In a segment of last night’s The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly interviewed Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron who reported criticisms by anonymous McCain staffers of Gov. Sarah Palin.
In response, Natinal Review’s White House correspondent Byron York wrote:
There are a lot of things you can do when you finish a losing campaign.York ended by calling those McCain staffers “a bunch of losers.”
You can sleep for 30 hours straight. You can get drunk. You can reflect on what went wrong and why your side lost. Or you can immediately dump every unflattering tidbit you know — or think you know — about your colleagues to the press.
That is the route some McCain campaign staffers have decided to pursue with regard to Sarah Palin. Within hours of McCain's loss, they were dishing on everything Palin did or didn't do, everything she did or didn't know, and why they, the staffers, bore no responsibility for anything that went wrong. …
But this post isn’t about them. It’s about O’Reilly and Cameron who teamed to produce one of the silliest, dumbest and most tawdry TV news interviews I’ve ever witnessed.
Cameron, using only anonymous sources, reported in a credulous “and you know what else” manner that McCain “insiders” told him Palin didn’t know “basic civics.”
And allegedly her geography was pretty bad,too.
Cameron told viewers he’d learned Palin thought Africa was a “country, not a continent,” and that South Africa was really the southern part of the country.
Cameron had plenty more “insider news” like that to dump.
But if he bothered to check any of it with Gov. Palin, Cameron never told us what she said. He didn't even say he'd tried to reach her.
For his part, O’Reilly didn’t ask Cameron if he’d done any fact checking.
Instead, the “no spin” man opined he thought the McCain team could have “taught her” the things Cameron was reporting.
There wasn’t a note of skepticism from O’Reilly.
O’Reilly looked most foolish when he failed to raise the important and obvious question Michelle Malkin asked in her post:
Let’s assume the rumor-mongers are telling the truth for a moment. Who does it damn more: Sarah Palin or McCain and his vetters who green-lighted her for the vice presidential nomination? Don’t need an Ivy League degree to figure that one out.Not bothering with anything as thoughtful as Malkin asked, O’Reilly and Cameron continued in full “then you know what else” mode.
At 3:50 seconds into the news interview, Cameron began referring to “nasty and angry” things his “sources” told him Palin did; things which Cameron says reduced his sources “to tears.”
That teed up the following from Cameron which I took verbatim from the video:
One of the more infamous stories that’s now come out is there was a time when McCain staffers called to collect her at her hotel room and she had just stepped out of the shower and essentially met them wrapped in a bathrobe. They were – ah - taken aback by that. They have suggested she is a bit of a shopaholic and . ..”The interview went on like that until O’Reilly wrapped it with what I’m sure he thought was a pithy remark: “It doesn’t sound like a good situation. I’m sure there’s a book in there for someone.” Cameron nodded and smiled.
Folks, I know we don’t blame the messengers. I can distinguish between the interviewer and reporter on the one hand, and what they're reporting on the other.
That said, O’Rielly and Cameron made fools of themselves last night because with zero skepticism and apparently no fact-checking they joined to report stuff as unbelievable as the tales the Duke hoaxer told.
What Cameron said was “one of the more infamous stories” about Palin, if true, involves her doing no more than what most of us have done many times: opening a door while in our bathrobes.
Only fools prattle about something so common and innocent being “infamous.”
I’ll end with the following story about Winston Churchill from Kay Summersby’s Eisenhower Was My Boss:
The P. M. accompanied us to the door, coming out on the steps dressed in his bathrobe and his initialed slippers; an alert photographer caught him in this bars-down mood, in a photo I still cherish. “See you in London, Kay!” he shouted. (pgs. 115-116)York's entire post's here; Michelle Malkin's is here.