oppressive situations. They discovered that it's such a common phenomenon that it deserves a name. Thus the label, Stockholm Syndrome, was born. It has happened to concentration camp prisoners, cult members, civilians in Chinese Communist prisons, pimp-procured prostitutes, incest victims, physically and/or emotionally abused children, battered women, prisoners of war, victims of hijackings, and of course, hostages. Virtually anyone can get Stockholm Syndrome if the following conditions are met:
Perceived threat to survival and the belief that one's captor is willing to act on that threat; The captive's perception of small kindnesses from the captor within a context of terror; Isolation from perspectives other than those of the captor; Perceived inability to escape.
Tell him that Bill O'Reilly doesn't believe in the Stockholm syndrome. Ask him if he'd like to be kidnapped by a pedophile to test its legitimacy. If he says no, then tell him that you think Shawn Hornbeck probably didn't want to test that theory either, but he had no choice. Doesn't he feel bad that Shawn Hornbeck was kidnapped and molested for four years?
If he says yes, then say, "Will Bill O'Reilly apologize to Shawn on air?" If he says he doesn't know, then ask him if he knew that Bill O'Reilly was cancelled from being the main speaker at the Missing Kids dinner in Florida because of his appalling commentary.
9) You'll see Jesse Watters' face turn red by this time, but he may feel that you're out of ammo and will still try to get you to say something or do something, even if it's out of context, so he can bring it back to his boss. Be strong, you're almost done. If he tries again to ask you about whatever nonsensical Factor outrage of the day, just remember: the camera is your friend.
If you get nervous, just repeat your name and where you work. Then ask him if he was as shocked as O'Reilly was that African Americans didn't say:
"Mother f&^ker, I want more ice tea at Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem?"
He may recoil from this or agree with O'Reilly that he too was surprised nobody got shot while they ate the dinner in Harlem.
10) Ask Jesse how he likes Michelle Obama. If he balks and tries to ask you HIS question, just smile and ask if he will join Bill O'Reilly in the lynching party of Michelle Obama?
In a discussion of recent comments made by Michelle Obama, Bill O'Reilly took a call from a listener who stated that, according to "a friend who had knowledge of her," Obama " 'is a very angry,' her word was 'militant woman.' " O'Reilly later stated: "I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels -- that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit. We'll track it down."
Ask Jesse if he prefers to wear white hoods at his lynching parties. He may have several colors to choose from.
11) Jesse probably will either give up or try valiantly one last time. There's a wealth of subjects to pull from at a moment's notice for any sandbagging producer. Here's a few:
a) How do you feel about Dick Morris being a lead political analyst after he was exposed paying for hookers that sucked his toes? Do you like your toes sucked, too?
b) How does it feel to know that FOX News analyst, Oliver North sold weapons to Iran to fund another war? Even though he was acquitted on a technicality, the fact that he sold weapons to Iran cannot be disputed. Isn't he a traitor to America?
c) Isn't it creepy to know that Newt Gingrich divorced his very sick wife while she was dying in the hospital? What kind of character does that show? Can FOX News really trust his opinions on such important matters as the Iraq war and health care?
d) Do you think OJ was guilty? Didn't Mark Fuhrman blow the OJ Simpson case? Isn't it weird that he's now an expert analyst for FOX News?
That should do it. He'll be long gone before you can ask him about Rick Santorum's "man-on-dog" deal...So, there you go. A handy step-by-step guide to ward off the mosquito-like Bill O'Reilly camera crews and producers. After a few minutes of study, you'll be able to deal with anything that comes your way. And always remember, the camera is your friend!
Gawker picks it up and has a little fun with it.
Cross posted on the Huffington Post on 3/24/09. Gawker picks it up and has a little fun with it.