O’Reilly’s Hypocrisy on Sarah Palin & Joe McGinniss

Witless commentary and breathtaking hypocrisy are no strangers to Fox News, but Bill O’Reilly was in rare form on June 1. Discussing Joe McGinniss, the journalist who moved next door to Sarah Palin’s family home in Alaska in order to write about her, O’Reilly declared the move “immoral” and maybe even unconstitutional: “He’s intruding upon them, all right? Their pursuit of happiness, which is guaranteed by the Constitution, basically has dropped 100 percent because he’s there.” (The “pursuit of happiness” phrase actually appears in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.)

About now, listeners who have followed O’Reilly’s sordid career are probably recalling the Fox host’s practice of having his camera crews ambush news subjects at their homes, on vacation, even when they are with their children–in other words, “intruding on them, all right?” Of course, by O’Reilly’s lights, only intrusions targeting those he cares about raise moral or “constitutional” questions. That is the beauty of an utter lack of self-awareness.

O’Reilly’s guest, dyspeptic former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg, who often engages O’Reilly in a sort of stupid competition, was a voice of reason on this segment. On the Constitution, Goldberg said McGinniss had the right to live anywhere he wanted. But Goldberg didn’t totally disappoint. While disagreeing that they were “immoral,” Goldberg did say these sorts of intrusions were “wrong” and “creepy”–referring, of course, to McGinniss’ intrusions, not O’Reilly’s.

About Steve Rendall

Senior Media Analyst and Co-producer of CounterSpin Steve Rendall is FAIR's senior analyst. He is co-host of CounterSpin, FAIR's national radio show. His work has received awards from Project Censored, and has won the praise of noted journalists such as Les Payne, Molly Ivins and Garry Wills. He is co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error (The New Press, 1995, New York City). Rendall has appeared on dozens of national television and radio shows, including appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, CNBC, MTV and Fox Morning News. He was the subject of a profile in the New York Times (5/19/96), and has been quoted on issues of media and politics in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times. Rendall contributed stories to the International Herald Tribune from France, Spain and North Africa; worked as a freelance writer in San Francisco; and worked as an archivist collecting historical material on the Spanish Civil War and the volunteers who fought in it. Rendall studied philosophy and chemistry at San Francisco State University, the College of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley.