February 25, 2016

There’s been lots of criticism of MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski’s fawning relationship with Donald Trump. But not from Bill O’Reilly!

During his Talking Points commentary last night, O’Reilly announced:

“Some in the media do not quite understand that reporting and analyzing what presidential candidates are doing and saying is not supposed to be a rooting experience. When you root for someone, you cannot possibly cover that person in a fair and balanced way.”

Really? Somebody really needs to tell Sean Hannity, Andrea Tantaros, Lou Dobbs, Uma Pemmaraju, Harris Faulkner, Eric Bolling and Kimberly Guilfoyle, to name a few.

O’Reilly continued:

“This week, some pirated audio featured a conversation, off the air, between Donald Trump and MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Some believe that conversation was inappropriate.

…Talking Points does not see anything wrong with that banter. I want to be quite clear. Donald Trump has said similar things to me off camera that he brings in big ratings and doesn’t get much out of it. But he does it in a joking way and of course he gets a lot out of it."

O’Reilly played a clip of Scarborough and Brzezinski talking about a “wow moment” in Trump's campaign and boasting to him, “We played it several times this morning.”

But it’s really not one particular exchange in the audio that is so problematic. As The Washington Post noted, “Nothing on the tape is face-slappingly damning, but it will only feed the buddy-buddy narrative.” That “buddy-buddy narrative” has already been an “increasing source of discomfort at NBC,” according to CNN.

O’Reilly went on to lecture everybody about impartiality:

"There is something very wrong, very wrong with news agencies providing favorable coverage to any candidate in return for access or because of sympatico ideology.

Running for president is a very serious business and all of us covering the campaign have an obligation to be fair but tough and make no deals."

Fine, but putting aside the blatant pro-Republican bias we’ve been documenting on Fox for years, O’Reilly neatly excused his own jaw-dropping interview in which he all but begged Donald Trump to participate in last month’s Fox News debate. O’Reilly actually advised Trump on the air that it would be good for his career to take part in the debate and, at one point, said, “I bought you so many vanilla milkshakes, you owe me.”

At the same time, O’Reilly showed an almost complete lack of concern for Trump’s attacks on Fox's Megyn Kelly and attempts to bar her from the debate.

In other words, by giving Scarborough and Brzezinski a pass, O'Reilly was also giving one to himself and to many of his Fox News colleagues.

(Crossposted at Newshounds.us)

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