FNC’s Megyn Kelly Loves Arguing With Bill O’Reilly, Watches Morning Joe

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly is the newest FNC personality to land her own show, America Live , which debuted on February 1. The program is up 10% in total viewers and 7% in the A25-54 demo in the first quarter of 2010, while the rest of the cable news competition declined.

Mediaite talked to Kelly yesterday afternoon about Jon Stewart, Bill O’Reilly and more.

Mediaite: Let’s talk about the new show, America Live which started February 1. Two months in now, how do you think it’s going?

Kelly: So far so good. I feel energized by how the show’s going. It’s fun, it’s dynamic. The viewer feedback has been great. I feel very well supported by Fox, so knock on wood, so far so good.

Mediaite: In the New York Times story in February you talked about what Roger Ailes told you about not trying to hit home runs, and going for singles. So how do you think that’s been going – generating the runs, not swinging for the fences?

Kelly: I think I’ve hit the singles, some doubles, occasionally some triples. I’ll let the viewers decide if I’ve hit any home runs. But I haven’t gotten any negative feedback from the boss and that’s always a good thing.

“I don’t like when a guest comes on from either side of the aisle and tries to regale me with four paragraphs that somebody working for his party came up with that morning.”

Mediaite: Have you seen any changes to the show from when it started until now? Any evolution of the show, things you thought worked particularly well or things you didn’t think worked so well?

Kelly: Not really. What we’ve noticed is the viewers in the afternoon really want us to be on the news. If things feel too featurey they don’t seem to be as interested. So we try to stay on the news. Whatever is breaking, we bring to them instantaneously. That’s not to say we can’t have any fun. We do a fun segment, Kelly’s Court, and that looks at the lighter side of the law and we always get great viewer feedback on that, the viewers seem to like that. If we get too featurey it doesn’t work as well for us.

Mediaite: Let’s talk about the O’Reilly exchange that happened last week over the Westboro Baptist Church and your defense of free speech. You appear a lot on The O’Reilly Factor, how is he as a sparring partner?

Kelly: He is really fun to argue with. I’ll tell you what, I’ve never known anybody who doesn’t have a law degree who thinks he’s as right on the law as Bill is. But I admire his confidence, however misplaced it may often be.

Mediaite: You’ve had a lot of memorable interviews with both sides of the aisle. Tucker Bounds during the campaign, as well as Bill Burton. Would you say the sense of holding public figure’s feet to the fire is part of your style?

Kelly: Yeah I’ll cop to that. What I don’t like is talking points. I don’t like when a guest comes on from either side of the aisle and tries to regale me with four paragraphs that somebody working for his party came up with that morning. If I want to see or hear that I can go online or watch their websites. I don’t need to hear that on my program and I don’t think my viewers want to hear that on our program. Once anybody starts doing that I’m probably going to interrupt and get them off script. And I think that’s better TV and I just think it’s more informative. Some people can do that and go there, some people can’t, usually it becomes readily apparent who is who.

Mediaite: It seemed like that a little last week with the Voyeur club, Doug Heye who did a news-making interview, his first comments about it. It seemed you wanted to throw him off his talking points as well.

Kelly: Yeah you don’t want to give a pass to either side and I try not to do that. He tried to not tell me who it was who submitted this expense for two grand or so at this Voyeur club and I pressed him in a few different ways I know how to get the name out of him. That’s what they all try to do, they come on and they try to say their points and they try to obfuscate the points that aren’t good for them and my job is to just keep pushing, keep pushing.

>>> NEXT PAGE: Kelly’s reaction to Daily Show criticism, what non-FNC cable news show she watches and more.


Bill O’Reilly: “There Is An Invasion From Mexico Into The United States”

Bill O’Reilly has never exactly been the #1 cheerleader of undocumented workers, but tonight, he declared war. Talking to guest Charles Krauthammer about their differing views on using the military to prevent illegal immigration, he suggested that discussing the matter as a social problem is futile when “there is an invasion from a foreign country, Mexico, into the United States.” And just in case you didn’t hear him, he repeated himself. Twice.

Krauthammer argues that the military cannot be used for “internal policing.” His solution is simple: build a formidable fence to keep them out. If they can’t physically enter the country, there is no need to discuss or negotiate the problem with anyone. But Krauthammer’s point of view is missing something O’Reilly claims is abundantly clear: Mexico is “invading” the United States. His evidence? “We wouldn’t have 12 million illegal aliens if there weren’t an invasion.” And even if they weren’t invading– which they obviously are– there is precedent for using the military to secure the border: in South Korea. And if it’s good enough for the Koreas given their history, why wouldn’t it be good enough for America and Mexico?

