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“Mutual Back-Scratching Session With Donald Trump”: Where’s Bill O’Reilly’s Full-Throated Defense Of Megyn Kelly?

Fox News is an organization famous for loyalty. The culture starts from the top, where boss Roger Ailes sits. When anchors come under fire for some reason or other, Ailes is there to back them up. A year ago, for instance, ratings king Bill O’Reilly struggled to respond to a plume of reports documenting how he’d misled people about past reportorial exploits. Whereas other news organizations would audit such a situation, Ailes supported O’Reilly and waited out the storm.

On his program last night, O’Reilly demonstrated how not to return the favor. In a highly anticipated quasi-interview/mutual back-scratching session with Donald Trump, O’Reilly carefully avoided a full-throated endorsement of his colleague Megyn Kelly. Trump has been hammering Kelly ever since the Aug. 6 GOP debate in Cleveland, when she sought an explanation from Trump about how he’d mistreated women over the years. In tweets and interviews, Trump has called Kelly a “lightweight” and cheekily used the term “bimbo” in criticizing her, among other insults — conduct that speaks to the righteousness of Kelly’s Cleveland question.

In recent days, Trump renewed his rips against Kelly and on Tuesday his campaign announced he wouldn’t be showing up for tonight’s Fox News debate, at which Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace will serve as moderators. Trump will hold his own event in Iowa at the same time as the Fox News debate.

A way-too-long conversation on “The O’Reilly Factor” accorded the host a great number of opportunities to rebuff Trump for invoking the term “bimbo” in a tweet about Kelly; to stand foursquare behind Kelly’s Aug. 6 question; and to otherwise stand up for journalism. He turned them down, perhaps preferring not to rupture his decades-long friendship with the real-estate mogul.

Sure, O’Reilly gave the three moderators a vote of confidence, telling Trump that they’d treat him fairly if he decided to show up for the contest. And he did say that Kelly’s question was “within journalistic bounds.”

That said, O’Reilly did some retroactive editing of his prime-time Fox News colleague: “If I had been debate moderator last August, I would have asked you about that comment. I wouldn’t ask it the same way. But once you said something about Carly Fiorina, you open the door for it,” said O’Reilly to Trump. There’s a mistake in there: Kelly didn’t ask about Fiorina at the Aug. 6 Cleveland debate. The controversial and very sexist comments from Trump about Fiorina — “Look at that face!” he said in mocking his fellow candidate’s appearance — surfaced in a September Rolling Stone interview. With her famous question one month earlier in Cleveland, Kelly was focusing on other sexist comments by Trump. Here’s the transcript:

Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women.
You’ve called women you don’t like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.” Your Twitter account … has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who was likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?

When O’Reilly says he wouldn’t have asked that question the “same way,” what he means is that he would have said, “Mr. Trump, my friend of many decades, with whom I’ve gone to many sporting events and bought a great number of milkshakes, would your presidency help women?”

 

By: Eric Wemple, The Erik Wemple Blog, Opinion Page, The Washington Post, January 28, 2016

January 29, 2016 Posted by | Bill O'Reilly, Fox News, Megyn Kelly, Roger Ailes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Trouble In The Ranks”: GOP Debate Revolt Falls Apart

John Kasich, Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie have all refused to sign the GOP letter proposing debate changes, their campaigns said Monday night.

“We are declining to sign the letter,” Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf told The Daily Beast. “We’re happy the group decided to agree with us to not alter the Fox debate. As the governor of Ohio he is used to answering tough questions all the time.”

Schrimpf clarified that by “group,” he meant all the representatives for the campaigns in attendance at the meeting. He did not respond when asked who all was in attendance.

When reached for comment, Christie’s communications director Samantha Smith pointed The Daily Beast to comments Christie made on Fox & Friends this morning. “Stop complaining,” Christie said. “Do me a favor, set up a stage, put podiums up there, and let’s just go. Okay?”

Carly Fiorina didn’t even attend the meeting on Sunday night. Deputy Communications Director Sarah Isgur Flores shared an email with the Daily Beast that she sent to Ben Ginsberg, the lawyer running the closed door session. Flores claims that they skipped the meeting and opted for dinner at Applebee’s instead.

“Our campaign choose not to attend your closed door meeting last night,” Flores wrote. “We had dinner at the Applebee’s in Pella, Iowa instead.

“These debates are an important chance for voters to see conservative candidates under pressure and over time. We have consistently and successfully discussed our concerns with the networks and the voters–and not behind closed doors like the political class seems to like to do. We encourage each of the campaigns addressed here to do the same.

“As we have expressed publicly, we encourage the RNC to sanction conservative networks such as the Blaze and One America News to host and moderate a debate. We do not care whether it’s 67 degrees or our green room isn’t as plush as another candidate.

“Team Carly will not be signing this letter.”

The letter features stipulations for future debates, including guaranteed opening and closing statements of at least 30 seconds for each candidate. It threatens that candidates will back out of debates if the demands are not met. Donald Trump similarly rejected the letter earlier today, reportedly opting to negotiate directly with the television networks in question.

Ben Carson’s campaign, which was the principal architect of the meeting, has not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Beast, November 2, 2015

 

 

November 3, 2015 Posted by | GOP Primary Debates, Republican National Committee, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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