This post, written by Taylor Marsh, originally appeared on Taylor Marsh.com
Remember the 2004 election?
Remember Bill O'Reilly telling Democrats that if they'd come on his show their chances would be better in the election? That any candidate who goes on his show stands a better chance with "the folks"?
Remember the fight with Fox "News" over the presidential debate in Nevada? Bill-O went ballistic.
Fox and O'Reilly have made it a point to blather on ad nauseam that Democrats are crazy not to come on Fox. That we ignore Fox at our peril. Of course they believe it's the smart thing and actually offers something for Democrats. It's an absurd proposition, especially given the way O'Reilly and hosts like Sean Hannity treat Democrats and progressives who venture in. Even Alan Colmes sometimes gets into the act when a Democrat takes an opposite opinion on an issue. The latest was a segment on "The Factor," where Bill-O went at Peter Beinart and a foreign policy expert from the Clinton administration on how to deal with Pakistan. Bill-O was insulting from the start, followed by his usual dripping condescension at all things Democratic.
But last night Howard Wolfson laid Bill-O out.
"I think it's unfortunate that in the last week or so you have cherry picked some comments on the Daily Kos site that you or I or others might find objectionable and decided to smear an entire community - hundreds of thousands of people who go to the site every day, who talk to one another, who participate vigorously in our democracy; and you are urging Democratic presidential candidates to stay away from their yearly conference. And unfortunately with all due respect for you, the days where you can dictate where Senator Clinton and other Democrats go, who we talk to, are over." - Howard Wolfson
Going on "The Factor" to talk about Clinton's appearance at YearlyKos afer his comment about O'Reilly's attacks on the convention, as well as Daily Kos, was a brilliant move. That Wolfson left Bill O'Reilly slack jawed was a bonus. Wolfson didn't get combative or argumentative. He didn't offer a laundry list of insults that O'Reilly himself has hurled. Wolfson didn't name all the guests and the outrageous things that get said on "The Factor" either, but only mentioned that reality almost in passing, as an assumption. He didn't have to. Instead, Wolfson stated very matter-of-factly that O'Reilly was wrong to say the things he did and "cherry pick" comments from a blog that has millions of commenters over the last years. He also talked about the thousands of dedicated progressives out here in the blogosphere, as well as stating that he didn't agree with every single comment, but policy disagreements are welcome. Wolfson acknowledged the criticism Clinton takes in the blogosphere, which is an understatement. You've seen the video, so you know how this turned out.
O'Reilly, throughout it all, kept coming at Wolfson, intent on making him blink, back down, come over to Bill-O's side. When O'Reilly read some of the comments placed on Daily Kos, he made sure to read one about "the blue dress," which had a twisted smear that was directed at candidate Clinton. You could see Wolfson close his eyes at that point. It was a disgusting display by O'Reilly to try to goad Wolfson down to his level. But he didn't bite, not once, not ever.
Wolfson treated O'Reilly like just another interview with someone who has a beef with the Clinton camp, but he had no intention of giving an inch to the Fox "News" prima donna, something that clearly irked Bill-O. It was priceless and particularly devastating because of Wolfson's calm dismantling of Fox's chief pontificating gas bag.