Video below:


Bill O’Reilly And Bernie Goldberg Decry Corrupt Tea Party Media Coverage

Have we seen this clip before? In the context of alleging that the media coverage has marginalized the Tea Party movement, the topic turned to coverage of the Obama Administration. Bill O’Reilly surmised that the media has begun to see their role “..not to inform anymore but to defend a sitting administration. That’s corruption.” Guest Bernie Goldberg couldn’t agree more. Talk about a Slobbering Love Afair.

Goldberg brought the topic back to the Tea Party protesters during the passing of health care bill, specifically, the allegations of racial epithets hurled at African-American members of congress.

In the case we are talking about Tea Partyers racism and all of that and absolutely disgraceful comment by congressman Cohen, he based that comment on news reports of racial slurs and spitting. The more i look into this, Bill, the more I’m convinced that it never happened. Now, if it did, it is shameful, period. But one congressman, a black congressman said that he heard the “”n”" word shouted 15 times. Shouted. Not whispered. Not once but 15 times. you think somebody else might have heard that John Lewis, I don’t buy into his politics but is he a civil rights hero. He hasn’t come on this show or any other show to say they called me the “”n”" word. The third ranking democrat in the house, another member of the black caucus James Clyburn says “I heard terrible things out there”. But when he went on television he said I never heard any racial slurs. The spitting incident, when you hear that a white demonstrator spit at a black congressman a certain image pops into your head but when you look at the videotape, that’s not the image.

The “say it, don’t spray it” Incident may not have been the “spat upon” evidence that was once claimed. But when a protester is so pitched in his or her yelling that saliva is projected onto a congresssman’s face…well, that hardly absolves the situation, does it?

As Alex Pareene asked in his post on Gawker, if “It Isn’t on YouTube, Did It Really Happen?” Apparently not. Somehow, the claims of our own elected officials and civil rights heroes can not be taken at face value, unless footage exists that can corroborate the claim.


Megyn Kelly And Bill O’Reilly Have Heated Exchange Over Westboro Church

Megyn Kelly is a bad ass. There, I said it. While debating with Bill O’Reilly last night on the finer points of Westboro Baptist Church v. Matthew Snyder’s father (where the fallen marine’s funeral was interrupted by members of the church holding “God Hates Fags” posters), Kelly took the unpopular side that legally, Westboro may have not done anything illegal. When O’Reilly disagreed and started pointing to the “pinhead” judges that overturned the initial ruling in favor of Mr. Snyder, Kelly practically spit back, “They don’t do the heart-strings thing at the appeal court level.” Mr. Snyder turned in his objection to pay the Westoboro Baptist Church fees late, so he had to pay them, end of story. But Bill O’Reilly thinks special exceptions get to be made in this one specific incident, which, while terribly ugly, sets a hazy precedent for what can and cannot be done in First Amendment cases.


O’Reilly Proves Tea Party Is Not All White With ‘Paid’ Black Tea Party Activist

On Wednesdayt’s Factor, Bill O’Reilly examined the charges of racism and lack of diversity at Tea Parties by interviewing “The Big Black Lie” author Kevin Jackson, a black conservative who speaks at Tea Party events all around the country. Jackson responds that he hasn’t seen evidence of this at the rallies he has attended.

During the course of the interview, O’Reilly gets Jackson to admit that he is paid to speak at the events. O’Reilly points out that “some” might say that creates a credibility problem for Jackson.

That may be, but that credibility problem is minuscule next to the one presented by what comes out of Jackson’s mouth.

To be fair, Jackson vaguely claims that he wasn’t paid for the majority of his Tea Party appearances. On the other hand, he has had a book to promote during most of the Tea Party’s ascendancy.

Be that as it may, the real problem with Jackson is that, in defending Tea Parties, he invents a new stereotype. O’Reilly asks where all the black Tea Partiers are, and Jackson responds with the ridiculous claim that black people are “not really politically charged.”

He drops this whopper just seconds before complaining about the Congressional Black Caucus. He finishes with a flourish, positing black congressmen as slaves to Nancy Pelosi’s Massuh. I’m not sure where Barack Obama fits in Jackson’s calculus.

Whatever it is that Kevin Jackson is getting out of Tea Parties, he’s in the extreme minority. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, only 4% of black voters had a favorable view of the Tea Party movement. The poll didn’t say how many of them had Tea Party books to promote.

If the Tea Party movement wants to fight charges of racism, they could do worse than Kevin Jackson, but they could also do better.



Ambush Journo Jason Mattera Named Human Events Chief

Conservative activist Jason Mattera has been making a lot of noise lately, and it looks like it’s paying off. Hot on the heels of his ambush interview of Senator Al Franken (D-MN), conservative mainstay Human Events announced that it has named Mattera its Editor in Chief. He will also have “significant involvement” with Human Events’ sister site, Redstate.

The brash, young (26 years old) Mattera certainly knows how to get attention, but is he a good fit for the 66 year-old “Conservative Bible,” favorite newspaper of Ronald Reagan? Is Redstate, hub of serious conservative activism, ready to be helmed in Mattera’s direction?

Aside from a nasty anti-gay streak and a penchant for casual misogyny, Mattera is an entertaining presence for the right crowd. As Bill O’Reilly and I (disturbingly) agree, he’s also got a thing or two to learn about how to conduct an interview. However, he does have a knack for extracting large doses of read meat, and for being in the right place at the right time. There certainly is an audience for Mattera’s brand of cutting humor, and he would fit in with some of Human Events’ current contributors, but Editor in Chief, in charge of serious journalists like my colleague John Gizzi? I just don’t see it.

Similarly, whatever you think of Redstate.com, they are not clowns, at least not intentionally. Redstate chief Erick Erickson recently joined CNN in a bid for mainstream credibility. Is he really ready to take input from a conservative cross between Borat and Stuttering John?

Mattera actually seems much better suited to the Andrew Breitbart family of websites, where his raw energy, ability to put on a show, and contempt for traditional journalism would far outweigh his weaknesses. In Human Events’ press release, Breitbart offered effusive Mattera love:

“It is utterly refreshing to see a young journalist with Jason’s intellect and feel for the zeitgeist have an opportunity to inject new energy into one of the old stalwart publications of the conservative movement. Anything Jason does is done well. I can’t wait to read the new HUMAN EVENTS.”

While Andrew might want to read a Mattera-helmed Human Events, who else will when Breitbart already does the same thing so well? The best case scenario is that Human Events winds up looking like the old guy at the nightclub with the combover and the Members Only jacket. Worst case? Human Events and Redstate alienate large portions of their audience.


Bill O’Reilly Agrees With Al Franken: Jason Mattera Should Just Shut Up

Earlier this week, conservative activist Jason Mattera released a video of him ambushing Senator Al Franken, ostensibly to ask him about problems he had with the health care bill. But Mattera revealed that he was more interested in creating a cheap and sophomoric stunt than conducting a serious interview, as he never really gave Franken the courtesy to respond (and at one point called him “Senator Smalley”.) Bill O’Reilly invited Mattera on his show last night, and didn’t really hide his contempt for the young video producer. That’s right: Bill O’Reilly was siding with Al Franken. (No, that is NOT an April Fools joke!)

In a rather famous New Yorker profile, writer Nicholas Lemman compared O’Reilly to that classic trope of the Irish beat cop:

He’s the beat cop for the American neighborhood, who may have been a little excessive at times, may occasionally have run afoul of Internal Affairs, but law-abiding folks trust him because they know he’s on their side. His liberal guests are like suspects he’s pulled over: in the end, he’s probably just going to frisk them and let them go with a genial warning, but if they try anything, well, he carries a nightstick for a reason.

Watching the video below, one gets the feeling that O’Reilly really just wants to slap the self-satisfied smirk of the this young punks mug (and he’s most likely not alone.)

When this video was released earlier this week, Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher fairly criticized Mattera thusly:

Now, I only use the term “ambush interview” because that’s what people call an unplanned, impromptu on-camera exchange. I have absolutely no problem with the so-called “ambush interview,” as I’ve said before. For a journalist with a smaller outlet, or no outlet, it can be the only way to get any interviews at all.

I also have no problem with interrupting a subject who is evading or deflecting my questions.

Mattera wastes a golden opportunity here, as Franken actually sticks around and tries to answer Mattera. The problem is that Mattera’s not at all interested in getting answers to his questions, because his questions are complete crap. He’s done this before. He will take a doltish misreading of some sliver of legislation, hassle some legislator on camera about it, then enjoy the high-fives and dull exclamations of “Heh-heh. You said Senator Smalley” from his toadies.

Oddly, that is almost exactly the point that Bill O’Reilly makes to Mattera. He blew a golden opportunity because he was too interested in his own schtick, and revealed that he wasn’t really interested in what the sitting U.S. Senator had to say. Forget the renegade journalism – that’s just downright disrespectful.

In an interview with NewsBusters, Mattera was asked about Christopher’s criticisms and replied “Tommy Christopher’s a joke. Nobody reads him. It’s probably him and his two moms. That’s about it.”

The “two moms” comment appears to be some sort of strange, junior high level and homophobic burn, that truly reveals the sensibility and character of Mattera. For more examples of his unique brand of immaturity check out his Twitter feed.

As for Mattera’s claim that no one reads Tommy Christopher, actually in the last month his posts have been read by nearly half a million readers, and his work has been linked by both Drudge, Hot Air and RawStory. No, he hasn’t made it on national television like Mattera, but he also wasn’t publicly scolded nor made a fool of himself either.