Shep Smith Lets Loose A Little Honesty While Billo Fights A War In His Mind

(h/t Heather)

Heather sent this clip from Thursday's O'Reilly Factor for the uncharacteristically honest aside Shepard Smith makes about Sean Hannity being in the business of electing Republicans. Frankly, anyone who has spent any time watching Fox News and listening to Fox Radio can glean that in about 1.35 seconds. Hannity makes no bones about his bias, although he will occasionally weasel out of his crossing journalistic ethical lines (like he even knows what journalistic ethics are) by alternately claiming to be a commentator rather than a journalist. Between you and me, let's just call him a propagandist and be done with it.

But what struck me as I was writing up the transcripts is Bill O'Reilly's state of mind. More specifically, Bill is apparently in a war within his own mind that bears little to do with the actual conversation he was having with Shep. He evokes this bravado of wanting to physically harm Barney Frank as a way to show empathy for Shepard Smith's recent calling out of Joe the Plumber and Ralph Nader, which is more than a little disturbing. He then launches into a strangely dissonant and (I guess in his mind) facetious slam that "the media" launches against Fox News after Smith says he was trying to champion the truth. I'm not sure who this "media" is for Billo, unless suddenly the liberal blogosphere has been elevated in his mind from guttersnipes to the mainstream media. But watch Billo in this clip...he never lets Smith finish a sentence and it's all about a conflict that exists nowhere but in his mind.

O’REILLY: Okay, but you work for the Fox News Channel, which is the most unfair channel, always trying to get the Republicans elected. So you can’t be doing this stuff, you can’t be challenging Joe the Plumber and Ralph Nader…

SMITH: Well, as you know, and thank you for the softball, that’s silly. That’s Sean …

O’REILLY: [laughs] It was a little facetious here…

SMITH: That’s Sean Hannity’s job. Sean Hannity…

O’REILLY: Well, Sean Hannity is a Republican…

SMITH: That’s what I said and the bottom…

O’REILLY: So what’s the beef?

SMITH: The beef…I have absolutely no beef …

O’REILLY: I have no beef with him. Calls him a Communist…

SMITH: Absolutely. But the bottom…But that’s labeled like an op-ed page opinion. Mine is labled news.

O’REILLY: But the media attacks on Fox News just fall apart when you watch Hume’s broadcast, you watch The Factor, we have just as many liberals as conservatives on here, but the media doesn’t really care, do they?

Maybe it's me, but I think Billo is right there on the abyss of a breakdown.

Transcripts below the fold:

O’REILLY: Okay, when you see something like that that personally annoys you, you can’t be like me, because I can show my annoyance. I can,you know, yell at Barney Frank, you know slap—if he was here I’d probably slap him. I wouldn’t really, but I wanted it to, because he hurt so many people. And I think that “Uncle Tom” comment hurt people too. I agree with you, I think it was totally inappropriate. But you can’t go to that line. Where’s the line in your mind that you can go up to?

SMITH: I feel like what I can do is ask him if he’d like to phrase it in another way. And I think that’s what you do when you’re trying to be fair.

O’REILLY: But he called you a bully though.

SMITH: That was an attempt to get me riled up and make me look like the bad guy…

O’REILLY: No, no, no…you said he was irrelevant, he didn’t like that.

SMITH: He was irrelevant in this contest. In the past, he has played spoiler and in some ways affected the outcome of elections, and in this case, he wasn’t able to do that.

O’REILLY: Now you grilled “Joe the Plumber” a couple of weeks ago over his Israel comments. You know, when you said what do you know about Israel? And why would Israel be punished if Barack Obama…

SMITH: Actually, what he said was a vote for Barack Obama is a vote for the death of Israel. Actually, someone in the crowd said it, he said I agree with you not once but twice. I didn’t think it was important, so much, what Joe the Plumber said, about the death to Israel or Barack Obama’s connection thereto, I thought what was important was that he was on a GOP bus, on a GOP-funded tour, called the “Joe the Plumber Tour” and when he said something like that, as a apparently spokesperson of the GOP at the time--John McCain said he was going to take him to Washington—I felt that it was important for our audience to know from where that information comes. Why he came to that decision, and his answer was, “Well, your listeners, as he put it, go out and figure out why it was…

O’REILLY: He didn’t know; he couldn’t articulate it…

SMITH: He didn’t know why he did, and the truth is Barack Obama had made the statement repeatedly and demonstrated repeatedly that Israel would always be a friend to America. And I think some of this disinformation, some of the lies that show up on the internet are dangerous and those of us who hold truth dear , it’s our job to set the record straight and that’s what I wanted to do…

O’REILLY: Okay, but you work for the Fox News Channel, which is the most unfair channel, always trying to get the Republicans elected. So you can’t be doing this stuff, you can’t be challenging Joe the Plumber and Ralph Nader…

SMITH: Well, as you know, and thank you for the softball, that’s silly. That’s Sean …

O’REILLY: [laughs] It was a little facetious here…

SMITH: That’s Sean Hannity’s job. Sean Hannity…

O’REILLY: Well, Sean Hannity is a Republican…

SMITH: That’s what I said and the bottom…

O’REILLY: So what’s the beef?

SMITH: The beef…I have absolutely no beef …

O’REILLY: I have no beef with him. Calls him a Communist…

SMITH: Absolutely. But the bottom…But that’s labeled like an op-ed page opinion. Mine is labled news.

O’REILLY: But the media attacks on Fox News just fall apart when you watch Hume’s broadcast, you watch The Factor, we have just as many liberals as conservatives on here, but the media doesn’t really care, do they?

SMITH: Well, there’s a game going on that’s not about me. And I know what I do, I do the news. I’ve done it for a long time. And I feel like when people say things that are patently false…

O’REILLY: But you get that all the time, don’t you?

SMITH: Of course…

O’REILLY: Fox News is this or that or the other thing…

SMITH: Of course, I do. I’m like, ‘are you only watching that O’Reilly cat?’

O’REILLY: From now, I want you to carry pictures of a bloodied Joe the Plumber, right…

SMITH: He wasn’t bloodied…I feel like….

O’REILLY: And Ralph Nader calling you a bully.

SMITH: He was used. Joe the Plumber was used by the campaign and it didn’t work out for him.

O’REILLY: No, but he wasn’t used in a way that was negative…

SMITH: I didn’t mean that.

O’REILLY: Joe the Plumber wanted to be…

SMITH: There’s no doubt…

O’REILLY: …right on that bus, doing right what he did…

SMITH: Yes, he did.

O’REILLY: He’s an American, he has a right to do that. And you had the right to ask him the question.

SMITH: And when a campaign puts him in a position to answer questions like that, on behalf of the GOP…

O’REILLY: He’s got to be held accountable…

SMITH: Then they get what they get.

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