Bill O’Reilly just can’t stand the fact that his ambush go-to guy, Jesse Watters, got a dose of his own medicine over the weekend when a Huffington Post reporter confronted Watters about his ambush of a HuffPo colleague. O'Reilly tried to play the big victim but his bullying brutishness came through.
For some backstory: In 2009 Amanda Terkel, then at Think Progress, noted the hypocrisy of O’Reilly’s appearance at a fundraiser for a foundation supporting rape victims when he had previously implied that a woman who had been raped and murdered had been partially at fault. Terkel’s post, by the way, was based on one by our own Priscilla. A few weeks later, Watters ambushed Terkel while she was on vacation, apparently having followed her for hours after staking out her home.
Terkel described what happened in another Think Progress post. You can watch her discuss it with Keith Olbermann in a subsequent MSNBC appearance, below. But the key takeaways are that Terkel said she was never contacted by O’Reilly or Fox for a comment before she was ambushed. In fact, she reported that Fox refused to respond to Think Progress when that organization asked for a comment about the incident. Also, in the ambush interview, which clearly unnerved Terkel (and who wouldn’t it have?) Watters laughably accused Terkel of causing “pain and suffering” to the foundation.
In fact, the only person Terkel may have caused pain and suffering to was thin-skinned O’Reilly. At an MSNBC afterparty, following the White House Correspondents’ dinner Saturday night, Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief, Ryan Grim, confronted Watters about the ambush and unsuccessfully tried to get him to apologize to Terkel, now Grim's Huffington Post colleague. At one point, Watters told Grim, “I ambushed her because O’Reilly told me to get her.”
Watters told Grim the ambush happened because Terkel "said some really bad shit... She denigrated some rape victims, so we had to call her out. It’s what we do.” He also said condescendingly, “I love Amanda Terkel, she’s a good girl,” and “I’m not gonna apologize, but she’s a good girl.” In reality Terkel said nothing bad about any rape victims.
Later, Grim and Watters scuffled after Watters grabbed Grim’s phone which he had been using to record Watters and tried to delete the video. Unfortunately for him, he was unsuccessful. Grim got his phone back and the video of his encounter with Watters is now published on Huffington Post.
In her commentary that accompanies the video, Terkel wrote:
Watters’ way of confronting his subjects is to thrust cameras in their faces unexpectedly and pepper them with aggressive questions. It’s surprising, then, that he wasn’t more prepared to have the same thing done to him.
Instead, he asked Grim if they could find a better time to talk.
“Not tonight,” he told Grim. “Not tonight.”
Presumably, in the future, he’ll offer his targets the same courtesy — and won’t mind if they grab his camera and keep it.
I doubt she’s holding her breath for that to happen, at least I hope not. Tonight, in his Talking Points commentary, O’Reilly complained:
“This Grim character had no business bothering Jesse Watters about anything. But that is what the far left does. They seek to harm people with whom they disagree. Talking Points has had enough. All far left kooks who cause trouble and break the law will be held to account here.”
Later, in an O'Reilly Factor discussion with Watters about the incident, he was at least gracious enough to downplay the incident rather than try to gin up outrage the way his boss obviously wanted to. “Things happened, and I regret that it happened, and that’s all it is,” Watters said. Maybe he just didn’t want to call attention to his own bad behavior. But he did whitewash it.
O’REILLY: But you didn’t hit him, did you?
WATTERS: Never punched him.
O’REILLY: Alright, see, I would have.
WATTERS: Of course you would have.
O’REILLY: I would have been in jail. That’s why I don’t go to these things.
No wonder O’Reilly is such a pal of Donald Trump.
Watch O’Reilly try to use the incident to smear liberals, above, from the May 2 The O’Reilly Factor.
Crossposted at Newshounds.us