Friday night on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program “The No Spin Zone,” O’Reilly squared off with retired U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) on the question of Frank’s remarks in the wake of the bombing of the Boston Marathon.
After the bombing, Frank said on CNN, “In this terrible situation, let’s be very grateful that we had a well-funded, functioning government. It is very fashionable in America … to criticize government, to belittle public employees, talk about their pensions, talk about what people think is their excessive health care, here we saw government in two ways perform very well.”
He went on to say, “No tax cut would have helped us deal with this or will help us recover. This is very expensive.”
O’Reilly accused Frank of unnecessarily politicizing a national tragedy, a charge that Frank found risible, considering its source. On Friday’s show, he reminded O’Reilly of the various conservative pundits who seized the occasion to criticize President Barack Obama’s characterization of the bombing as well as current U.S. immigration policy, including O’Reilly, commentator Kirsten Powers and former comedian Dennis Miller.
“The notion that you suspend discussion of important issues when faced with tragedy,” said Frank to O’Reilly, “I don’t accept.”
O’Reilly countered that to make reference to tax cuts was a move by Frank to “polarize” people in the aftermath of a tragedy.
“As far as dividing the country,” Frank replied, “the country is divided, as it should be in a democracy. Referring to existing divisions is not polarizing.”
“I didn’t know you were opposed to polarizing,” he continued, in a jab at O’Reilly’s own tendency to demonize his political opponents. “I couldn’t tell that from watching your show much of the time.”
Frank went on to ask O’Reilly when, exactly, it became appropriate to discuss the tragedy in terms of politics, “because I heard many people from all parts of the spectrum” framing the bombing in terms of current politics and “saying what they thought public policy ought to be.”
Watch the video, embedded via Mediaite, below: